How To Travel In A Motorhome With Teens

Travelling a motorhome with a teen isn't easy - see our tips here!

As they get into their teenage years, many kids reach a point where they no longer desire to go on family vacations with their parents. They often view their parents' activities as either too “embarrassing” or “boring”. You should not beat yourself up because this behaviour is a natural part of their development as they strive to establish their own identity.

However, this transition can create difficulties when it comes to family holidays, as they may feel too old to vacation with their parents but they may still be too young to be left home alone. This situation can be particularly challenging when travelling in a motorhome.

It's important to note that each teenager is unique, with some managing well with their parents' demands while others find them unbearable. As they progress through their teenage years, most teenagers would likely prefer engaging in activities other than going on vacation with their parents. It's not a personal judgement of their parents being "embarrassing" or "boring." Rather, it stems from the natural process of teenagers forming their own adult identity and instinctively seeking independence.

Unfortunately, despite their desire to distance themselves from family vacations, teenagers may still require parental supervision and care. As parents, it remains your responsibility to ensure their safety and well-being, even if they have grown to match your height!

To help you navigate this challenge, we have prepared a practical checklist for travelling with teenagers in a motorhome. By following these guidelines, you can create memorable and enjoyable holidays for the entire family.

Begin Travelling With Kids Early

Starting your campervan travels with children at an early age can make it easier as they get older. It's important to begin, even with small trips or nearby campsites, and gradually expand your adventures. There are various ways to tour with children, from short stays nearby to longer journeys across the country. Choose the travel style that best fits your family, but the key is to take that initial step and continue exploring.

Allow Them To Pick The Destination

To ensure that teenagers are excited about the trip, involve them in the decision-making process. Ask them where they would like to go in the motorhome, allowing them to express their opinions and preferences without committing to anything definite. We have successfully used this approach to visit music festivals, theme parks, and capital cities.

Involve Them When Planning The Trip

Engage them right from the beginning by exploring a map together and discussing the activities and attractions available at different destinations. Each family member can choose one activity they are particularly interested in, ensuring that everyone's needs are considered and fulfilled during the tour.

Let Them Bring A Friend

If your teenager struggles with being separated from their friends, why not consider inviting their best friend to join your campervan adventure? Starting with a weekend trip can be a sensible choice, and having companions of a similar age will contribute to your teenager's happiness. Even if you prefer not to have more than one teenager accompany you, there are still opportunities for socialising during your trip. You could arrange meet-ups or visit family and friends who also have teenagers.

campervan holiday

Keep in mind that if you're bringing someone else's child on vacation with you, it's important to ensure you have adequate campervan insurance coverage. Just to be on the safe side!

Get Them To Take The Lead For A Particular Part Of The Tour

Encouraging teenagers to take the lead in a specific aspect of the tour can enhance their engagement and provide valuable opportunities for independence and skill development. It's important to identify their genuine interests and find a role that aligns with those passions. By allowing them to take ownership and responsibility, they will be more motivated and enthusiastic about their involvement in the journey. This experience can foster their personal growth and encourage them to acquire valuable skills along the way.

Planning and Creating Checklists To Teach Accountability

While it may be tempting to take charge and pack for your teenager when you're pressed for time, it's important to let them take responsibility. Parents often worry about forgetting essential items like toothbrushes or swimwear, but part of growing up involves learning accountability.

Packing for a trip presents an excellent opportunity to impart the importance of planning and creating checklists to your teenager. Sit down together to devise a comprehensive packing list, ensuring that nothing vital is forgotten and travel days are as stress-free as possible. 

campervan checklist

Furthermore, consider using this moment to lead by example and involve your teen in pre-journey preparations. Demonstrating the significance of tasks like performing pre-trip checks and ensuring campervan insurance coverage will help them understand the essential aspects of trip planning and prevent potential issues during the journey.

See our guide to planning a campervan road trip!

Have A Few Surprises Up Your Sleeve

Embrace the element of surprise when organising your trip and don't reveal all the activities and attractions in the area beforehand. Keep a few exciting surprises up your sleeve, especially ones you know will captivate your children. These unexpected experiences add an extra dose of excitement for everyone and can even help motivate reluctant teenagers to participate eagerly in the adventure. Discovering new surprises along the way enhances the overall enjoyment of the trip and keeps everyone engaged and curious throughout the journey.

Remember Wi-Fi If You Value Your Sanity

Having Wi-Fi in your campervan is essential, not only for teenagers but for everyone. It enables you to plan your route for the next day and stream movies during inclement weather when leaving the camper isn't an option.

There are numerous options available on the market, such as Wi-Fi dongles and 4G antennas, but it's important to find the one that suits your motorhome and needs.

Give Them Some Privacy and Space

When it comes to travelling with teenagers in a motorhome, achieving a sense of individual privacy can be challenging. However, there are strategies that can help make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved. In addition to providing them with their own pup tent and a designated private area for changing, it's beneficial to allow teenagers some freedom to explore on their own. Furthermore, giving them the option to stay in the campervan for short periods, especially when visiting places they may not be particularly interested in, can help alleviate tensions and foster a sense of autonomy. These measures can help create a more harmonious and enjoyable travel experience for both teenagers and the rest of the family.

A Dog Can Be A Teen’s Best Friend

If you're travelling with both teenagers and a family dog, there are some additional things you’ll need to put into consideration. However, don't forget that the presence of a four-legged companion can be beneficial for keeping teenagers content. The bond between most family dogs and their teenage human siblings remains strong, even during times when relationships with parents may be strained. Taking the dog for a walk becomes a perfect excuse for anyone who needs a break from their parents or feels confined in the campervan. It can also be an opportunity to meet other teens who are on holiday.

Our tips for how to travel with a dog.

No Early Starts, Thank You Very Much

If you ask most teenagers, they'll likely express a preference for staying up late and sleeping until noon. While accommodating such late hours may not be practical, it's important to consider their preferences when planning activities for a successful trip.

Do you personally prefer starting your day at 9am? It's unlikely. How about enjoying a relaxed breakfast around 10am and commencing the day's activities after 11am? Plus, after waking up early every day for work, taking the opportunity to catch up on sleep during your holiday wouldn't be a bad idea. After all, you deserve some rest while on holiday!

Embrace Their Technology

It’s no secret that teenagers will probably want to bring their phones, iPods, iPads, and other electronic devices on the tour. These devices serve as a means for staying connected with friends and offer entertainment through games and music during travel. While we allow our teenagers to use their gadgets, we establish a few rules, such as prohibiting their use at the dining table and not allowing excessive screen time during sightseeing.

Charging these devices has sometimes led to tensions, particularly when we engage in off-grid touring. To address this, we invested in 12V chargers and take turns plugging devices in while driving.

Something To Note About Food

Teenagers may not always be as open to trying new food and local delicacies while travelling, preferring familiar options. It's important to understand and give them some leeway in this regard. They have a lifetime ahead to explore diverse and unique culinary experiences. Fortunately, even the most traditional dishes in different local areas often have their own distinctive twist.

campervan food

Don’t Be Afraid To Get Out of YOUR Comfort Zone, Too

While we often encourage our teenagers to step out of their comfort zones and try new experiences, we should also consider doing the same for ourselves. It's important to challenge ourselves and try things that may be outside our usual preferences. We're not suggesting reckless behaviour, but rather exploring activities that we typically wouldn't attempt. When on a holiday with teenagers, they will appreciate seeing you engage in new endeavours. On top of this, a campervan holiday with your teen offers an opportunity to let loose and enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Make Time To Talk

One crucial tip for travelling with teenagers is to make time for meaningful conversations with them. Holidays provide an ideal opportunity to connect with your teens and gain insights into their personalities and interests. During your travels, you may find that you have more relaxed moments to sit and actively listen to them. This could be a significant milestone where your teenagers feel at ease discussing topics they may have previously avoided. It's a chance to foster deeper understanding and strengthen your bond with them.

Planning a family holiday? Our campervan hire in Ireland is the perfect choice for you!