It may seem that just yesterday you were packing diapers and stuffed animals, but even older kids require some special considerations on vacation. To keep the whole family happy, we've got some basic reminders below to get you started but we'd like to hear your tips too. Do you set limits on technology use? Or modify their curfew times? Share your experiences in the comments below.
Give teens some freedom.
All-inclusives and cruises give older kids their first taste of independence. The finite space of a boat or resort means a rare opportunity to play and dine at will. Buses at places like Walt Disney World afford the chance to motor around independently.
Give yourself peace of mind.
Organized activities entertain teens while allowing parents to keep track of them. Many resorts now offer teen clubs, exclusive spots open only to certain ages. Such clubs are often equipped with soft drinks, game rooms, karaoke, and dance floors.
Set a budget.
Motorized sports are the mama of all extras. Teenagers will zero in on them the moment they arrive. Jet Skis and parasailing can cost upwards of $60 an hour. Little things like soft drinks and virgin cocktails—$1 to $5 each—not to mention arcade games, can add up in a hurry, especially since they're often bought with resort charge cards that don't seem like actual money. Use prepaid cards when possible. Either way, set a budget and stick to it.
Bring a friend.
Nothing entertains a kid like another kid. Before offering an invitation, talk to the parents of the potential guest. Agree on who's paying for what, and how much supervision will be offered. Written permission—signed by the guest's parents and notarized—is needed to fly. Such documentation, plus insurance info, is also needed to get health care in an emergency.
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