Pros and Cons of Taking a 13 Year Old to New York City

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As the date of our trip to New York City gets closer, I start to wonder if I missed the boat with my daughter as far as her age. She was so different last year. Hormones have hit her and hit her hard and fast.

It makes me think back to when I was that age, and the trips I had to endure with my parents. I wasn’t a happy camper on some of those adventures. How is this going to be any different with my daughter when all I get these days is moody attitude?

We don’t speak about the trip much because I know she won’t be excited about it until the morning we leave. And we need to get through volleyball season, grade issues and 8th grade graduation, (that, she is very excited about). Plus, anything that doesn’t involve friends isn’t a topic of discussion around here.

Here is a list of pros and cons about taking a teenager on vacation. If you have any great pros that help you deal with this situation, I’d love to hear them to help keep me motivated and excited about taking this trip to New York City with my 13 year old daughter!


1. By 13 they are old enough to remember the adventure (that could be a con too, but let’s not go there)

2. Seeing other parts of the country or world is a great way to get them out of their “self-centeredness” for a while.

3. They might actually have fun and learn something.

4. They are old enough to participate in more activities.

5. You get them all to yourself!

6. Taking them without the whole family will be less stressful. Less arguing and more casual.

7. Remember that they are still your child even though it doesn’t feel like it at times, and you want to give them a great adventure that hopefully someday they will appreciate;)


1. You might get a lot of attitude.

2. You might hear “Why are we doing this” too much.

3. You might hear “Whatever” too much.

4. They don’t worship the ground you walk on, or think that everything you say is right.

5. You can’t hold their hand across town.

6. You might not be able to talk them in to going to the stores you want, that’s just not cool enough.

7. They might not have as much fun as you know that they are capable of having, (or admit that they are)

The best thing for us to do is relax and have fun. We’ll see.

Til next time –


(Kim has already accomplished her first big dream by traveling to New York with her teenage daughter June of 2009. She lost 20 pounds and overcame her intense dislike (do we say fear?) of flying to accomplish that dream. She rotated off the blog in February 2010, but still hangs out with 8 Women Dream.  You can find her in the comments section)

  • Daylin

    my mom (Dawnda) is totally right being that I was 13 a mere 9 years ago… let me tell you the attitude is a facade. At the time I hated the trips we went on (mostly cause they INSISTED ON DRIVING)but now all I can do is hope I can take my kids on awesome road trips too! Even if they’re to places like Idaho and Normangee, Texas…. even flights to Missouri aren’t out of the question :)

    Soo! The pro would be even if you GET the attitude, deep down shes having a blast and will admit it later how awesome it was.

  • Danelle

    Oooo . . . the end of the school year trip glitch is hard. Whether or not you can change the flight without penalties all depends on the airline and what kind of ticket you have. Call the airline right away and ask.

    Although my kids are little, I’m guessing that your daughter will lose the attitude quickly once you’re seeing all the sights and experiencing New York City. I traveled with my Dad alone at that age and absolutely cherish those memories. I love Dawnda’s idea about having “secrets” from the trip. We go to Tahoe 3 – 4 times a year and my little girl and I always do some special “girl things” while my son and Daddy do “boy things”. Makes it special for both of them and breaks up all the family time. I think you guys will have a great time!

    Veronica – I’d love to hear about your experiencs traveling the world with young kids. I’m ready to go everywhere but my husband is hesitant to go with our nearly 4 and 6 year old (the 4 year old has not proven herself to be the best traveler thus far). I’ve talked him into San Diego with the kids this summer and am feeling a lot of pressure to ensure that it goes smoothly.

  • Kim

    How about this? My daughter comes home and tells me that the middle school has decided after all that there will be an end of the year trip to Discovery Kingdom for the 8th grade class and guess where we will be? She doesn’t quite understand that I can’t change the flight so easily without penalties.

    Or can I? Does anyone know about flying?

  • Dawnda

    Like Catherine I think getting away from everyone else and being in such a new and big place will help kill the attitude.
    Also remember that it is okay to have things from this trip be a ‘secret’. For example, being in that swanky restaurant and laughing so hard the milk came out her nose rather than going down her throat. Things that she would find mortifying if her friends knew, the two of you will always be able to laugh about with no more than a wink or a nod. My example may not be the best but you get the idea.

  • Catherine

    Oh now I am missing that hand-holding across the street thing too. I can hear him when he was 5, “Mommy HOLD MY HAND!” Now he walks 30 feet behind me trying to act like he really isn’t with his mother.

    I think getting away with her will be a great adventure and hopefully will kill the attitude.

    Maybe there will be lots of cute boys to check out in New York…


  • Veronica

    I am only now beginning to travel without my children and I do not like it. I have been all over the world with my kids from the time they were very young, we keep it fun, I remember the trip isn’t all about me and I go into the stores and places they want to go. My experience is they mostly just want to stay on the beach and meet the local kids. Which probably isnt a good idea in New York. Go on line and find those exciting places that they can look forward to seeing.
    Good luck…