Teenagers are the hardest part of parenting. That’s a fact. But “the hardest” doesn’t necessarily mean the worst. If you adjust your parenting style the right way, you will prevent conflicts, and your kids will enjoy their teenage years to the fullest.
One of the best things you can do for your teenage son and daughter is to take them on an RV trip. The trip will help your teens gain new experience, master essential skills, and inspire them to expand their horizons.
Are you ready to jump-start planning a family RV trip? Here are key things to consider.
Help teenagers feel like they count
Pretty often, parents treat teenagers like kids but expect them to behave like adults. And that’s a big mistake.
Teenagers should be treated as fairly as adults are treated. You should show teens that their opinion matters, that their contribution has great value, and that you trust them fully. Such attitudes will encourage positive behavior in teenagers – they will act more responsibly and make fewer mistakes.
If you want teenagers to be happy about the upcoming RV trip, you should do the following:
- Ask your teens what places they want to visit and what food they want to eat. Take their preferences into consideration when planning your trip.
- Don’t interrupt teenagers. Let them express their points of view and listen to your teens actively. You don’t have to agree with every statement they make, but you should respect their opinions.
- If you disagree with your teens, don’t criticize them, and most importantly, don’t say something like this “You’ll understand when you grow up.” Imagine that you are talking to an adult and explain your point of view (and why this point of view is right) in simple words.
Give teens the space that they crave
Your teens need some privacy. They want you to respect their personal boundaries. They expect you to knock on the door before coming into their rooms. They want you never to touch their backpacks or personal belongings without their permission.
Obviously, your RV is too small, and you can’t provide your teens with lots of private space. However, you can do a few things to make your teenage son and daughter feel comfortable during the trip:
- Create a little space in your RV for each of your teens. For instance, let your son choose a shelf that only he will be allowed to use.
- Let your teens choose and “reserve” their favorite spots in your RV for sleeping, dining, etc.
- Make sure that you have enough storage for your teen’s personal belongings. If your daughter wants to take her makeup palette and flat iron, allow her to do it. Don’t argue even if you know that she will not use these items during the trip.
Help teenagers stay in touch with their friends
Teenagers can’t live a day without talking to their friends. They do love to socialize, and you can’t ignore that. You should make sure that your teens will be able to stay in touch with their friends while on the trip.
And most importantly, you should ensure that your kids will not miss a big party they have been waiting for for a few months.
Do you naively believe that teenage parties “are not that important”? Remember what it was like when you were a teenager. What did you feel when your parents’ plans ruined your plans? Let me guess. You were angry with your parents and didn’t want to talk to them.
Well, it’s impossible to have a successful RV trip with angry teenagers. So you should better consider your teens’ plans rather than disappoint them, turning the entire trip into a disaster.
Motivate teenagers to keep studying
Education is the most powerful tool one can use to achieve success in life. As a parent, you need to explain that to your teenage kids. You need to motivate them to study with dedication and complete all school assignments on time.
An RV trip is not an excuse for skipping classes and getting low grades. You should plan the trip in advance and ensure that it will not interrupt the studying process.
If your kids have to miss a few days at school because of the planned RV trip, make sure that they will keep up with their classwork. For instance, if you know that your son lacks time to prepare for the test, offer him to visit a website with a flashcard database or find another way to assist him.
Do you consider a long-term RVing? If you can provide your teenagers with a laptop and high-speed internet, you can opt for distance learning. Your kids will keep studying at the same pace as their peers do while traveling from one destination to another.
Teach them how to maintain RV
Your teenage son and daughter are not small kids any longer. It means now they can help you a lot around the house. Yep. That’s great news. Now you have “big helpers” who can assist you in maintaining your RV in perfect conditions.
Well, most teenagers are lazy. And if you ask them to help you with cleaning your RV, they will highly unlikely to do it with dedication. But you need to encourage them to behave like adults: be responsible and complete all the unpleasant tasks that adults have to do.
Here are the top ten things you can do together with your teens before and during your RV trip:
- Inspect the roof seals and seams of your RV.
- Clean and treat your RV’s slide outs and seals.
- Install a new water filter system with a water softener.
- Check your RV’s batteries and wastewater system.
- Check whether the air, fuel, coolant, and hydraulic filters need replacement.
- Change the oil in your RV.
If your kids are not enthusiastic about helping you, try to explain to them what will happen if you skip these tasks. For instance, you can explain what problems your family may face if you don’t install a reliable RV water filtration system. When your teens are aware of the possible consequences of their negligence, they will be more committed to helping you.
Buy lots of snacks
Teenagers – boys in particular – eat a lot. So make sure that you have enough food in stock. And most importantly, make sure that you have enough snacks. Teenagers do love snacks, and if you run out of granola bars and cheese sticks, that might be a problem.
Before you go on an RV trip, take your teens to the store and let them choose the snacks they like. Buy all dry products in bulk; that’s a great way to save money.
Talk about the issues with internet usage
Do you plan to visit beautiful places which are located far from big and small cities? The chances are you will face some problems with an internet connection and mobile phone services.
Well, you are an adult, and it’s not a big deal for you. But it can be a “disaster” for your teens. They are addicted to social media and obsessed with using messengers. And it might be challenging for them to live a few days without scrolling Instagram and watching TikTok videos.
We highly suggest you inform your teens about “possible issues with an internet connection” in advance. It will help you to smooth your trip and build trust with your teens.
As a parent, you believe that the more days your teens will spend without their mobile devices, the better. And you are totally right. Social media detox will benefit your teens and allow them to enjoy RVing to the fullest.
Just keep in mind that if you want your family members to stop using their phones for a few days or a week, you should play the role of “trendsetter.” You should set the example to follow – turn off your phone and don’t touch it if there is no urgency.
Create a perfect music playlist
Let’s face it. You do not always “get” the music your teens are listening to. And it will be difficult for you to focus on driving if “that annoying song” will be on repeat.
However, music is an essential part of an RV trip. And you need to create a playlist that will appeal to all your family members.
Does it sound like “an impossible mission” to you? You can opt for another solution. You can let each of your family members create their own playlists and give them a right to “veto” three songs from each other’s playlist.
Here is how it works. When you listen to your teenage daughter’s playlist, you will have a right to skip three songs that you dislike the most. Such a rule will help you to minimize the irritation levels and let everyone enjoy the trip.
Help your teens to meet new friends
You are not the only one who travels with teens. If you choose a travel destination that is popular among families with teens, your son and daughter will get a chance to meet new friends. That will enrich their RV trip experience and create sweet memories.
Whether your kids have high or low communication skills, it will be useful for them to make new connections. It will force them to go out of their comfort zone and improve their skills.
In everyday life, your teens communicate only with people from their community – teens who attend the same school and live in the same neighborhood. An RV trip will allow them to meet people from different communities, and that will significantly expand their horizons.
Here are the top five travel destinations that are worth your attention:
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
- Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- Saint Petersburg, Florida
- Redwood National and State Parks, California
Discuss safety rules
An RV trip is associated with some risks, including the dangers of a car accident and camper fire. You should discuss possible emergency situations with your teens and set some rules to minimize the risks.
You should also show your teens where you store a fire extinguisher, first aid kit, and other emergency essentials. You should teach them how to use these items and how to provide first aid.
Naturally, when we go on a trip, we expect that everything will go smoothly. But the truth is that, in real life, RV accidents and camper fire happens pretty often. You and your teens should be aware of that. Your family should be able to manage an emergency if it occurs.
Organize your remote work the right way
Are you going to work remotely during the trip? Well, it might be challenging for you to stay productive while living in one small RV with teenagers. You should set the ground rules beforehand to ensure that nothing will spoil your trip.
Firstly, you should think about what your teenagers will do while you will be working. Will they be busy with studying, books reading, or their hobbies? If your teens have lots of free time, the chances are they will demand your attention and distract you from work. Or, even worse, they will be bored in RV and complaining all the time.
In other words, if you want to stay productive, you should schedule not only your own day but also your teens’ day. You should plan some fun activities for your teens so they will not disturb you.
Secondly, you should organize your workspace. We’ve already mentioned that your teens need some privacy so do you. You need to find a spot in your RV where you will be able to focus on the work task. Basically, you don’t need a lot of space. Any small corner of your RV will work for this purpose.
Also, don’t forget to buy high-quality noise-canceling headphones. They will help you to save your nerves and eventually your job.
Take care of sleep quality
Sleep quality greatly influences your teens’ mood and health in general. For this reason, you should ensure that your teenagers will not have problems with getting enough sleep in RV.
What can you do to ensure that your teens will be well-rested after spending a night in RV?
- Consider buying a new orthopedic mattress if your old mattress is not comfy enough.
- Don’t allow teens to use their phones one hour before going to bed.
- If your teens have problems with falling asleep, offer them to drink chamomile tea one or two hours before bedtime. The tea will help them to calm down and relax after a busy day.
- Limit consumption of drinks that contain caffeine and sugar.
Don’t plan too many activities for one day
You want the best for your teens. And you want them to see as many attractions in one day as possible. But do teens really want to visit lots of different places? Do you really believe that teens are able to consume that much information in one day?
Most teenagers don’t like to spend all day on planned activities. They prefer to have some free time to unwind and do the things they like.
So please, don’t overdo your RV trip planning. Ask your teens what places they want to visit and how much free time they want to have. It will help you to create a perfect RV travel itinerary.
Encourage your teens to use their creative skills
Have your teens ever told you that they want to start their own blogs? Or have they ever mentioned they want to build a career in photography? Encourage them to use their RV trip experience to bring their creative ideas to life. Motivate them to take photos, create videos, and write blog posts.
Travelling is one of the best sources for inspiration. So if you see that your kids have the inspiration to create, push them to take the first step. Who knows, maybe one day they will become world-famous artists, writers, or bloggers, and thank you for the RV trip when giving an interview to a reputable magazine.
Don’t sacrifice your happiness
Today we have been talking a lot about making teens happy. Now let’s talk about you.
What do you need to have a successful RV trip? What places do you want to visit the most? How do you want to spend your time with your teenage kids?
Don’t allow your family to ignore your wants and needs. Don’t sacrifice your happiness.
Make your family compromise with you. You deserve it.
Wrapping it up
Teens can be moody sometimes. So if they’ve rejected your offer to go on an RV trip once, don’t take their words seriously. If you use the tips give and plan everything wisely, your RV trip will be a success.
We wish you happy RVing! Let this trip bond your family together and help you make lasting memories.
About the Author
Kristin Savage nourishes, sparks and empowers using the magic of a word. Along with pursuing her degree in Creative Writing, Kristin was gaining experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in marketing strategy for publishers and authors. Now she had found herself as a freelance writer.