Five Tips for Parents Taking a Road Trip with a Teenager to NYC


New York City is a popular vacation destination. People fly in from all over the world to see and experience the Big Apple, but for those living in the United States, a road trip is also a great way to get to NYC.

Unfortunately, no matter how you get to the city, the trip can be a challenge. That’s especially the case if you’re traveling with a teen!

If you’re planning on spending hours in the car with a teenager, follow these tips and you can make sure your trip goes as smoothly, and is as enjoyable, as possible.

    • Let Them Take the Wheel

Practicing driving is important for teens. After taking a practice permit test online and passing the official test at the DMV, your child will be ready to hit the road. Why not let them hit the road while you’re traveling to NYC?

Students don’t always get a lot of practice on interstates and highways. Merging into traffic can be especially difficult. Helping them learn while you’re on vacation can really help. Not to mention, it can give them something to do to stave off the boredom that’s common with road trips, and it can give you a break!

Just be careful letting your teen drive in the city. Dealing with all the traffic and split-second decisions in an unfamiliar city can overwhelm new drivers. It’s a good idea to boot them to the backseat as soon as you approach the city limits, unless they are very experienced.

    • Bring Technology

There is a lot of advice out there about leaving your devices behind when going on vacation with children and teens. It’s true that there are a lot of fun car games you can play, but don’t torture yourself or your teen by making them leave their devices behind.

Allow everyone in the car to bring technology and devices that will make the road trip more pleasant. That might include:

  • Cell phones
  • Tablets
  • Laptop computers
  • Headphones
  • Car chargers

It doesn’t mean you can’t have limits on when and how much they use their devices, but having them means they can at least watch a movie in the backseat on the way there.

    • Let Them Have Some Control

Feeling like you’re in control is important to your mental health. It’s important to your teen’s mental health too. Unfortunately, they don’t always feel like they’re in control over their own lives.

A vacation to NYC is a great opportunity to allow your child to have some control by letting them choose some of the things you do while you’re there. Let them choose a restaurant they want to eat at for dinner, or let them choose the show they want to see afterwards.

You should also let them have control over what they pack. Help them make a list and make sure they don’t forget anything, but let them decide what clothes and items to bring.

    • Share Your Favorite Music

It’s easy to turn the radio station to music you like while your teen sits in the backseat with their headphones on. Instead, consider sharing your favorite music, and allow them to share their favorite music with you.

Not only is it fun to share your favorite songs with your children, you may discover that you enjoy some of the music they listen to. Even if you don’t, you can feel good knowing that children who listen to music with their parents have better relationships with the moms and dads.

    • Don’t Forget the Practical Things

Traveling with teens takes a good attitude and a unique approach to activity planning, but that doesn’t mean you can forget all the practical things that make going on a road trip easier.

Instead of relying on gas stations for snacks on the way, pack road trip snacks that you know your teen will like. This also enables you to pack healthy snacks that you probably won’t find at the gas station.

Another tip is to put a bag or small container in the car to use as a garbage can. Packing pillows and blankets is also a good idea if you will be leaving early, or if you’ll be on the road late.

Taking a road trip to NYC can be a lot of fun! It can even be fun if you’re traveling with a teenager. Follow these tips and you can make sure the time you spend in the car is a fun part of your vacation experience.