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Family holidays used to be fun, right? You could just go for a drive, sing in the car and they’d be laughing. Or pack up for a trip overseas, and they’d be excited to jump out of bed raring to go even before you… and then they hit the teenage years. Suddenly they have this invisible umbilical chord linking them to their mates, like a life line. Without them they cannot breathe and can barely exist. It doesn’t matter whether you are a few hours down the road or half-way around the world, it is like the end of the world to have to hang out with you and even move…. So the excitement of the tour can be dampened a tad bit!

To put it lightly Cuba can be a culture shock for an adult, let alone to a teenager. Lucky for me it was actually my older child’s idea to go there in the first instance (#winning!) But I don’t think he was ready for what was to come… So what helped us survive?

Structure of an organised tour

We have been to many places around the world, and I normally have an itinerary that we follow. On our last trip to Europe I gave up this idea and we just winged it each day. At the end of the trip they asked me never to do that again!

So it was a welcomed option to have someone plan our trip for us, where we could choose the duration we liked with the activities we liked and we just turned up. They knew each day what to prepare for. I didn’t have to think of what to do it was all prepared and we can look forward to each day with excitement.

The tours are designed so there are some activities and some free time… And having a family oriented tour guide also makes a world of a difference.

Don’t get upset if they don’t join the fun

Teenagers like to do their own things at times. So just because you have an afternoon of free time and you want to discover the art museum (not a chance they’d come!), or the dance parlour (pft!) or the craft markets doesn’t mean they want to join you. Sure, you are in another country! Yes, it is a whole new experience. But even if they don’t say it, it can be overwhelming for your teenager, so if they say they want to hang out in their room, let them. There’s no point on trying to force them to hang out with you, unless they are old enough to join in the mojito fun game.

Make sure they are set up with Wi-Fi

Remember that umbilical chord… the detachment pains become unbearable if they don’t get wi-fi connection at least to keep up with the rest of the crew. So in Cuba that means – STOCK UP ON WI-FI CARDS! Because, God help you if they run out on New Years day!… or any day really.

Wi-Fi cards can only be purchased in certain spots like at ETECSA and some hotels. So if you are out and about you may not be able to find any easily. Make sure you stock up on these in advance. Wi-Fi spots are easier to find.

Have backup power supply

Because you may get away with having no Wi-Fi for a little bit, but if they lose music, movies and games, you are in a whole world of pain! Make sure that you have power packs handy. These are great on the buses between towns and also if you happen to encounter a power outage in Cuba that can take several hours.

Feed them

I am sure you would have noticed that as they grew your food bill went up. That doesn’t stop on holidays. And unfortunately they may not be overly adventurous

when it comes to food. Lucky got you, Cuba has some of the ‘teen basic’ diet covered quite well – toasties, pizza and burgers are available nearly everywhere for the grand investment of around 3CUC! And buy double to keep them happy. They will eat it. If they like to snack normally, make sure you bring their fave snacks with you, as they are not easily available in Cuba Travel.