As parents, it is our job to keep our teens safe on vacation and at home. As teenagers, it is their job to wander, meet new people, and try to avoid being seen with their parents in public at all costs.
Traveling with a teenager is quite different than traveling with small children or other adults. Teenagers have their own time schedules, own agendas, and an attitude for every occasion. In fact, a teenager can make or break the vacation for the entire family. Some flexibility will be required on your part, but you should never sacrifice the safety of your teen.
These safety tips for keeping your teen safe on vacation will allow them to have their personal space and freedom that they want, with the right amount of adult supervision that they need.
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Let Your Teen be The Travel Planner
Your teenager is more likely to be on board with the vacation if they are involved in the planning. Teens love to be savvy and feel like they know everything, so let them research the destination and available transportation. Allow them to pick a few activities or sightseeing adventures that interest them. They can visit the U.S. State Department website to learn about any travel warnings for the destination.
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Remain in Constant Communication
Most teens have cell phones these days, so staying in communication is easier than it used to be. Your teen needs to know that you don’t have to be with them every moment, but you do need to know where they are at every moment! Set strict and frequent meeting times with your teen, and make sure they have a reliable watch. Choose a spot where you can meet up if you get separated for any reason. Add the hotel phone number and address to your phone contacts.
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Book Hotels or Cruise Ships that Offer Teen Clubs
Teen clubs are becoming very popular among large family resorts, and cruise ships. The Teen Clubs are a great way for your teen to meet new friends and hang out with other teenagers. The Teen Clubs have organized events that are supervised, which means less stress and worry for you! Large family resorts and cruise lines usually offer Teen Clubs for free.
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Save the Driving for Familiar Roads
Teens love to drive and may feel like driving to an unfamiliar location is an exciting adventure. Driving in an unfamiliar place can be stressful and even dangerous. Avoid letting your teen drive in a new city, and especially in a foreign country. You may want to limit their driving for scooters, motorbikes, and other motorized vehicles while on unfamiliar roads. They may argue with you on this, but safety first!
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Polish up on Street Smarts
Teens notoriously think they know everything. You may need to remind them of a few safety tips. Bags and backpacks should be zipped up and secured next to the body. A wallet should never be kept in your back pocket. You should always stay in populated areas, remain aware of your surroundings, and try to venture out with at least two people. If your teen gets lost or turned around, they should go into a store or ask a police officer for help.
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Keep Expensive Electronic Devices Low Key
Your teen will need to use common sense here as they always seem to be taking photos or videos to post to Vine, Vimeo, YouTube or Instagram. Flashing around expensive equipment in public is inviting to thieves and pickpockets. Leave the ipads, smartwatch and fancy headphones at the hotel or in a closed backpack when by the pool or at the beach.
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Prompt Teens to Maintain Healthy Behaviors
Remind your teens to stay hydrated with plenty of water, apply sunscreen, use hand sanitizer, frequently wash hands, and avoid drinking local tap water if you are not sure if it is sanitary. It is still your job to keep them safe and healthy, so nag away!
Keeping Teens Safe on Vacation: Set an Early Curfew
Of course you want to spend time with your teen while on vacation, so plan on spending evenings together. Let your teen hang out with their new friends at the pool or beach. They can have lunch with their friends and dinner with you. Most crime happens between 10 pm and 5 am, so nothing good happens after dark.