How can I take my anxious teenager on holiday? Top 10 Travel Goals 2019

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Ideas to take a mentally ill person on a family holiday. Image description: Family in silhouette on a hill, and 2 girls in hoodies stare out at waves on the sea plus blog title.If you are following my Instagram you’ll know we had to cancel our travel plans last year because Fizz fell ill during her GCSEs. With stress eating away at her appetite, her weight dropped much too low. As her health has taken a battering, normal life is on hold. Can we find the right kind of family holiday for the whole family, to include our child with delicate mental health?

At the moment I can’t take my anxious teenager on holiday, she is far too unwell. But she will get better and we all love our family travel. We were not sure how to dream of a 2019 holiday at all, but after some thought, we have some new ideas. From this list of our 10 travel goals for 2019 we hope to find something that works for us.

I’ve made our ideas into a list of tips for travelling with anxiety. To plan a vacation for people with anxiety disorder or other mental illness is tricky. Perhaps these travel goals will help you plan a holiday with an anxious child or family member.

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: grassy path through summer fields, Yorkshire.1. Holiday with relatives

This practical tip for travelling with anxiety means a warm welcome is guaranteed. Staying at their home, exploring their local area is easy to do. Perhaps we’ll start with a visit to relatives before moving on to other holiday accommodation, if everyone feels well enough. The other idea is to take a few extended family with us on our travels. The right relatives can be moral support, a positive distraction and practical help too.

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: large french country villa with pool from Clickstay.

2. Book a Private property

It should be easier for a highly sensitive person to survive a family holiday if there’s good privacy. Making sure the family has personal space will keep things calmer. A villa or cottage holiday with few neighbours is the best choice. I might manage to take my anxious teenager on holiday but then she might not be keen to leave the villa. So we should pick a comfortable one, like this cottage-style villa in France above. A garden and a view is better than an apartment near the attractions. As we like to swim, a private swimming pool is a good idea for a child with anxiety.

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: view on a motorway.3. A self drive holiday

We can travel in the family car to avoid crowds in airports, planes, ferries and trains. If we can cross the channel then Eurotunnel is a preferred choice for now. That’s because there’s no mingling with crowds to test my child’s mental health. Using the tunnel, travellers can stay with the car. Whether we stay in the UK or go a little further it’s handy to have the car with us on arrival. Once we get to our destination, we can use our car to get out and see the countryside, to viewpoints and scenic drives. It means we can still have the familiar private space of the car with us, to ease anxiety.

Please follow this link – Driving Routes to France from the UK, Your Options – for an in-depth post about planning routes to the continent.

4. Self-catering 

Even though I don’t fancy doing much cooking on holiday, I am used to it. Food has always been an issue for us. Thankfully my husband is around to help more when we travel as a family. An anxious person might need her most familiar food, and perhaps the chance to snack and eat at irregular times as well. Food is an important part of a steady routine. It may be best to limit disruption and keep meals as normal as possible.

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: 2 girls in hoodies and rolled-up trousers stare out at waves on the sea.5. Out of season 

We’d like to take our anxious teenager on holiday in low or mid-season to avoid the crowds. In low season it is not just the prices that are better. There are fewer people around and less noise and bustle. Perhaps on a good day we might make it out to see the sights with the advantage of shorter queues and less congestion.

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: large empty beach with blue sky and ripples.6. Short break

Most of us feel more relaxed as a vacation continues. An anxious teenager on holiday could easily find her worries increasing with time, because of being away from home. We can consider sticking to short trips of a few days. It will be enough to blow away the cobwebs and spend time together, without stretching things too far for our sensitive family traveller.

7. Short distance

While anxiety is in the mix, it’s not the time for an ambitious road trip around Iceland or a boat tour of Vietnam. We shouldn’t go too far. An anxious person will feel better knowing that home is short hop away, if it all becomes too much. Even if driving home early is the last thing we want to do, distance is unlikely to be something we want to gamble with.

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: view out of open patio doors, red furniture, mountains beyond.8. Get an anxious teenager away from it all

I would prefer to take our anxious teenager on holiday somewhere rural. Destinations with few people and crowds are a good choice now. We’ll forget the city break and the theme park and instead choose the rugged coast or the misty mountain. Somewhere with a view is nice, in case going out is too hard sometimes. England and Wales alone have 13 National Parks and 38 AONBs covering hills, coasts and historic sites such as ancient standing stones and Roman remains.

9. Boating holiday 

A private boating holiday has the advantage of personal space mixed with a gentle adventure. I love the idea of watching the world go by from the comfort of our private viewpoint inside the cabin or on deck. Canal boats and motor boats are good options. The Norfolk broads don’t have any locks, making the journey even simpler. Often people on boating holidays take their evening meals in waterside pubs. That might be a bit much for an anxious traveller. Meals on board are best planned ahead, as it’s a challenge to find shops with supplies and to cook in a small galley. In some ways it’s similar to a caravan holiday, but with the neighbours a lot further away and a better view.

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: view from the top of a motor boat on the Broads with windmill. 10. Go back to old haunts

Familiarity is a good friend to an anxious teenager when on holiday. Many families like to go to the same place every year anyway, but as we have the travel bug, we prefer to explore new things. For now, we might keep those ambitions on the back burner and go back to somewhere we know a little already. We don’t want to add the pressure of new things to our child’s delicate mental health. Staying in the same accommodation is an idea, or at least a visit to the same sights.

Please follow this link – Itinerary Planning for Families; Hacks and Tips for Independent Travel – for guidance to get your own family holiday planned out.

I hope that if Fizz improves, these ideas for our 2019 family travel can give us the break we need. Have you ever taken a holiday with someone with special needs? I’d love it if you could tell me any travel tips and ideas in the comments!

Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Ideas to take a mentally ill person on a family holiday. Image description: Family in silhouette on a hill, and 2 girls in hoodies stare out at waves on the sea plus blog title.

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Ideas and tips for a vacation that’s suitable for sensitive people. Where could we take an anxious teenager or child on holiday? Plan calmer family travel. Image description: Silhouette of large family group on a hill with clouds.

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23 Comments

  1. 20th February 2019 / 3:29 pm

    Janet I am sorry to hear that your daughter has been suffering. My daughter is doing her GCSE’s this year and is a naturally anxious individual so I am crossing my fingers that she gets through it all unscathed. I have had experience of travelling with anxiety myself many years ago when my children were much younger and it certainly worked for me in the early stages to keep it simple, self-contained and close to home. Anxiety is such a crippling affliction and for those close to you can make little logical sense. I felt happier when I wasn’t being forced out of my comfort zone and I could take each day at a time until I felt I had it under control. I think it is wonderful that you are being so considerate of your daughter’s needs and not doing too much to soon and actually in all honesty those kind of holidays are always the ones that seem to have the most value anyway. Wishing you all the best for the year ahead and thank you so much for joining us. #TweensTeensBeyond

  2. 6th February 2019 / 3:58 pm

    I’m really sorry to read about your daughter Jan. That’s a worry for you all and I hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I totally understand how holidays can be a nightmare when someone in the family is feeling like this. I think we have probably all had experience of this in some way, shape or form. When our daughter was a little younger we had a few little problems on holiday. It was more of a staying safe in familiar surroundings and I wonder if that is more common than we first thought. The hormones and the growing up is a weird time and I guess we all travel more with our kids than our we did at their age. They also become so very self conscious. You’ve had some great ideas here, familiarity and keeping things simple often make for the best of times. Little things to look forward to and then achieving them can often help to overcome that doubt that can become all encompassing for them. I hope you find something suitable for all of you. I’m sure you will and I think the holiday is also a great time for having a good old chat about everything in a more chilled environment. Thanks for sharing with us at #tweensteensbeyond

  3. 6th February 2019 / 11:19 am

    In your situation i’d prefer out of season, near by and self catering to keep routines as similar as possible #tweensteensbeyond

    • 6th February 2019 / 1:48 pm

      Yes I think those are good choices for us.

  4. 27th January 2019 / 8:47 am

    We prefer self catering and out of season holidays too, it is so much quieter and you can do things at your own pace. Good Luck in the competition and I hope your daughter feels better soon xx

  5. 16th January 2019 / 8:18 pm

    This is a great post and I’m sure many families whose children have special needs will find it very helpful. You seem to have covered all options for getting a family holiday in this year. I do hope your daughter becomes well enough for you to enjoy some family time away together

    • 17th January 2019 / 11:54 am

      Thank you Cath, I hope we get there too.

  6. 16th January 2019 / 7:15 pm

    This is a really useful post, I suffer from anxiety & can totally relate to these when I’m having one of my bad spells. Staying with family is a lovely idea

    • 17th January 2019 / 11:55 am

      Staying with family won’t suit everybody but it is worth considering when times are hard I think.

  7. 16th January 2019 / 6:17 pm

    My eldest suffers terrible from anxiety when we go away. He doesn’t like visiting anywhere new and its takes him a long time to settle

    • 17th January 2019 / 11:56 am

      It’s hard isn’t it? There is a lot of this problem about, and I think most travel advertising glorifies adventure when actually we need renewal and recuperation.

  8. 16th January 2019 / 4:47 pm

    This is so useful, and helpful. It isn’t easy travelling when a child has anxiety. My son has SPD which can make him anxious at times. Thank you for sharing your experience and tips

    • 16th January 2019 / 5:13 pm

      I had to look that up. It does sound like it could be limiting, and I’m not surprised it makes him anxious. I hope your next holiday suits you and him well.

  9. 16th January 2019 / 2:10 pm

    Oh bless her, I really hope you manage to get away and have a wonderful time. Anxiety is really not a nice thing to have.

    • 17th January 2019 / 11:58 am

      Thanks Sonia, she does have her struggles at present.

  10. 16th January 2019 / 10:31 am

    I love these tips and they don’t just apply to teenagers. I much prefer to rent somewhere private and quiet for a few days so we don’t have to deal with all the noise and all the people. I have anxiety and self catering is another big yes from me.

    • 16th January 2019 / 10:54 am

      It’s true they don’t just apply to teenagers but they’re born of our own experience. I hope a wide range of people will find them useful. That would be good!

  11. 16th January 2019 / 7:50 am

    I feel for this post so much. I was that anxious teenager, especially when it came to traveling and holidays. Sadly it’s followed me into adulthood since it was never tackled correctly. I’m definitely better and can go on holiday now but I have panic attacks the inter time and am constantly sick. But I’ve definitely got better with each visit.
    I’m not sure how old your teenager is, 16ish I assume if she’s done GCSE’s. This isn’t for everyone but it helped me massively, diazepam. Mostly the the thought of it being there with me ‘just incase’, like my safety net.
    Caitylis x x

    • 16th January 2019 / 8:16 am

      I’m sorry you have found it a struggle, and I totally get the need for something to feel like a safety net, whether it’s medicine or some kind of practical arrangement like not being far from home. I hope your next trip goes well!

  12. 15th January 2019 / 12:38 pm

    Brilliant ideas. Ideas that I am sure a lot of children would actually prefer. Anxiety is so hard on people, I do hope your daughter starts to feel much better soon, exam stress is so hard on them.

    • 15th January 2019 / 12:45 pm

      Anxiety can really dominate over family plans so I hope this helps someone, as well as us! Thanks.

  13. 15th January 2019 / 9:14 am

    These are great tips! Although I don’t have a teenager I am anxious myself and I find going back to familiar places very reassuring 🙂

    • 15th January 2019 / 10:30 am

      Thanks! Going back to familiar places is different to our normal type of travel but as we’ve been to lots of destinations already I think we will have enough choice.

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