Although it may not always seem like it to their parents, teenagers aren’t only interested in hashtags, filters and the latest apps.
As our next generation of intrepid travellers, they’re itching to explore and venture into the unknown – and if they happen to get a few good Instagram posts out of it, well, all the better.
From high energy cities and blockbuster movie sets, to quirky vintage markets and adventure sports – the world is waiting.
We’re rounded up some of our top picks of where to travel with teenagers.
Any young fan of the Lord of the Rings film franchise will simply love heading out into New Zealand’s countryside. Get transported into the wilds of Middle Earth as you explore Hobbiton near Matamata, see Mount Ruapehu which stood in for Mount Doom, and visit Dart River and Paradise Forest where Isengard and Lothlorien scenes were filmed. You can also go on a Weta Cave workshop tour in Wellington where you’ll see some of the props and weapons created specially for the films. And of course, New Zealand is known for its outdoor adventure sports as well. Go zorbing, luging, bungee jumping and jet boating.
In England, the cities are where the adventure is at for teenagers. Head to London for vintage and alternative markets, and Royal tours or even a British etiquette class for the fun of it. Harry Potter fans will be eager to take a tour of the magical side of London – from Platform 9¾ at King’s Cross Station to Leadenhall Market, which was used as Diagon Alley. Manchester has a very young vibe thanks to the university, and teen travellers will enjoy the nightlife, trendy fashion, footballs and vinyl shops. The Lake and Peak Districts are also right on the doorstep for those eager to go hiking.
Paris is a young shopper’s dream, with endless boutiques and shops to browse. The adventurous will find things like a scavenger hunt in the Louvre to keep them energised. And if you’re heading to Spain or Italy there are a wide variety of cooking classes to inspire and enthral budding young chefs, not to mention Vespa or bike tours around quaint villages. Greece is the perfect place to spark young imaginations with its fascinating archaeological sites and age-old myths and legends. Plus, beautiful sunny weather means hours of fun on the beaches and in boats.
For unforgettable time spent with elephants, head to Northern Thailand. It’s also the perfect place for zip lining and white-water adventures. Patong might appeal to party-minded teens, while those looking for magic of wildlife spotting and snorkelling should aim for Borneo.
Another place that’s perfect for active youngsters is Vietnam. There are plenty of opportunities for caving, rappelling, zip lining, cycling, hiking and Vespa transfers between towns. North, Central and South Vietnam are all very different, which means that touring doesn’t get too boring. Discover the flavours of Hanoi with a delicious street food tour, explore the caves at Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, or cruise along the tree lined boulevards of Central Ho Chi Minh City on a classic motorcycle and sidecar.
Costa Rica is the ideal place for teenagers to spend time reconnecting with nature. There is ample opportunity to learn about sustainability, wildlife, ecosystems and rainforests. There are also loads of fun activities to keep everyone happy and interested, like white water rafting, zip lining, jungle hikes, waterfall rappelling, local farm trips and visiting volcanoes.
Beyond thrilling safari experiences complete with Big Five viewing and magical evenings spent beside watering holes, Southern Africa boasts plenty of activities for adventure-loving young travellers. At Victoria Falls you can go bungee jumping, zip lining, river rafting and even take a dip in the Devil’s Swimming Pool right on the edge of the mighty falls themselves
For the ultimate in extreme adventure, choose Iceland. Here you’ll find icy wilderness, red-hot lava fields and curious folklore. There is plenty of outdoor adventure to be had, whether you’re there in winter in the hopes of spotting the Northern Lights, or if you prefer to make the most of the long stretches of daylight in summer. Take breathtaking hikes through volcanic landscapes, venture into ice caves, kick up some powder on snowmobiles, or go snorkelling at the Silfra fissure, a crack between the North American and Eurasian continents.