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Your Guide to Teen Trips
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Your Guide to Teen Trips

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Your Guide to Teen Trips

Traveling with your children during their teenage years can be one of the most rewarding vacation experiences of their young lives, both for you and your teens. It seems like only yesterday they were babies, and the idea of getting on an airplane with a stroller, a baggie of cheerios, and a diaper bag was daunting. Now they’re all grown up—or almost—and it’s time to make lasting memories before they graduate high school. Travel for teens is a brave new frontier, but it’s a game-changer.

One of the most exciting parts about traveling with teenagers is that they are way more active and agile than when they were kids, and it’s possible to plan a vacation that includes breathtaking terrain paired with hiking, swimming, bike rides, horse rides, climbing—you name it! There are activity options that are awesome for both you and your kids at the same time, and that’s harder to come by when they’re younger. That’s why we’re especially excited about our yearly teen adventure tours at Austin Adventures, a premier vacation package company specializing in family and group travel packages to some of our beautiful national parks and beyond.

Austin Adventures has a number of fun teen trips for ages 13+ that customize experiences for teen trips with their families to ensure the most engaging experiences for growing bodies and curious minds. This is a time to show teens some of the wonders of the world right here in the U.S., and give them a sense of the history of this great nation through Austin Adventures trip packages to some of the most gorgeous spots in U.S. national parks. Remember, it’s not too long now before your teen adventurers leave the nest. What better way than to make memories with your teens that will last a lifetime than with a teen adventure trip?

Teens by campfire

Why Take Trips with Your Teens?

Teenagers want to feel that they can put their growing independence to good use within a safe, controlled environment. It might seem like, if they’re going on a vacation with their parents, they’re not going to feel independent, but parents/guardians can foster a sense of independence by including teens in the decision-making process when planning a trip, as well as giving them a voice about how to spend the group’s off time. Remember, teens want to be seen and heard, just like the rest of us. As long as you make an effort to help you teen feel included and heard in decision-making processes, you’re sure to make memories that last a lifetime. Oh, and we’ll worry about ample snacks—that tends to keep everyone in a great mood.

One of the main reasons to plan travel with teens is that they will soon be going on the biggest adventure of their own—adulthood. A trip with teens can be the perfect opportunity to teach life lessons about stepping out on one’s own, taking risks, and savoring rare moments of leisure and contemplation. It’s also an opportunity to try fine dining, high art, and environmental and cultural issues that may not have been broached when your children were at a more tender age. Take the opportunity offered by sharing new experiences with your teen to discuss bigger issues, and let your teen lead the way. As long as you expose teenagers and young adults to environments and ideas that are new to them, their curiosity will be sparked—after all, that’s human nature!

Girl in field by mountains

The Power of an Adventure Holiday for Teenagers

Traveling down rustic pathways, looking out over incredible vistas, and sleeping under the stars are just a few of the ways to get you and your adventurous teen out of their comfort zone and into making lasting memories. It’s easy to forget how hard those teen years can be sometimes, and a lot of the difficulty is due to increasingly stressful workloads at school, as our kids prepare to be competitive in college while trying to navigate peer pressure and stay true to their own values. One of the best ways to take advantage of the summer trip (or alternative spring break) is to do something that completely takes your and their minds off of everyday pressures of life at home. There’s nothing like being fully immersed in nature to take one’s mind off what one should be wearing, who’s dating who, or whether an ACT score is high enough to make it into a dream school.

Once you have their minds off the pressure of everyday life at home, you can use the opportunity to model lessons about slowing down, taking time out, feeling gratitude, and reflecting. In a fast-paced—and often confusing—world, these are some of the most invaluable lessons your teen can take with them into adulthood. Although they might not know they’re learning an important lesson, this is one of take-away they might actually thank you for later. Also, don’t forget to be silly with your teens. Have fun with them, and free yourself up to dive in and try new things! It’s not fair of you to stand on the sidelines while you encourage them to try out that zip line. Get in there, if you’re able, and challenge your own fears! They might not be as forthcoming about their respect and admiration of you as they were when they were little, but they’re still watching, listening, and taking notes.

Travel and Teens infographic

Austin Adventures family vacation packages offer a balance of adventure and luxury, allowing you and your teen to challenge yourselves and enjoy the finer things in life in equal measure. A few highlights: Our adventure through Yellowstone National Park offers an updated spin on a timeless American family vacation tradition. The journey through Washington’s San Juan Islands is laid-back and packed with scenic vistas, offering ample opportunities for education about historic preservation and conservation efforts. Finally, the Alaska package offers breathtaking views and customizable experiences for those who may be up for a more athletic challenge. Regardless of the adventure trip you choose to take with your teens, we are confident you will find inspired, thoughtfully designed itineraries full of surprising “wow” moments.

The Best Teen Trips of 2020

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

July 19-24, 13+

This fun teen trip boasts the perfect balance of luxury and adventure. After nights spent in luxurious ski lodges full of local character such as the famous Old Faithful Inn—built in 1904!—and the Old Faithful Snow Lodge, families are guided through rustic trails to breathtaking sites. You’ll trek through the upper geyser basin to a prime spot for watching Old Faithful gurgle and burst beneath the stars while enjoying a gourmet dinner.

Activities include ziplining, hiking two to four miles per day over moderate terrain, water rafting for all experience levels, and horseback riding for all levels. And if so many new experiences with your teenagers makes you a little nervous, not to fear! Kacey Austin, the expert travel guide with Austin Adventures, will be there to share her love and knowledge of the Yellowstone experience. She was even named “top family travel guide” by Outside Magazine. And if that name “Austin” seems familiar, you might be onto something! Kacey is the daughter of Austin Adventures founder Dan Austin, and she literally grew up in the travel adventure business.

Exposure to new terrains, activities, and cultures can ignite lifelong passions in adventuring teens. You never know when you might be fostering a lifelong love of horseback riding or geological study. Austin Adventures understands that it’s important to build learning experiences into their adventure packages for teens and their families, which is why all guides are seasoned regional experts who can answer questions about the diverse ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park and all of its wild inhabitants, such as bison, bears, elk, and bobcats.

San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands, Washington

June 14-19, 13 +

This trip around the San Juan Islands is all about unplugging, unwinding, and getting in touch with oneself, nature, and loved ones. You’ll begin your adventure by taking a shuttle from Seattle to Anacortes where you’ll board the ferry to San Juan Island. Consider the adventure officially underway, as there will likely be plenty of wildlife on view among the rolling waves and blue ocean skies. Keep your eyes open for majestic orcas breaching, spy-hopping, and more. These are sites that will have even the teen reluctant to engage in family time leaning over the railing to catch a glimpse of mysterious and awe-inspiring ocean inhabitants.

From there you’ll enjoy your first activity of the trip, a bike ride before dinner at the historic Friday Harbor House, where you’ll also enjoy a dinner that’s not only farm-to-table but also ocean-to-table. Nothing beats fresh seafood right off the boat!

This is followed by a day of kayaking, starting out paddling from Roche Harbor with your expert guide, Dan Austin. Dan is the founder of Austin adventures—we bet the name tipped you off—and knows how to help you feel comfortable and ready for everything you’ll tackle on your adventure. He’s an adventurer himself, having led tours and activities through sixty-four countries in his many years of experience, and he loves nothing more than accommodating guests and providing the highest level of support and hospitality.

Alaska hikers

Alaska

July 19-24, 16+

This is the perfect summer trip for every big kid in your family, packed with tons of fun teen-oriented activities for teens and their families in the Land of the Midnight Sun. It’s convenient and comforting to know that with this all-inclusive Alaska family vacation package, you can spend less time worrying about the details and more time concentrating on quality time with your family. This inspired and thoughtfully-curated journey through the last frontier includes a wide variety of customizable activities, accommodations, and comforts, and it’s perfect for families with older teens who have interests they may want to explore more deeply than younger siblings. For instance, on day three over family members will have the option of taking an easy hike over Exit Glacier Overlook Trail, or—if you have a sporty teen or an adult up to a challenge—there’s the option of taking a hike over Harding Icefield, the largest icefield in North America! That’s over seven miles wide! No matter who you are, that’s a pretty awesome thing to say you’ve done.

We were so excited to see that this is yet another adventure guided by Dan Austin. This is one of his very favorite trips offered through the company’s program, and as a father of a former teenage daughter (who now works as an adventure guide herself), Dan has taken special care to plan a trip that is conducive to bonding with your teen through sightseeing, hikes, bike rides, and kayaking trips, including one around the majestic Resurrection Bay. There is truly nothing more strange or awe-inspiring that the natural wonders you’ll encounter in Alaska’s national parks.

The Hotel Alyeska

This best-in-class travel experience includes the opportunity to touch the Byron Glacier, observe puffins playing in their own habitat, and get in some exercise in new and challenging environments that are also safe and controlled. However, Austin adventures are not only adventures but also luxury vacations, and the amenities offered as part of the Alaska package are nothing short of full-on resort style. The Alyeska Prince Hotel, which you’ll stay in on the final night of your journey, is nestled among the Chugach Mountains, and it boasts an award-winning restaurant, the Seven Glaciers, posted 2,000 feet above the hotel. Now that’s a view! And the in-resort full-service luxury spa is the perfect way to cap your Alaska family adventure. We suggest mani-pedis for the whole family!

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These are just a few of the fun teen trips offered by Austin Adventures this coming summer. Whether you’re more interested in taking it easy or planning a biking and hiking trip for teens, Austin Adventures maintains our motto of providing “inspired, thoughtful” service for you and your family. We hope you enjoy the adventure, and that you and your teen savor every moment together during this precious and fleeting moment in their young lives. Who knows what one unexpected turn down a rustic pathway might lead to for you and your teen!

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