Best Tips for Travelling with Teenagers

Getting there is half the fun! Well, maybe not, but you can stack the cards in your favor by preparing yourself and your students for a long flight. Here are some helpful tips for making the journey a good start to a great trip!

  1. Pack light.The smaller and lighter the carry-on bag, the better. Remember, if they can stash their bags easily in an overhead compartment, they won’t have to give up valuable leg room or risk their stuff being trampled by their friends shuffling in and out of their seats.
  2. Dress comfortably. Also, suggest to your students that they dress in layers; that way they’ll be prepared whether the cabin is cold or hot. Thick socks or slippers are a great carry-on item so your students don’t have to wear their shoes for the entire flight!
  3. Start thinking in local time. Advance your watches to the time at your destination and try to eat and sleep accordingly. Even this little preparation will help with jet lag. To help get some z’s, bring an eye mask and ear plugs.
  4. Earphones are a must. Some airlines provide them; others don’t. It’s best if each student brings a pair of their own for watching movies and listening to music.
  5. Think snacks. Yes, the airlines serve meals for long flights, but a growing teenager is unlikely to feel satisfied with them or the miniature bags of pretzels served as snacks. Encourage students to bring healthy snacks, such as trail mix or fruit, so they will feel good and won’t suffer from spikes/dips in blood sugar levels. In case any travelers in your group have problems with the change in air pressure, bring gum. Mints are also a good idea for fresh breath!
  6. Stretch. Young people, like everyone else, will get restless if seated too long. Suggest that they take a short walk around the cabin every hour, in pairs or threes so as not to disturb other passengers. Lead them in discreet “seat exercises,” such as leaning forward and backward, turning their torsos left and right, and making small circles with their ankles.
  7. Reading material for all. Reading is a calm, productive way to pass the time in flight. Encourage every student to bring some kind of reading material: a book, a magazine, an eReader. Students can even create an impromptu study group by bringing along an assignment and helping each other.
  8. Journal the journey. The trip starts now! Ask your students to have a travel journal and pen in their carry-on bags and to start chronicling their adventures on the plane. The travel to your destination is also part of the experience.
  9. Encourage group bonding. Use meal time on the flight to chat with your group: tell an interesting story about the place you’re traveling to, share an anecdote from your personal travels (especially if you traveled when you were their age!), or, near the end of the flight, give them directions for what they’ll need to do immediately after getting off the plane. Ask them what they’re most excited about seeing.
  10. Play the cards in your deck. When your group is getting a little loud, hand out the passport information cards. There’s no reason to wait until landing to fill these out!

Whether this is your students’ first flight or they’re seasoned travelers, the experience of traveling together with peers, to a faraway place, is exhilarating. We know that new experiences and new ways to learn and grow are a huge part of travel—and these are not only waiting for them at your destination! Enjoy the ride.