Making family time cool again
Time for family vacations is often precious and hard to come by. With teens’ increasingly busy schedules to juggle, rapidly filling social calendars and precious little time before they leave for college, it’s more important than ever to schedule all-important family bonding time. Do your teens prefer non-stop activities or is their idea of vacation relaxing on the beach? Regardless of which destination you end up travelling to, quality time is where the real magic is found. The best way to ensure a successful vacation is to get everyone involved in the planning, so let’s begin!
1. Cultural Immersion
Traveling to a new place, especially one with a radically different culture than your own, is an amazing learning experience. Consider your vacation extra credit for your teens, and take every opportunity to meet and talk with locals, get off-the-beaten-path and expand their horizons.
Morocco is an explosion of colour, smells and sounds, and the country’s most famous city enchants every visitor who walks its winding streets. Listen for the unique sounds of the call to prayer echoing from the many mosques dotting the city. Haggle in the markets for handmade souvenirs in the souqs, admire the impressive tile work of the palaces, and attempt to master the maze of streets in the bustling Medina. Finally, a trip to Marrakesh wouldn’t be complete without staying in a traditional Moroccan riad, where you’ll feel like royalty, and there are options for nearly every budget.
“Our favorite memory is sleeping overnight at a desert camp in the Sahara. We rode camels, learned to drum, watched the stars, and tried sand boarding on the dunes.” – Tamara
In this day and age, phones, laptops and tablets are pretty much connected to our teens nonstop. Vacations can be a great way to unplug from social media and technology, but if you know your teens won’t give up their devices willingly, why not let nature do the hard work? Head into the wilderness, where you’re met with beautiful sights, plenty of adventure, and limited cell service.
A driving trip through the Canadian Rockies leads to vibrant blue lakes surrounded by snow-capped mountains, winding roads leading to breathtaking heights, and plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife like elk, bears and bighorn sheep. Reconnect as a family through nature as you explore the endless wonders of Banff National Park.
“My favourite daughter (which I only have one child) is growing up into a teenager. Years pass by faster than her age . I know someday (hopefully not very soon) she will be living independent from me and will probably choose to hang out with her friends more . So, I wanted to take as much quality time with her as I possibly can . And to well documented it in good photographs so I can look back in our fun and loving time together by just looking at the photos.” – Gemma
Empty stomachs are often the culprit of grumpy teens (and let’s be honest, adults too!), so set yourself up for success with a food-based destination. From breakfasts with a view to cooking classes for lunch to fine dining in the evening, your vacation can be a time to indulge your taste buds with authentic, local flavours.
If there is a foodie-heaven, it surely lies among the winding streets of Florence. You could easily try a different flavour of gelato every day, twice a day, and fresh-made pasta and pizza will keep stomachs full and happy. Our favourite spot for gelato is Edoardo’s, and it neighbours the stunning Duomo for the best views in town. For pizza, grab a fresh pie from Gustapizza and eat with the locals on the steps of Santo Spirito church. If you’re really up for an adventure, look up the city’s “secret bakeries,” where fresh baked goods are made in the middle of the night for bakeries around the city, and if you know where to knock, you could get a Nutella croissant straight out of the oven for just a Euro.
“Being the mom who loves taking photos of her family means that I am rarely IN the photos. I could not be more thankful that I found flytographer to arrange our family photo shoot in Florence, Italy. Arranging everything was a breeze and communicating with our concierge, Fiona, and our photographer, Emma, was flawless. I now have plenty of beautiful images with my family and I actually got to be in the pictures!!! Those photos are the most precious souvenir we brought home for our trip and it was worth EVERY penny! Thank you, flytographer and Emma!” – Gabriella
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Non-stop entertainment and a never-ending list of activities means you’ll never hear the words “I’m bored” when choosing a lively metropolis as your destination. Whether you prefer museums, parks, restaurants or a bit of everything, these cities have options for every interest.
The city that never sleeps will be sure to wear out even the most energetic teens. Walk the Brooklyn Bridge and DUMBO in the morning with a hot coffee and bagel, shop ‘til you drop in the trendy SoHo neighbourhood, take the ultimate selfie in Times Square, picnic in Central Park, and use a Broadway show as an excuse to finally get dressed up. Let your teens take the lead in attempting to decode the city’s massive subway system, and if you get lost along the way, see what unplanned adventures you’ll find! There are no wrong turns in New York City.
“Inspiration: Mother daughter time and my daughter’s 13th birthday. Amanda was wonderful! She was so friendly and put me and my daughter at ease. She was fun to be around and I am thrilled with the photos that I received! My absolute favourite souvenir of our mother-daughter trip.” – Sam
Are you feeling inspired to start the conversation at the dinner table tonight with your family? No matter where your growing family travels this year, the most important parts of any family vacation are the memories shared and captured for the whole family to remember for years to come!