A guest post by Jane Jewell
My family and I just recently took our first ever road trip to the mid-west region of the USA. Let me preface this by saying, this is also our first ever vacation as just a family of 4! Any other vacation we have been on has been with my extended family, or my parents, or my husband’s parents and family.
This was a such a fun “first” vacation for us! It was also the first time traveling that distance with a teenager and a preteen.
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We found out quickly, there are several differences between traveling with teenagers versus little children.
One thing we quickly learned on our first day of trip, is that we can’t just make quick stops anymore. Unlike trying to pose little children in front of a cool building (which can also take forever), your timing gets thrown way off when your teen is taking their own pictures.
They need to get just the perfect shot and the perfect angles. Especially if they are “into” photography and perfecting their skills. Besides getting the perfect shot for themselves, they need profile pictures for their various social media sites.
Our first stop was the Parthenon in Nashville. It is supposed to be an exact replica of the one that is in Greece. Really cool thing to see but was not on our plan. We knew our ultimate destination was to make it to the St. Louis Arch and then to our hotel in Springfield. But, since we were going right by it, we might as well stop and take a few pictures.
My husband and I took a few pictures, walked up to it, and then my husband and pre-teen son left to go back to the car. Meanwhile, my teenage son was having me take picture after picture of him posing in different positions.
What was supposed to be a quick stop took about 25 minutes!
We wanted him to enjoy this trip and remember it and wanted to encourage his photography hobby, so we obliged him and let him take his time. But we quickly realized, we were never going to be “on schedule” the entire trip!! At least he didn’t take out his tripod this time!
The day before, traveling to Nashville, he had his tripod out and his real camera and took 15 minutes to take a picture of a cool bridge. I took 3 or 4 pictures of the same bridge on my phone in less than a minute!! Haha!!
Patience is one of the harder fruits of the spirit for me to exhibit…and this trip was a lesson in learning to have patience and be flexible!
All our stops got accomplished, though a few stops definitely felt more rushed, and perhaps we would’ve had more time had we not had to wait for our teenage photographer to pose for various profile pictures everywhere we went!
Another thing we had to learn about traveling with teenagers was how to share one bathroom in the mornings. We figured out a routine and schedule, but it required sacrifice for sure. We were used to little children who took baths at night and in the morning just got up and threw on some clothes and were good to go.
Teenagers need “plenty” of time in the bathroom in the morning to shower and dress. So I had to get up earlier than normal to get in and out, I had to turn the light on near the door to do make up, while my son got in and showered, so that then my husband could get in the bathroom to take his shower. Not something we had thought about or considered before this trip. Thankfully, my pre-teen was still good with showers at night!
All in all, we had a wonderful trip and made lots of memories to last a lifetime.
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Now we know the next time we travel with teenagers we will need to plan a lot more time at stops for their picture taking. And I’ll have to plan for waking up at the crack of dawn to allow time for 4 people to shower and dress in one bathroom!
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Jane Jewell lives with her family in Charlotte, North Carolina and teaches preschool. She wrote Traveling with Teenagers after she learned some valuable lessons on their recent family vacation.