I’m sure one of the things you’re not bargaining for is a hormonal teen making your car trip a nightmare hence you’ve decided to look out for things to do on a car trip with a teenager.
You know teenagers do not like to be boxed up and that’s what a long road trip feels like. And they most definitely do not want to be taken unawares by your car trip plan. So you’ve got to prepare their minds by announcing your trip plan early enough to get them ready. This is why planning for things to do on a car trip for a teenager is something you should never take lightly.
With a plan in place and rightly done, a car trip with a teenager can be so much fun and worthwhile and a repeat will not be a question but a longing. So here we go! I’ve got tips for an exciting car trip with a teenager and you should consider trying them out. They work like magic on teenagers!
Access To the Internet
I understand that vacation time and a road trip aren’t the right time to surf the internet but rather it is a time to bond with family and be a part of each other’s lives. Nevertheless, you can’t take access to the internet away from your grown kid/teen unless you want a ruined vacation or trip.
One of the important things to do on a car trip for a teenager is to allow access to WiFi to access the Internet and social media pages. However, this should be limited but not totally cut off the radar.
Yes, finding a common ground and coming to a mutual agreement on the accepted minutes or hours to be spent on the internet and social media, and competing with friends is key. Of course, your teenager will need to keep her besties updated on the latest discovery and how much fun (even boredom) she’s having on the trip and vacation.
Snack On Healthy Foods and Drinks
Having Candies, popcorn, sandwiches, beef jerky, drinks, and water while on the journey is a vital thing to include on the list of things to do on a car trip for a teenager. I’m very sure that you needn’t be told that your teenager needs snacks to munch on, to enjoy the journey.
Unless you want some attitude and a sullen face, rolling the eyes and turning away from every fun suggestion you make or try to introduce on the trip. Erase every thought of snacking on any food from the gas station. If you are wondering what’s healthy, check out these healthy road trips food ideas, or you may like these suggestions for road trip breakfasts as well as road trip lunch ideas for a wholesome meal time on the road.
Do not just take healthy snacks but ones that your teen will like. I mean dutifully include their favorite snacks in the pack. You’d like to feel that their favorite snacks may not be healthy and the idea is to pack healthy snacks, well, it is always advisable to allow them to enjoy themselves for just this period, and you can include your option of a much healthier snack for balance.
Napkins and wipes should be packed as well please; a sticky teen might as well act all uncomfortable, irritated, and pissed at everything. And you wouldn’t want that, right?
Road Trip Games
Teenagers also love games and games are not only for kids. You only have to go for mature games that will pique their interest and engagement. You can go for those irresistible old-school card games such as I Spy and Uno and other games you know will sit well with your teenager. 20 Questions is also another game known to be enjoyed by many teenagers. If the car trip is going to be a long one, the License Plate Game is another game that will get a teenager, and even you, pumped up and screaming in happiness. Be sure not to share the driver when you squeal from the excitement, please!
Let Your Teenager Handle the Steering Too
Risky huh? But hey, if your teenager is old enough to drive, allowing him to share the wheel for a few minutes while you take the passenger’s seat is a great way to make him enjoy himself and look forward to many more road trips with you. What better way to practice and gain mastery of his driving skill, especially away from the comfort of his known location and roads? It will give him a boost of confidence in his driving abilities and condition him for a personal long drive out of town someday.
However, don’t forget to confirm first whether his conditional license is valid in the town he will be driving through. And be sure that your rental car agreement (if you used one), and insurance are valid in the city too.
Let Them Stretch Their Growing Legs
You will not like your teenager exhausted and too tired to even participate in other road trip activities you’ve got piled up for the trip. So yes, taking a break is one of the things to do on a car trip for a teenager.
Stops at Historic points or places of interest as well as bathroom trips are necessary to stay rejuvenated all through the long car trip. Before you get to your final destination, stops at different points are good ways to keep the soul refreshed and those hormonal nerves soothed.
Making stops helps with the issue of crankiness, exhaustion, and bone weariness, therefore it’s a must to do on a car journey. Don’t wait till you get to the final destination to have your teen get out of the car. You should stop to have fun and relax. You can even stop for a shopping spree for some things you’d be needing ahead or some travel gift items and outfits for your teenager.
Step down to pose for some travel selfies and photography sessions at a beautiful landscape. Do a little stretch out and exercises to keep everyone relaxed and revived to continue the journey with renewed energy.
Vibe to Cool Music
You should give your teen the chance to create a playlist for the car trip and have more music of interest on the list than yours. Your tastes in music may not be the same so there goes the need to have your teen have her way here.
I understand you’d love some relatable music and your favorites too, so both a selection of yours and that of your teen should make the list but with hers being most on the list. Shuffle the music to enjoy. This will set a pace and atmosphere for bonding, over teasing each other about tastes in music, learning and enjoying each other’s tastes, or even criticizing them. Who knows? You might even fall in love with the music you’d always thought you didn’t like by listening to it together or simply watching the other scream in ecstasy while singing along with the artists
And oh, if you both have similar tastes, I bet you the energy as you all vibe along to your favorite part of the lyrics would be insurmountable.
Stop For a Meal at Your Teenager’s Favorite Restaurant
If there’s any chef or restaurant your teenager idolizes and looks forward to trying out their meals en route to your destination, this is the perfect time to help your teen’s dream come true. Make a stop at the restaurant or book a table reservation ahead for a dinner or lunch date with your teenager at a restaurant.
You can make it a surprise or tell him ahead to have him look forward to something and by extension, have him giddily stay engaging throughout the trip in anticipation, either way, do what works. Personally, I would go for the surprise because it will keep him happy and excited even after the meal and they will always look forward to more car trips because who knows what’s up my sleeves for next time?
Whatever works, stopping by for a meal is an important thing on the list of things to do on a car trip with a teenager. You may as well opt for any restaurant you can afford, or where your teen’s favorite restaurant isn’t on that route or in the area.
Read also: Best Breakfast Restaurants in Chicago
A Little Light Reading
Travel or vacation time, especially when the journey is done by car, is definitely not the time to nag your teenager about school books and school work or any form of studies, regardless of the long hours. Only a little light reading is advisable on a car trip for your teenager and it could be a storybook or a novel but mostly books that pique his/her interest to keep her occupied and having fun.
When I was a teenager, I always opted for more novels than motivational books or academic books. It was more of the fun and thrill of the stories to survive the long trips for me. No one wants to be bored to death with school books, motivation talks about the future, planning and budgeting, and the like and it definitely can’t be a teenager.
Yes, a fashion or sports magazine also does it for a teen depending on her area of interest.
Allow Your Teenager His/Her Moments
Don’t stuff the entire trip with your mapped-out activities, so allow your teenager her moment!
“Do you have anything you’d rather do? Go right ahead, jump on it, sweetheart.” That is a perfect way to survive a teenager on a car trip, or I would rather say, a perfect way for a teenager to survive being confined to an enclosed space with you for that long.
At this point, your teen can go ahead to chat up her friends, and fill them in on the fun or lack of any so far, doze off, or even go ahead to play some video games or other games on her gadgets put on her headpiece and watch her favorite series on Netflix and catch up with everything she might have missed while on the journey, engrossed in the activities you had picked out for everyone.
See a Movie Together
Not sure all teenagers would love to see a movie with their parents or adults but some actually love it and yours may love it too! Pick out the movies that everyone loves and let everyone enjoy them together. You can also explore a list of new movies together and download the mutually picked ones to see together. If there’s no mutual agreement, just go ahead and enjoy those old movies y’all have already seen and mutually love.
Engage the Teenager In Conversations
Don’t just engage in adult talks with only adults and leave the teenager feeling left out or small. And don’t just go about the journey making polite clipped statements only when necessary. No, you have to talk to your teenager, not just when you are making an announcement or dishing out instructions. Engaging in conversations with him is one of the things to do on a car trip for a teenager.
Try to find out what they love, and what’s been happening in their lives without probing or sounding like you’re policing for answers and condemnation. Flow and chat like you’re talking to a buddy, crack some jokes, make comments on something that happened on the trip and catch up on things in each other’s lives or the past. Tell him about your job, experiences and anything at all like you’d do with a friend.
This is going to keep the energy in the car comfortable and your teenager relaxed and free.
Some Drawing and Coloring
Get coloring books and travel drawing boards for everyone including your teen to color and draw on. I would say this is one of the perfect things to do on a car trip for a teenager if she has a passion for painting and drawing. But hey, painting can be fun and exciting even when you’re not a fan of the artwork. Here’s how it goes, everyone gets to paint a similar thing, like “it’s painting time so everyone should get right on this!”
After the time elapses, everyone gets to turn in their work for rating and laughs. And no, no one has to know a thing about painting a perfect picture. You might even have your painting framed for a travel souvenir and I’m not kidding about this!
Document Memories and Moments
It may not seem like it now but trust me, your kids will need a documentary of the moments to look back on. You’ve probably had it in mind to document your vacation but not the trip but you’d need the beautiful moments from the trip documented for complete memories.
Whatever form of documentary or even all forms ranging from capturing moments with a camera, audio recordings, and journal, website/blogging, or scrapbook on the trip. You can share the tasks where there is more than one teenager on the trip or have them take turns at each form of documentation. Check out these cheap vlogging cameras to document your moments and create memories with.
Let Breeze Into the Car
You can either wind down the windows, open the sunroof or take the sunroof down. Having a teenager stuck or feeling bored and trapped isn’t one of the things to do on a road trip for a teenager, unless you’d like some drama.
Allow the breeze to blow your teen’s hair while he/she flings his arms wide and squeals in ecstasy. This is an exhilarating experience and your teen would love it. Don’t forget some car accessories for road trips to avoid being left stranded with a sullen teen on the trip.
Make Sure Every Necessity is Packed
You don’t want to make extra purchases or unexpected stops or be caught stranded on a lonely path because you didn’t pack all your necessities for emergencies.
Pack gadget chargers, toiletries, water, and fruits amongst other things like snacks and food for the car trip.
Don’t allow your hormonal teen to sulk, whine and cuss over things that were not packed for the car trip, all through the entire journey. Here are some hacks and travel packing tips to give you ease. Wondering what to pack? Check out this comprehensive travel packing list for everyone.
When you’ve got enough things to do on a car trip for a teenager in place ahead of the journey, don’t forget to put other things in place too to keep the trip comfortable.
Consider using a car with a bigger space, if you don’t have one, a rental car would do, remember teens don’t like to feel caged. Ensure that everything is packed ahead of the journey and cool comfy wear is worn. You should have them wear some cool sunglasses and come along with any personal comfort item of their choice. If you are traveling with kids in tow, check out these road trip activities for kids to keep them entertained as well.
You may like to consider doing all the things on a car trip for a teenager listed here or maybe just pick some that will go well with your teen, either way, your journey is sure to be fun and you’ll have a teenager who will ask you every holiday or weekends about when the next car trip will be happening.
If you’ve been having cold feet about embarking on that family journey, vacation, or city tour with a car because you’ve been worried about how your teenager will react to the prospects of a long car trip, you’ve had that problem fixed now and you should go ahead to make your vacation hotel reservations with booking.com for a great time!