Traveling with a teenager comes with its own set of frustrations. They are getting to that age where they want to be more independent. If your teenager is anything like mine, they like to hide away texting their friends all day or talking on the phone. I mean heaven forbid they don’t answer their friends text immediately because then their “friend” with get mad at them.
Get out of the camper
There are many things you can do outside of the camper. Things like playing frisbee, football, swimming, or hiking. Our personal favorite is hiking. There is nothing better than enjoying nature and getting some nice exercise while I’m at it.
Part of this will depend on what your teenager likes to do. Some teenagers may not like hiking and may prefer throwing a ball around. Another idea is bringing a drone along and checking out the cool sites with it.
The possibilities are endless. The main goal is to get them off the couch and into the fresh air.
Let them help pick the activities
The goal here is to make sure everyone has fun on the trip. Try to involve them in the planning process and ask them if there are any places they would like to see. Some of their answers may surprise you.
Our son loves history and tanks. One of the places he really wanted to see was the World War I Museum when we were in Kansas City. It’s great when they really get into the trip and learn things while they are at it.
Involving them in the planning gives them a chance to feel like they are a part of the trip instead of just being drug along.
Surprise your teenagers with a movie night
Most RVs have a tv in them. We took it one step farther and brought a projector with. We used a cheap white shower curtain for the backdrop. Our particular camper had a stereo with speakers throughout the camper. We hooked up the projector to the stereo so we could use the speakers for the sound.
It created a cool theater experience and we got to do it from the comfort of our camper. Pick some movies that everyone will enjoy and then have an epic movie night with your teenagers.
We got so spoiled doing it this way that when we actually went to a theater to see a movie, the screen seemed so small compared to ours.
Don’t make EVERY meal in the trailer
Let’s face it, nobody likes being cooped up in the camper for long periods of time. This includes your teenagers. One way to get everyone out of the camper is to make sure you don’t eat all your meals inside.
I’m not saying that this means that you have to go out to eat. This can be as simple as going to the park and eating a picnic or small barbeque. Whatever you decide to do, make sure you involve them in the planning.
Teenagers like being involved in the decision making and this is another step to help them get more involved. This can be as simple as letting them pick where you go out to eat whether it is a park or a restaurant.
TEACH them to cook the food over the fire
One of the best parts of camping is getting to cook your food over a fire. Get your teenager involved by teaching them how to cook their own food over a fire.
A few ideas of things that you can make are hot dogs, brats, burgers, banana boats, or just easy tin foil dinners (aka hobo meals).
If you are like me, you are probably wondering what a banana boat is because you had never heard of it before. Well, banana boats are a dessert food. They are made by cutting an unpeeled banana vertically (straight down the middle, making two long halves), then filling it with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and anything else to your desire. Then you wrap it up in tinfoil and stick it in the fire for 5-7 minutes. The end result is a delicious dessert.
Compare the number of outlets in the trailer with the number of outlets your teens use
Nowadays, between phones, digital cameras, MP3 Players or laptops teenagers use a lot of outlets. It may be a good idea to invest in some power strips to make sure that your teenager has enough outlets to charge all their things.
Nothing is more frustrating then you need to charge something of your own only to not have any open outlets because your teenager has used them all for their things.
Bring social, fun board games
Board games are a great way to spend time bonding as a family. It’s a great way to put all the electronics away for the evening and focus on spending quality time together as a family.
If you aren’t sure what games to play, Apples to Apples, Snake Oil, Bang!, Sorry, Clue, and Uno are always some classic ones.
Our favorite out of those is Sorry. We tend to get competitive and really have a lot of fun playing it.
Let them start the fire!
Our son tends to by a little pyro. One thing we do is we let him build the campfire. It teaches him lessons on building fires safely (something that can always come in handy).
Decide whether to be pro-technology or technology-free
You will want to decide if you are going to let your teenager have their electronic devices like their phones or game systems.
We chose to allow ours to have theirs because we travel full time. You will want to make sure that you set up boundaries right from the start.
Our son has an older iPhone. One of the things we love about it is we can set time limits on it. We set up how long he is allowed on it per day and then when he uses that time up, it blocks access to it and he needs a passcode to allow more time.
We also have a set time when electronic devices go away for a certain timeframe and we do stuff together as a family. These can include board games or a movie night.
The reason that we went this route is that it is important for teens to be able to see what their friends are up to and to have contact with them. Full-Time RVing wasn’t meant to isolate him from his friends.
For us, it has brought us closer together as a family. We enjoy history discussions and seeing the different sites the world has to offer.
Stop at campgrounds with electricity/invest in a generator
Electricity is important if you are planning on watching movies or charging your electronic devices. We suggest investing in a good solar system and generator.
The reason for this is that there are so many beautiful places to boondock. This can greatly decrease your trip costs because let’s face it, campgrounds can get expensive!
For some teens, having their phone die is the end of the world! For others, they could care less and only check their phones once or twice a day.
How to Find Free Places to Camp
Finally, take the time to talk with your teenager
Talking with your teenager is a great way to continue being close. Although let’s face it, most teenagers don’t want to talk to their parents.
When you are talking to your teenager, make sure that you let them do most of the talking. After all, you don’t want them to feel like you are lecturing them.
Try to get them to open up to you. Ask them specific questions that require more than a yes or no answer. This will require them to actually talk.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the little things in life that we don’t always think about sitting down and talking with our teen. When you start early, they are more likely to come with you when they have a problem because they already feel comfortable talking to you.
Spending quality time with your teen is important, but you also want to make sure that you make it fun for them. Things like quality talks, hiking, playing frisbee, playing board games can go a long way to helping the camping trip be more fun for them.
Hopefully, these 11 tips will help you in making your camping trip be more fun for your teen and help you build a better relationship with them.