To all parents of teenagers, welcome to your essential survival guide to holidaying with your charming teens. Let us introduce you to Polly, mother to four teenage boys and winner of Original Travel's inaugural Parental Bravery Award. If there's something about holidaying with teenagers that Polly doesn't know, it ain't worth knowing...
Adventure, Missions and Surprises
These are always popular, even if the teens pretend otherwise! Try to pre-plan a couple of things during the holiday - a snowmobile ride to a mountain restaurant for supper on a ski holiday, some waterskiing lessons on a beach holiday, an informative but fun guided activity on a city break. All are great for changing the pace, and Original Travel are (of course!) brilliant at coming up with these
While digital downtime is essential, a blanket ban on devices is a fool's errand so sadly you'll have to bow to the inevitable. What doesn't have to be inevitable is a constant cacophony of 'Mum, where's my charger?' Travel with at least a couple of spares, and make sure to mark their individual chargers so they can't just swipe each other's, in the process starting a week long war. Oh, and pack ample adaptors. Crucial.
Make sure there are plenty of activities available, especially on a summer trip. Not all teens will want to partake but better to have the option for them to do stuff and choose not to rather than find they're all climbing the walls with bordedom and there's nothing for them to do in the vicinity. Also, activities shouldn't be based just on age - there is nothing more patronising for teenagers than to be lumped together in a presumptuous bundle.
Lay them down, and even more importantly - stick to them. Before the holiday it's well worth stipulating what you will, and won't, allow regarding alcohol, moped hire, clubbing, sleeping arrangements (if girlfriends/ boyfriends are coming too), getting up times etc. Too many parents can be frightened of teenagers but I think that they actually like to know the boundaries.
Not necessarily just a boy thing, competition (if well managed) can add a fun additional element to any teen holiday. Be it based around sport, music, cooking (on a villa/ chalet holiday particularly) or some family in-joke, having an ongoing theme binds the family together brilliantly.