Parenting,  Travel

6 Things I Love About Road Trips With Teens


The kids checking out the new beachfront view in Seagrove.


We just got back from our third annual girls’ beach trip to 30A and every year I try to make a little upgrade. This year we stayed in beach side properties in Seagrove Beach, rather than across the street from the beach and it was a game changer! I loved being able to get up, roll out of bed, grab my coffee and walk down to the beach in just a couple of minutes. One thing that remains the same, however, is the fun had road tripping with my girls and their friends. Taking road trips with teens can be tons of fun provided no one gets too hangry (I’m including myself here).

 

Traveling with my girls and their friends (ranging in age from 14 to 17 1/2) was entertaining and energizing. It kept me on my toes and kept me laughing. Although I definitely have my mama moments of crying over pictures of the girls at the beach when they were little, there’s something to be said about the ease of traveling with older kids. There are no sippy cups, no swim diapers and no stopping for bathroom breaks every two hours!

When we’re at home doing our normal school and work routine we don’t get to interact the way we do while traveling. It’s a fun stage when they are becoming independent, but still rely on you. And you don’t have to listen to Kidz Bop any more.

6 things I love about road trips with teens


Belting out music, even if no one can sing. With teenagers we ended up singing (and sometimes shrieking) to the radio. It was great when everyone actually pulled their earbuds out of their ears so they could join in. I swear we listened to everything from classic rock to country to 80s hits to rap. They loved making fun of me when I thought I knew the words to Drake or Cardi B and I enjoyed schooling them on some of the songs from when I was their age, even if they are on the “classic” station now. I had some serious flashbacks to my own 80s Nashville to Florida road trips listening to the Steve Miller Band, Bryan Adams and Journey on my walkman.)

 

Sharing our love of caffeine. Our first stop on the drive out of Nashville was at Dunkin’ Donuts. Everyone fueled up on coffee and we all have our distinct favorites, from regular to iced to frappes.

Help with driving. This was the first year my older daughter, now 17, helped drive part of the way down to Florida. Now that was a treat although my incessant need to be a back seat driver kind of put a damper on things. I’m working on this, folks.

Few bathroom breaks. We were all on a united mission to get to the beach as quickly as possible and everyone has mature bladders. Mine is borderline, but I just made sure to not chug coffee the entire way down. The bladder is weak when you’re nearly 50, but the mind is willing. Mind over bladder is a thing, ya’ll. With toddlers and young kids you are either having to stop for frequent potty breaks or Pull Up changes. No one can hold it and no one can orchestrate bathroom breaks so everyone “does their business” efficiently. Basically you can add an hour to your road trip for potty breaks with kids ages 6 and younger.

No one needs quiet time for napping. My husband has a not so hilarious story about driving down to the Florida Panhandle to my dad’s condo (aka Papa’s Beach in Navarre Beach, Florida) when our older daughter was 2. We had heard it was a great idea (this should have been a parenting red flag) that the best time to drive to the beach with a toddler was nighttime. This proved to be hell on wheels for him because not only did Miss C nap and need quiet, but I also kept dozing off and turning down the radio. Teenagers can sleep through Armageddon. They can easily nod off while listening to “their” music so there is no need to have quiet time in the car and I could listen to “my” music on the radio while they napped.

The hilarious conversations. When the girls were little I remember packing all their favorite movies (Disney mostly) so they’d have plenty of entertainment during the drive. We had a portable DVD player with screens that strapped on to the back of the driver’s and front passenger’s seats. Now that they are teens we engage more in conversation, that is when we weren’t attempting to rap or belt out Bohemian Rhapsody. We had some great conversations and some of them were so hilarious I was nearly to the point of crying. All of us girls had a riveting conversation about all the celebrities we thought were attractive on the road trip home. We also talked about upcoming high school expectations for the younger teens, navigating friendships and more. When you’re in a car together for 7 plus hours you can’t help but actually have a few conversations.

While I miss my girls being little and dressing them in matching sundresses and flip flops with zero protest, having teenagers is a fun era of parenting with its own sweet moments. I hope to go on as many road trips as I can until they head off to college for another chapter in their lives (and mine!)

 

I'm Jamie, a 50-year-old Nashville working mom desperately seeking a few moments of Zen and zinfandel. I love to travel, find great deals, and talk with my hands. My husband and I have two daughters, three dogs, one cat and too much laundry. Email me at blondemomblog @ gmail.com.

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