5 Tips for Visiting Italy with Teens

Most people thought we were pretty ambitious for planning an international trip with our teenagers for spring break. I love that we can give them the gift of travel. I think it makes the world a smaller place. {I've written often about the benefits of family travel!} But there are a few things that you should keep in mind, some tips per se, that will make traveling around Italy with teens more enjoyable. And one tip that will spare any of you any embarrassment and frustration as you see the sights. Here are my top 5 tips for visiting Italy with teens.

Colosseum picture with teen girl

5 Tips for Visiting Italy with Teens

Tiber river in Rome

Feed Them Often

When we travel as a family, we usually have a backpack full of supplies with us {snacks, water bottles, over the counter medicines}. However, many of the sights we were seeing didn't allow large bags and I didn't want to schlep a purse around. We also did a lot of reading about dressing like a tourist and not sticking out so you wouldn't be a target for theft, so the more we could leave behind the better. 

We could easily eat our way through Italy, and that actually seemed to keep one of my teens quite content, but that came at the price of not actually seeing any of the sights the others wanted to see. So feed those teens often, and eat well {not really a problem!}, packing snacks like they are toddlers if necessary! Or buying food {gelato!} that can be eaten as you wait in line will help keep teens content.
**We ate a lot of pizza and for those Americans seeking pepperoni pizza, you are going to be hard pressed to find it! Instead, order a margarita pizza with salami. The restaurants will know what you are talking about and your pepperoni loving teens will know what they are getting.

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Dress Appropriately

There are a lot of churches in Italy {Rome in particular} that have a strict dress code. It is enforced at St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican City and you will see signs about the dress code in every church you walk into in Italy, though a dress code may not be enforced. You could be waiting in line for hours to visit a church and then get stopped from entering if you aren't properly dressed. 

visiting italy with teens

Short skirts or dresses may be the style, and boys might not want to change out of their shorts on a hot summer day, but you must cover your shoulders {no tank tops}, no shorts, and no short skirts {skirts that fall below the knee are fine}. Jeans and t-shirts are just fine for your visit. 

Keep a light scarf handy to cover shoulders and plan a day or two for church visits if at all possible. I liked to pop into a church anytime I would see one, so make sure you are always prepared just in case. The churches are so nondescript from the outside, and the inside would just stun me every time! 

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Via di S Teodoro street in Rome

Rent a Home or Large Apartment

Teens need their space, especially when traveling with their family on vacation. Everyone is happier! This is something that is a non-negotiable for our family. Every kid has their own bed and if possible, we have at least two bathrooms. 

There are many benefits to having a kitchen as well, especially when you are planning meals for your family. But honestly, not cramming your whole family into a tiny hotel room will save your trip. Here is a beginners guide to booking a HomeAway rental

Start here to find a vacation rental in any destination all over the world!

the roman forum and Colosseum

Don't do Too Much

When we were planning our trip, there was a desire to see ALL.OF.THE.THINGS. We wanted to head north to Venice and then South to the coast and visit every place in between, but the reality of it is, everyone is happier if you don't try to cram everything in all at once. 

Teenagers want their downtime and they don't want every part of their vacation scheduled so keep that in mind when you plan your itinerary. Look at your trip as a chance to give them a taste and allow them the opportunity to return on their own when they are older. 

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traveling abroad with teens in Italy

Prepare for Early Wake Up Calls

Popular tourist destinations also mean lots of crowds, so in order to make everyone's visit more enjoyable, start early. {This was our secret to making the most of our visit to Rome!} This seems like the opposite of what most teens like, but if you go in with the expectation of early mornings, they are more easily able to handle this change in their normal routine.

If you just have one or two days you want to get an early start on your trip and you want to have a more laid back time, more power to you! Plan those early mornings at the beginning of your trip if possible when your family is adjusting to the new time zone and it will be less of an issue.

positano on the Amalfi coast

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Traveling abroad with your teens can be quite the adventure, but an adventure that will be well worth it with a little preparation and planning. Keep these 5 tips in mind when planning your visit to Italy, and you'll be well on your way to creating lasting family memories!

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