Q. My friends and I were thinking of a mom/son trip in March. We would like to find something for a reasonable price that would be fun (and safe) for our 17-year-olds. Possibly an all-inclusive in Mexico or a cruise. Any ideas?
A. Either an all-inclusive resort in Mexico or a cruise could be terrific and relatively affordable. The key to determining the destination and having a successful trip is communication — with your teens, the moms and a travel agent.
Plenty of resorts and cruises cater to teens by offering teens-only clubs and activities such as rock climbing and skateboarding. Of course, that age-group can be difficult to please. Each mom should talk to her child about what he's looking for in a getaway.
Then its time for the moms to chat, both to exchange notes on their sons' wishes and to determine a few of their own. Does each mom want to have a dinner or do some activity alone with her child? Will the boys be able to go off on their own (legal drinking age is 18 in Mexico, 21 on cruises), what will curfew be and what will be the consequence should the teens miss it? How much is each willing to spend? Do you want adjoining rooms or a little distance? Set these parameters before departure, and there's a better chance your vacation will be tension-free.
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The Web is a great tool for exploring ideas. At www.startribune.com/a637, for instance, you can read suggestions for best cruises for teens. But I recommend you book using a local travel agent. Many have first-hand experience of a host of resorts and cruises, and they can help ensure a smooth trip, from getting your group adjoining seats on the plane to finding the right lodging upon your arrival.