Author: Yael Gal @Yael_gal_the_dream_ocean
Assuming you're a sea-loving family, and you're up to some adventures.
Hey, as parents, you even manage to maintain a good-enough communicative relationships with your adolescent monsters…
Planning a 1-2 week sailing vacation with teenagers requires some out-of-the-box thinking, with attention to this generation's needs.
So what do teenagers need?
- Staying connected
- Being part of a selected team
- Feeling essential
- Knowing their needs are seen
Of course, they have many many more needs, such as having someone to keep telling them how great they look, or to shout at (with no particular reason, just 'cause you're there), and - not to mention- clear access to this person(s) credit card…
But let's stay focused… Your main goal as their parents (I mean, besides actually surviving this adventure…) still remains spending time TOGETHER. And, goes without saying, truly enjoy this quality time, and collect many memories for the next generations.
HOW ON EARTH?
As an experienced parent, you should already know, that joining them is much more rewarding than beating…
Under "join the enemy" title you should consider doing the following:
#1 Staying in touch with the world
Yeah, you may want to disconnect, still they might disagree with you (hello, welcome to the world of parenting!), so-
· Buying a local sim-card, that will provide an online connection almost everywhere, or purchasing an internet package in your homeland.
· Charging of smartphones and laptops- Take a portable charger and most important-a car assembly charger + USB connector, that will be most useful for charging while you're out at sea, using the DC electric supply on board (https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-Cell-Phones-Accessories-Phone-Car-Chargers/zgbs/wireless/2407770011 )
· Waterproof smartphone case (https://www.lifewire.com/best-waterproof-phone-cases-4158190), some cases will also have a floating devise for deep-sea rescue, and will allow using the smartphone for underwater photography, so your guys can upload their coolest stories in real-time to social media.
· Music on board- suggest your teenagers to download their favorite playlists, so they don't have to depend on internet connection.
DO "the talk"- Define time-off- Having said all the above, you as parents may still want to define certain times as "wifi-free". Being offline may be inevitable, due to the nature of this vacation (some destinations may be internet free anyway), yet this subject is worth talking about.
#2 Let them play a major role
In everything! They need to feel adults, so why not let them?
Frankly, it will take some load off of you.
· Plan your estimated route, paying attention to local attractions, such as blue caves, interesting snorkeling sites, recommended beaches, sea-sports rental shops, local markets, favorite tavernas and in-land must-sees. Open a marine weather forecast websites, and show them how to use the information, planning the route accordingly.
· Train them to be your sailing crew (in case you skipper your charter boat) - Assuming you sail as a routine, you may want to train your grown-up kids to be an active sailing crew. Take them out for short sails, and practice sailing methods, safety regulations, and team work.
In addition, decide in advance who your no.2 crew is, and adjoin him/her to the boat check-in process upon arrival. You could really use another crew member, who knows how to shut down electricity, and the location of all emergency equipment.
Another role may be the navigator, who's in charge of programming each day's sailing route into the chart plotter.
For the younger aged you may give the important job of checking the fresh water and battery charger gauges once a day.
In time, it will prove to be a stress-relief factor for you as a main skipper. And also, will let them be more responsible, and feel much more essential.
…Which is basically what we all need…
#3 Getting to the real stuff…Food on board
Most charter companies offer food provision order in advance. This lets you plan your on-board menu for the week.
Make your food provisioning list together with your teenagers
First of all, they are the main customers… the amount of food consumption of those man-eaters is unbelievable. And you really want to keep them happy...
Second, it's a great opportunity for them to take responsibility-
For example, let them decide on this week's breakfast menu, or plan an on-board family dinner, that is completely their project- including menu planning, cooking, dish-washing, and moreover - plan this evening's social activity.
Trust us, those experiences are the most memorable.
#4 Leave room for adventure
Hell, why not???
They feel daring, grown-up, and spontaneous. You're perceived as the coolest parents ever. Everybody wins!
· Sleep on the outer deck - Sailing the Mediterranean during mid-summer? Take a few sleeping bags and let them sleep outside.
· Go for an overnight anchorage, with no power connection, and no marina in sight, will promise you an evening of family togetherness under starry skies.
· Go dingy-exploring- Dingy is great for difficult approach sites. Plus, it's fun! Anchored on a remote bay? Take them on a dingy quest "where no one has gone before"- land on a hidden lagoon, and get lost… Some great findings await.
· Search for blue caves- Some sailing areas, such as the Greek islands or Croatia are loaded with those hidden gems.
· Rent a paddle board (SUP) for the week – to open more options of enjoying the water.
The bottom line
Turn this vacation into an opportunity –Get closer to your teenagers, by seeing the world from their point of view, being less strict and uptight (We know, you're not that uptight, whatever…) and also earning some extra points as a parent.
Have a Great Journey!!!
The Genius list!
Bring In advance:
Car charger+ USB connector
Waterproof smartphone case
Training your crew, and defining roles
Food provision order
2-3 sleeping bags
Order 1-2 Paddle board (SUP)
Social game for the entire family
Upon boat check-in:
Do "the talk"- agree on Wi-Fi free times
Food shopping at the local supermarket