Single-Parents & Their Teens Connect on Guided Vacations
Posted by Guest Blogger
Posted in: Tauck’s Travelogue
Tags: Family Travel, Solo Travel
From Guest Blogger Luisa Frey
As a family travel writer, I’ve traveled far and wide with my children as tots, grade school children and present-day tweens/teens. While we’ve never met a trip we didn’t like – now as a single parent – my desires for a family vacation differ greatly from when I was married. Plus now that I have a tween and teen, their travel interests are also more specific.
I’ve found, as a single parent, the most important thing is to choose a family vacation that unburdens my time – freeing me to truly connect with my young adults.
What doesn’t work: Single parents doing ALL the work on vacation
I recently got back from our annual family vacation in Cape Cod, a trip that my daughter, Alex, and son, Ethan, love. While Cape Cod is my favorite place in the USA, renting a house for a week is not the picture of relaxation for a single parent. There’s unpacking the car, making beds, food shopping, cooking, packing up for the beach and driving to the beach – all done solo.
This leaves little time for quality time with my tween and teen. But wait, isn’t that the reason to go on vacation with my kids? To connect in a way that rarely happens at home, due to doing double-duty as a single parent?
What does work: Single parents kicking back and enjoying the ride
What I really crave is a true vacation, one that lets me sit back while someone else deals with all the usual logistics. Yes, I could do that at a resort, but then again, we love to see and do while traveling. We’re not content to sit on a beach for eight hours each day. We enjoy enriching and fun experiences that we can share together and that create family lore for years to come.
One of the top ways we’ve accomplished this is via guided family vacations with Tauck. We find them the perfect balance of enrichment, adventure, relaxation and fun – all which foster connectedness.
During our Tauck Bridges family vacation, I was thrilled to have a bus driver to navigate and a Tauck Director to deal with logistics. Meanwhile Alex, Ethan and I got to see the national parks in the western United States – something that I would not have wanted to undertake on my own. We were thrilled by the parks’ natural beauty and all the “edu-taining” hands-on activities on tour.
The perfect way for single parents to connect with their teen
During our guided vacation I noticed that the more I unwound, the more my kids and I shared positively. Anyone who has a tween or teen knows how hard that it can be in daily life to connect with him or her in a meaningful way. And if you’re a single parent, you have double the responsibilities at home, which cuts down on the time that you’re relaxed enough to meet your teen halfway. But all those barriers were blissfully gone during our 10-day guided adventure.
One of the many things my teen and I enjoyed together on our guided family vacation was doing more than just sightseeing. We experienced new and exciting activities together including cable car rides in San Francisco, bicycle rides along the Pacific Ocean in Monterey, and campfire stories amidst the giant sequoias. Another very cool experience was a flashlight hike in Yosemite! So how did these activities help me bond with a potentially hard-to-please teen? They allowed us to blow off steam together in a fun way and provided us with plenty to excitedly talk about afterwards.
We also enjoyed experiencing new foods together. Single parents LOVE having less parental duties on their “plate” – such as cooking. And teens LOVE eating! Yes, one can do that on any type of vacation, but what I really liked during our guided vacation was that many of the dinners were included. That made it easy for my children to try new foods. Our meals together were a way to try interesting foods and provided us with time to connect and communicate over dinner – which rarely happens at home.
Creating new family lore with your teen: THEIR way
Since I did not have to do the driving on our guided vacation, I got to snap photos as easily as my children did. Since teens and tweens communicate these days by posting photos on Facebook, it was great afterwards to have plenty of pictures from the trip to share with each other prior to Facebook-posting.
Photo sharing is a wonderful way to make future connections with your teen and tween; it elicits plenty of “remember whens” from your guided vacation. This in turn creates family lore, which is so very important for families, since it’s one of the backbones of family strength. And strong parental/teen/tween connections make for happy families in the long run.
Isn’t that what family travel should be all about?