How to Get Your Tweens & Teens Involved With Vacation Planning

One day, your kid is playing with Barbies or mini trucks, making up imaginative stories, and absolutely loving every minute of family vacations. The next minute? They’re a wannabe adult in their tween and teen years. You know the drill: giving you some tude, making you question your sanity, and being 100% reluctant to go on an adventure with anyone but their friends.

Bah humbug. Who do they think they are trying to put a damper on family vacations? Don’t they know they’re going to be adventuring with their parents until they actually fly the coop?

Maybe the problem is, however, they have no say in the plans. And, for good reason because they certainly don’t have plans to fork over money to foot the bill anytime soon. But, has the thought of asking them to help shape your next getaway ever crossed your mind? Maybe not, and that’s okay, which is why you’ve come to the right spot.

how to get tweens and teens involved with vacation planning

Today, we’re dishing out our tips and tricks on how to get tweens and teens involved with vacation planning. And, as a result, you can look forward to more bonding over battling when the time comes to leave home!  

1. Draw a line in the sand to set guidelines & maintain expectations from the start.

how to get tweens and teens involved with vacation planning

Even though you’re opening up the planning doors to your kids, you still want to keep control of the final decisions and ensure everything stays within your budgetary limits. That said, while this step will prevent you from giving in to requests that bite into your vacation goals and/or budget, it’ll still allow your family the chance to advocate for the plans they’d like. And, keep the experience enjoyable!

To help you with that, here are some things to think about taking control of so you can draw a clear line in the sand on getaway guidelines:

  • Budget: what’s the maximum amount of money you can invest in a family vacation? Think about transportation, accommodations, meals, attraction admission, shopping, and any upfront costs (luggage, passport renewals, etc.). This will prevent you and your family from jumping into vacation planning headfirst, only to be disappointed when you figure out you can’t quite afford to accommodate everyone’s wishes.
  • Length of stay: how long do you want to stay? Or, how long will your work allow? A few days? A week? Remember, most places also have a minimum night stay.  
  • Fly or drive: would you rather fly with your kids or focus on a driveable destination?
  • Time of year (spring, summer, fall, winter): This can make all the difference if you’re hoping to save the most money and/or avoid massive crowds. For example, hitting up the ski slopes during a popular holiday might not be the best idea if you want to save some cash and steer clear of long lift lines.

Again, as a parent, you still have veto power. And, ultimately, you are the one who makes the final decision.

2. Hold a family “team meeting” to brainstorm a preferred getaway spot.

how to get tweens and teens involved with vacation planning

Remember, the whole point of getting your tweens and teens involved in vacation planning is so they can be heard. So, after setting and sharing specific and clear guidelines, open up the brainstorming process to them via a family “team meeting.”

This’ll get their creative juices flowing and help choose a spot everyone can enjoy. After all, the more involved they are early on in the process, the more likely they are to enjoy the getaway and complain less than usual.

In order to ensure this meeting is successful, however, below are some questions for you and your family. Have each member individually answer on a sheet of paper beforehand and run through, one at a time, when the time comes.

  • What’s my vacation style? Am I rugged and love to be outdoorsy? A thrill-seeker and love to hit up amusement parks? A beachgoer and love to soak up some rays and swim? Or, a history buff and love to check out the local museums? This can be a fun question for each family member to answer and better understand one another’s preferences.
  • What exactly is it that I want? Think about what exactly you want to do on vacation.
  • Is being right on the beach or close to the mountain/city important to me? This can help narrow down accommodations when the time comes.
  • Is this trip about rest and relaxation, or am I wanting to taking in the area’s culture—from museums to popular sights?

Then, once each member has had a chance to share their answers, use that insight to lead a discussion on the top three getaway spots—landing on one that’s most favored by all before the meeting is over.

Oh, and just be sure you keep an open mind when it comes to listening to your children’s ideas during the process. That’s the real key to success!

3. Put on your planning pants by creating a family Pinterest board.

how to get tweens and teens involved with vacation planning

After pinpointing your next family vacation destination, have you considered looking to Pinterest to create a family board for inspiration? Well, if not, all “a board!” Get it? 😉 *Pinterest boards.

All jokes aside, the platform is a great way to plan an unforgettable escape, while making sure no good idea is left out. Not to mention, it helps everyone visualize the destination and craft an outstanding itinerary.

So, you in? I thought so. Here are our tips to put together a top-notch family board:

  • Once you login, you have the ability to Create a board (clicking the + icon).
  • From there, a popup will appear, allowing you to name the board and make it secret. We recommend keeping it secret because no one needs to see what you’re planning, outside of your family.
    • And, making your board secret will also allow you and other family members to type their opinions into the comments section of each pin.
  • Then, hit Create.
  • Next, click the pencil icon, and you’ll be able to add Collaborators—aka other members of the family who are on the social media platform so they can pin away, too!
  • To keep your pins organized, click the + icon to add individual sections. For example: Places to See, Restaurants to Eat At, Activities to Do.
  • From there, the search for inspiration begins!

Best of all, having a family Pinterest board isn’t just convenient for vacation planning. But, it also keeps things organized upon arriving at your destination—ensuring you don’t leave out any family favorite to-do or must-see attraction.  

4. Delegate research to each child.

how to get tweens and teens involved with vacation planning

Upon creating that family Pinterest board of yours, it’s time to delegate research to each child! For example, if you know one is the adventure-seeker, tap into their interests and choose them to be the ringleader of pinning things to do within the area you’ll be visiting.

Even though you’ll be freeing up your own time as you won’t have to do all the planning, you should make sure the itinerary includes a good mix of adult and kid wishes. That’s because, at the core of this step is compromise. If you plan to spend one day exploring the area’s historical features (per your request), make sure the next day is all about the kids.

Oh, and be sure everyone resists the urge to overschedule your family’s time. After all, the best vacation includes a sprinkle of spontaneity so you can enjoy your getaway together!

5. Then, book a suite stay, and let them know they’ll have their own room!

how to get tweens and teens involved with vacation planning

Combine all the research your family has done to pick the absolute BEST resort suite stay for the entire family. Lucky for you, the decision doesn’t have to involve hours of perusing Google reviews and search pages. In fact, the team at Tripbound has done the hard work for you!

We’ve handpicked the best of the best resorts across the country and the Caribbean to connect you with no-strings-attached access to spacious suites. After all, they’re a much better option for growing kids than tiny, cramped hotel rooms or private houses with “surprises” around every corner.

Why? Because they combine space and convenience for the ultimate home away from home. That means there’s plenty of room for lounging, sleeping, and a fully-equipped kitchen to provide the ability to enjoy home-cooked meals while saving money eating out!

In the end, teamwork makes the dream work when it comes to designing a memorable family vacation even your tweens and teens will enjoy. Plus, using the advice shared here today, you can (fingers crossed!) avoid the pitfalls that might come with bringing your wannabe adults along for the ride.

Once you’ve worked your way through the planning stages as a family and you’re ready to book your next getaway, give us a call at 1.888.816.5214. One of our friendly travel coordinators will be ready and waiting to match you with a stress-free vacation!

Have you included your children in the planning process before? Or, do you have additional tips we missed featuring? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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