My husband and I have traveled internationally, but never with our kids. Now, our children are 19, 14, and 13, and the time has come to take a trip to Asia to visit my husband’s family. Our kids are a bit nervous and reticent, so here’s how we’re trying to get teens excited about an international trip. After all, this is an expensive visit for our family, so we want to make it as enjoyable as possible for the kids.
A Little Background
Admittedly, this trip would have been easier to take when our kids were younger. Now that they’re teens, several factors are leading to their worry and discomfort:
They’re Leaving Behind Friends
For teenagers, their friends are their most important priority, and leaving them, even for two weeks, is difficult. Our kids worry that they’ll miss something fun with friends when they’re gone and that they’ll miss their friends.
They Don’t Know the Language
Knowing that they’ll be immersed in a culture where they don’t know how to communicate is difficult. Their grandparents don’t speak English, so my husband must serve as a translator, which is challenging for him.
They’re Worried About Being Immersed in a Complete Foreign Environment
Along with the language barrier, they’re also worried about not understanding the new environment and being overwhelmed because it’s so different from the United States.
How to Get Teens Excited about an International Trip
We recognize why they’re nervous, so we’re trying our best to help ease their discomfort before we go. Here are the strategies we’re trying.
Find Activities They Want to Do
We combed through activities to do and made a list of the ones we thought most people would enjoy and fit our schedule and budget. Then, we sent the list to the kids so they could look through it.
Get Their Opinion
We had a family meeting, and every child got to pick one activity they wanted to do. Then, as a family, we chose the rest of the activities. This required some negotiation, but ultimately, we agreed on the sites we planned to visit. Getting the kids’ input helped them feel more excited and invested in the trip.
Practice the Language
We also have been practicing the language. My husband has been talking to us in Japanese, and we’re working on learning the 300 most commonly used words so we can communicate at an elementary level.
Try the Food
We’ve always eaten some Japanese food, but now we’re eating more types of Japanese food, so we’re familiar with them before we get there.
Taking an international vacation is expensive, but it can also be a great way to build memories as a family. We’re doing all we can to help get our teens excited about the trip. Otherwise, if they’re grumpy and miserable, we’ve wasted a lot of money rather than spent an enjoyable two weeks abroad.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.