Teenagers are always a hassle to bring around on family vacations. All they want to do is lay down on the couch and check their phone. But I’m here to tell you there is a way to make RVing fun for teenagers. Here I have compiled a list of tips and tricks that will help you achieve a fun and successful day every day. Here goes!
Get out of the trailer.
Teenagers would drop whatever they’re doing to get outside and have fun playing a sport. It’s easy for you because all you’ve got to do is bring a football or a Frisbee. Simple, easy, and fun. Even if it requires a short drive to get to the destination, it’s worth it because everyone will be entertained!
For example, recently we took a trip to the Oregon Coast. One night everyone was relaxing in the trailer (being teenagers) and we decided to get up and walk along the beach. We brought the Frisbee and ended up playing with it for a few hours. And before we knew it, our Fitbits had tracked five miles of walking!
Let them help pick the activities.
Ask them ahead of time what they really would like to see throughout the trip. You can nail your plan with their opinions in mind, making it really fun for everybody. No matter where you are, there is always something fun nearby.
One night on a trip we stayed at a state park campground with a big lake. We had researched a couple things to do there – and turns out there was a kayak tour the next morning (that ended up being really fun and the teenagers were very happy)!
Surprise your teenagers with a movie night.
If your RV or trailer comes with a TV, take that to your advantage and bring a movie to watch. (Especially if it’s raining out!) Bring some snacks and popcorn on the trip to make it very fun.
If your trailer or RV doesn’t have a television, you can easily bring a laptop or an iPad to watch the movie on. One of our personal favorites is the movie RV. RV is a hilarious classic Robin Williams movie in which he decides to rent an RV to increase “family bonding” time, which ends up being in every way a total disaster. As an RV owner, you will definitely appreciate a lot of the hilarious situations Bob Munro is caught in with his family.
You can buy the movie on Amazon Instant Video by clicking here.
Don’t make EVERY meal in the trailer.
Make sure you get out for dinner or lunch a few times so you’re not eating meal after meal in the trailer. Take note of what foods they like beforehand so you can plan out the meals and make them happy with what they are eating. Show them and “pass off” the meal plan with your teenager so they can look forward to what’s coming up for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Teenagers like to be included in the decisions that are being made for them, or the fun they are missing out on. Which brings me to my next point…
TEACH them to cook the food over the fire.
Camping isn’t camping without cooking over the campfire. A few ideas for meals you can cook over the campfire are hot dogs, banana boats, or just easy tin foil dinners. Banana boats are a dessert food and are made by cutting an unpeeled banana vertically (straight down the middle, making two long halves), then filling it with chocolate chips, marshmallows, and anything else to your desire. Then you wrap it up in tinfoil and stick it in the fire for 5-7 minutes.
The result is desirable to make one happy.
Compare the number of outlets in the trailer with the number of outlets your teens use.
Make any changes as necessary, like investing in a surge protector/power strip. I promise you it is great to invest in and will be useful in your house as well as your motorhome. We have used it so many times in and out of our house and definitely do not regret buying it. It’s cheap, portable, and EXTREMELY useful.
Outlets need to be made available because teenagers need them – whether it be to charge their cell phone, digital camera, MP3 Player or their laptop – they need to be accessible.
Bring social, fun board games.
Every teen falls for a good card game or board game. Some of the greatest and most memorable are Apples to Apples, Snake Oil, Bang!, and Uno. They create lots of inside jokes between you and your family, which is a great tool for family bonding and fun.
Out of all the games, Snake Oil is easily the best and funniest game. It is extremely easy to learn, too. The objective of the game is to sell the target player a product that matches their character. For example, they draw a character card that says they are a cheerleader. Everybody else gets five or six cards each and picks two out of their hand to sell the cheerleader.
After all of the products have been shown off, the cheerleader must decide whose product to buy. The winner then becomes the buyer and picks a new character card! It’s a really fun game to play.
Let them start the fire!
Here’s why I say this. Like I said before, teenagers need to and love to be included in the fun they normally miss out on. You have got to teach them how to start the fire so they will know this in the future with their family and so they can start the fire on future family trips! From then on, let your teenager start the campfire.
Decide whether to be pro-technology or technology-free.
If you decide to use technology (mp3 players, phones, laptops, etc), set some rules in advance. This one is probably one of the most important, next to getting out of the trailer. Letting your trailer be a technology-friendly environment is essential to making the RV fun for your teenagers. Obviously, don’t let them be on their phone all day, but let them do what they need to do for a few minutes each day. It is important to teens that they can see what their friends have been up to and keep in touch with them. On top of this, try to stop at campsites that have Wi-Fi or internet connection/cell service.
Another idea that will help gain control over technology in your trailer is to have a set bedtime for phones. Meaning have an agreed time when everyone will turn off their phones to spend family time together (watch a movie, play a game, go outside…).
If you do decide to go technology-free, provide a basket for storing phones, laptops, and other devices in. This fits right in with the ‘bedtime’ for technology.
Stop at campgrounds with electricity/invest in a generator.
This is really important and is necessary if a teenager needs to charge their devices. This is probably the backbone of the whole camping trip because it sets up for everything else. You will need electricity in your RV to watch movies, charge devices, and to let it be a technology-friendly environment.
If you can’t get electricity every night, try to aim for it every other night so that phones and laptops don’t run out of juice. Because there’s nothing worse than if a teenager’s phone dies.
Finally, take the time to talk with your teenager.
It is important that you take the time to sit down and have a nice talk with your kid. They need that every once in a while. Remember to ask them lots of questions that pertain to their life. A great tool for this is Table Topics, which you can buy as a card set or download the application on your phone.
Be sure to let your teenager do a good portion of the talking so that they don’t feel like they are being given a speech. To quote Melvin J. Ballard, “A conversation where you do 90% of the talking is not a good conversation.” Stick to this quote for a meaningful conversation.
With these eleven tips up your sleeve, RVing will be eleven times more fun for your teenager and the whole family! To recap: take your teenager and family outside every once in a while (whether it be to walk along the beach, play football or Frisbee, or just to go out and get something to eat), let them be involved in the decision making, bring a movie on your trip along with some snacks and popcorn, don’t make EVERY meal in the trailer (go outside and walk to a place to get some food instead of cooking in the trailer all day), teach them to cook food over the fire (desserts and meals and such), on top of that teach them to start the fire, match the number of outlets your teens use with the number of outlets in the trailer, bring fun and social board games, decide to be pro-technology or technology-free inside your RV, stop at campgrounds with electricity plug-ins or invest in a generator, and finally, take the time to sit down and talk with your teenager. Good luck to you with your RVing and I hope these tips will help you!