You may have finally convinced your parents to spend their next vacation somewhere other than the house they spend every other day of the year in but they’re not quite sure where to take you. That’s why I’ve comprised this list full of excellent, non-threatening (because old people get scared sometimes) destinations which not only keep your family happy but also yourself.
Eight Destinations Perfect For Teenagers
As a 16/17 year old, I would have liked to have traveled more with my family purely for the reason that I was overseas, not particularly that I wanted to spend days on days spending 24/7 with them. Because of this I focus a little in this article on gaining extra alone time as that is what I wanted as a teenager (and what my mum was willing to give me now and then on vacations). I must also note that this is aimed at older teenagers.
These destinations are perfect for teenagers as not only are they either filled with beautiful beaches or the opportunity for soaking up culture/spending too much money on fun tours, they are also considered safer regions. This means you won’t have to be glued to your parents 24/7 (ie: it’s generally safe to go out for ice cream by yourself/ won’t have to be side by side on museum trips or hikes).
Of course, it really is up to your parents to decide how much free time you’ll get (they are paying for the trip after all) and everyone has different ideas of what is safe and what isn’t depending on the country.
Some will strongly advise against even staying in the hotel on your own while others will reason that you can act similarly to what you can at home. I’m not agreeing with either, just stating some simple ways you can break out of family mode if you (and your parents) see fit.
Your parents may be the overcautious type who are still scared of Mexico, but Costa Rica seems to be the perfect place for those looking to dip their toes into Central America after hearing one too many scary stories on the news.
There is so much to do in Costa Rica I don’t know where to start, there’s zip lines, hikes, animals, beaches, turtle nesting, scuba diving, snorkeling – really I could go on for ages. I personally recommend the Sloth Sanctuary near the Panama border and I guess Monteverde, which while being expensive has so many fun things to do while based in the main town of Santa Elena.
Italy has pizza and gelato.
This should be your opening argument for your choice of Italy for your next family trip. Follow closely with “culture” and “history” and as long as flights aren’t ridiculously expensive from where you are it shouldn’t be too hard to convince your parents of their next destination.
Italy, like France (see below), is one of those legendary places that you just have to visit in your lifetime. And that mindset transcends all ages, who doesn’t want to pose for silly pictures at the leaning tower of Piza or sit seaside slowly devouring a perfect slice of Italian pizza (followed by gelato of course).
Paris is one of those iconic destinations that are sure to make all your Instagram followers envy you that little bit extra so why wouldn’t you drop the name in while your folks are deciding where to visit this year.
There’s culture Mum & Dad, for real.
And French men, sure they may be rude and ignore you but that only make them more attractive right? At least that’s what television has taught me about what women want.
But Paris is seriously cool, there are the Eiffel tower, the catacombs and some of the most elegant fashion in the world. Your parents can drag you to all of the sites for their historical value (which will make them happy as your learning something, and you happy as its all so exciting), you may learn a bit of French, get to go shopping for clothes no one will be able to buy back home and strike one really famous destination off your bucket list.
Thailand is the spot for Australian and New Zealand vacationers who don’t want to fly too far but still want to experience beaches that will blow your mind.
Think of the endless possibilities for bikini selfies, Evan from Legal studies will be asking you to go with him to *insert teenage activity here* in no time!
Sarcasm aside, there are a ton of things to do in Thailand for younger tourists, there’s animal sightings, scuba diving, amazing beaches, cheap massages, really affordable luxury hotels and parties that are world famous such as the full moon party. The latter depending on how lax your parent’s attitudes are towards underage partying of course.
New Zealand is one of the best destinations for adrenalin and landscape lovers. There are glaciers to explore in the south, caves to the tube in Waitomo seals to imitate (and swim with) in Kaikoura, adrenaline-inducing jumps (bungy and sky) in Queenstown and the people are among the friendliest you’ve ever met.
NZ is also a great ski and snowboard destination. Winter hits early June if that’s more your thing – and yes that means snow, although mainly in the south island.
It’s a great spot if you’re not quite ready to venture to a destination that’s too different from your own (and its quite close and cheap if traveling from Australia).
The UK – home to terrible British accents, Hogwarts and well, British people – is an exciting, yet expensive place to travel for families.
Your parents will love the history while you’ll love the shopping, refining your British accent and selfie-ing at every sightseeing opportunity.
The big old US of A, you either love it or you hate it, its a country that divides opinions on a variety of topics but it is a great option for holiday goers looking for a destination with a (more or less) similar culture, low prices (atleast compared to Europe and Australia) and plenty of stuff to do natural or otherwise.
If you like hiking this is your place. If you like Mexican food, this is your place. And if you like celebrity watching, (you guessed it) this is your place.
There is an abundance of day tours, sightseeing, national parks, celebrities to stalk and famous cities to see here and you’re bound to run into at least one or two places of television significance at least once in your journey. This is a great place for teenagers as for a lot of you, its a culture you’ve grown up watching – at least if you’re from NZ/ Australia as the majority of our tv shows and music come from the USA.
Hawaii is to Americans and Canadians as Thailand is to Australian’s and New Zealander’s – a close proximity paradise with cheap flights and gorgeous beaches.
You can scuba dive, snorkel, hike, sunbake, swim, surf, and so much more in this tropical paradise and just look at that view A – MAZING.
While its likely your parents won’t let you roam a foreign country alone here’s how you can get a bit of parent-free time:
- Most of the places are relatively safe destinations so if you’re with a friend or a sibling your parents may let you go off and explore alone for a bit. If not you should at least be able to wander off for an ice cream or two where you can practice your terrible french/ Italian/ Spanish etc with the cute waiter. However, this really depends on the area you are in and you shouldn’t go anywhere with strangers.
- While taking photographs at all the sites, you may not be able to venture far but you wont have to be side by side while circling the attractions.
- Paris, in particular, is rather lax with drinking laws (or maybe the age is a lot lower, I’m not really sure) so you can try out some Parisian wine if its A-ok with your ‘rents.
- Tours generally have a meeting place to gather before its time to leave so depending on your capacity for getting lost you should be able to do your own thing granted you have a watch, a sense of responsibility and parents with looser reins. While this might not be advisable while on your own (or in areas where it’s easy to get lost), grouping up with your other older siblings or a friend will be a better alternative. For example you could chill with others your age taking happy snaps around Pompeii instead of following your ‘rents around while they dilly-dally over the boring details.
- Ziplines (and other adrenalin/ fun activities) really are personal things, and with the amount of steps between each line you’ll probably get separated at one point or another – and your on a tour so its not like your ever going to be alone for long so your parents should allow you to go at your own pace.
- Beaches are great places for meeting new people and sunbaking the day away. Even the most overzealous parent is not going to expect you to be by their side 24/7 here. Go for a swim, learn to surf, meet some cute boys, it’s really up to you.
- Snorkelling and hiking trips are normally done in groups of at least eight so you may get lucky and meet one or two people your age. Besides your parents probably move slow and will cover the back of the group while you and your new best friend Sharon from Melbourne can stay up front gossiping about Kim Kardashian or whatever celebrity is relevant these days.