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Bring one pair of comfortable walking shoes as well as a pair of sandals or Tevas. Before you leave home, break in your new shoes so you're not uncomfortable on the road.

Traveling With Your Teens

Traveling with kids

No doubt about it, once kids pass into those teenage years, coming up with family travel ideas requires more thought, and perhaps a change of venue. Perhaps the best place to start when planning a family vacation with older kids is a round table discussion about what everybody would like to do. Sure, it's hard to come up with a consensus, but deciding whether you want to head to the mountains, relax on the beach, venture forth with pack on back, or conquer the museums of DC is essential.

Once you've decided on the type of trip you want, cost factors will obviously come into play. At this point, calling a travel agent looking for transportation deals might be a good idea. Once your kids are out of the 12-and-under, stay-free-with-parents lodging option, you may want to put a somewhat different spin on your accommodations thinking. Is the average hotel room really big enough, anyway, to make for a pleasurable stay? Many families have found that switching to accommodations with kitchenette and more than one room makes for a much happier time for everybody. All-suite hotels, condominiums, cabins, and vacation home rentals all fill the bill for more space and truly provide a better value in terms of price/satisfaction. Consult our databases for leads to condos, all-suites, and state parks that offer larger spaces.


State parks represent a fantastic opportunity for families to vacation on a budget (subsidized by Uncle Sam for a change). The following states offer cabin camping: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia. See our National and State Park listings for more information and ideas.


Offer tremendous value during the Summer - their off season. Most offer steep discounts to their on-season prices and have an array of activities to entice all members of your family, and plenty of condo accommodations.


Long on atmosphere and guest camaraderie, dude ranches could provide you with your best vacation ever. See our Guest Ranch/Dude Ranch database for much more information.


often open their housing during the Summer break. Not only are the prices low, but accommodations are most often suite-style and well suited to families. An especially intriguing prospect in pricey city locations.


If your family is energetic, a pre-planned adventure vacation might be just the ticket for an unforgettable vacation. Most offer you a chance to experience the great out-of-doors in ways few ever do, while taking all the day-to-day drudgery off your shoulders. Check our adventure travel section for more ideas.

GOLDEN RULES for traveling with teens:
1) Give them some space both physically by selecting accommodations that offer more than just one room, and mentally too by not planning a super-tight touring schedule.
2) Get them involved right from the start in planning the trip. Your teen may find reading guide books a new and exciting experience, and calling state and local departments of tourism and chambers of commerce will help them sharpen up their telephone skills.
3) Go where the teens are. Kids like the company of their peers.
4) Night life - Try to pick an area or resort that has something going on in the evening. Avoid super quiet communities where they roll up the sidewalks at 5 p.m., and your loud youngsters will stick out like a sore thumb.
5) Set a budget for incidental spending and stick with it.
6) Allow your young people some free time to pursue their own interests and give everyone a breather from in-your-pocket living. One idea that's worked well for us is occasional dinners apart. We go to that nice quiet restaurant we've been longing to try, and we give them $7 to $10 each to go check out the local pizza, etc., setting a rendezvous time for everybody.
7) If they pack it, they schlep it. If the burden really looks too great, have them try a pre-trip around the block. They may not even make it past the front door.
8) Let them sleep. They have to get up early all year long, so why not allow them the luxury of sleeping in in the mornings - while you have some free time.
9) Make them your trip chronicler/photographer/navigator. They will enjoy the responsibility and hopefully will produce a wonderful album immortalizing your family vacation.
10) Enjoy! The teen years go very fast. Pretty soon they may not want to vacation with you. So minimize the little irritations and maximize the pleasure for everybody.

Cabins in Ohio

Traveling on a Budget

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A relaxed and friendly atmosphere best describes this bed & breakfast, situated in the redwoods near the Russian River. We have a delightful bed & breakfast, an assortment of charming cottages, sunny decks, a pool, picnic areas, and affordable rates!

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