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Tips, Games, and Coping Strategies to Make Traveling with Teens a Breeze

Navigating the winter break presents distinctive challenges, particularly when teenagers are part of the equation. Questions arise, from managing constant adolescent hunger pangs to handling complex family dynamics.

In episode 137 of the Teen Life Podcast, we delve into effortless strategies for traveling with teens. Moreover, we explore what to do (and not to do) in coping with family dynamics. Plus, don’t overlook our savvy fast food tips that won’t strain your wallet.

What Do You Remember About Traveling as a Teenager?

Remember those road trips as a teen? The excitement, the boredom, the endless “are we there yet?” Sound familiar? 

A lot has changed about traveling since then, but the endless complaints and disgusted side glances are eternal. Fear not, we’ve got your back with some strategies and fun games to keep everyone engaged and the trip as smooth as possible.

Travel Tip #1: Double down on snacks

Before hitting the road, ensure your snack game is top-notch. Teens have insatiable appetites, especially on long journeys. Load up on their favorite munchies to keep the hunger pangs at bay. Granola bars, fruit, chips, and even some homemade treats can be a lifesaver when hunger strikes.

Travel Tip #2: Get everyone involved with car games

Here are a few of our favorites!

My Cows

Here’s a quirky game to keep things lively: Spot a group of cows and yell “My Cows” – claim your cows! But beware, passing a graveyard allows someone to retaliate by saying, “I kill your cows,” targeting your herd. Fortunately, passing a church revives your lost cows.

The Alphabet Game

Challenge your teens to find a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet in order. It’s a brain teaser that keeps everyone involved and thinking.


One person is the guesser and everyone else decides on a number between 1 and 10 without showing the guesser. The goal of the game is to get the guesser to understand the number by rating choices in different categories.

For example, the “secret” number is 4 and the guesser chooses the category “cars”, the person he/she calls on gives an example of a car that rates 4. The guesser decides how high on the scale it is and says the number out loud and says “fast food restaurant.” The next person names a fast food restaurant that rates 4. And so forth. When everyone has named one item, the guesser gives a final score. If it’s correct, they win!

Watch here to see it in action on TIkTok.

Name That Tune

A classic! Tune into the radio or a playlist, and have fun guessing the name of the song and the artist. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy some music together.

The Movie Game

Test your movie knowledge by naming films consecutively, starting each new title with the last letter of the previous one. It’s a game that can last the entire trip!

Icebreakers and Would You Rather

Engage your teens with fun icebreakers or intriguing “Would You Rather” questions. It’s a great way to spark conversations and create lasting memories.

Coping Strategies for Teens with Flight Anxiety

Flying can be daunting, especially for teens dealing with flight anxiety. Here are some helpful tips to ease their nerves:

Distractions during Takeoff and Landing

Encourage distractions like magazines, puzzles, or engaging conversations to divert their attention.

Tech-Free Alternatives: While technology is handy, suggest non-tech distractions like puzzles, books, or even drawing materials in case technology fails.

Noise-Canceling Headphones

These can work wonders in blocking out plane noises and creating a more serene atmosphere.

Chew Gum

Chewing gum can alleviate ear discomfort caused by changes in air pressure during takeoff and landing.

Preparation and Communication

Discuss expectations and the flight plan beforehand to ease their worries and uncertainties.

Make the most of travel to make memories.

No matter how you travel, you can make the most of your time together as a way to make memories and create a stronger family bond.

Whether your family is traveling or your extended family is coming to you during the holidays, you are probably dealing with people you don’t see very often.

Here are some ideas to help teens navigate family interactions with people they aren’t as close to:
  • DON’T force them to hug family. They can be polite, but their body, their choice.
  • Go over names ahead of time if they don’t know everyone.
  • Be willing to step in and save the day if they get cornered by a chatty relative.
  • Give them space if they need alone time or want to hang out with cousins instead of being around adults.
  • If extended family is in town for a while, let them invite a friend over or give them an afternoon away where they can go be with friends.
  • Let them plan something so they are excited about it too!

BONUS: Listen to the full episode for our top fast-food hacks of the season.

In this episode, we mentioned or used the following resources about traveling games and family dynamics.

Have a question?

If you have a question about something you heard or just want to give us some feedback, please leave us a comment below.  We would love to hear from you!

More Resources You Might Like

Taking the Stress out of Holiday Traditions
2023 Teen Christmas Gift Guide
Christmas Activities & New Movies

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Karlie Duke

Karlie Duke

Director of Communications

Tobin Hodges

Tobin Hodges

Program Director

Caleb Hatchett

Caleb Hatchett

Podcast Host

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