I love the trips I have taken with teens over the last few years because hanging out with them 24/7 provides a unique insight into their relationships and daily patterns. I usually take a couple of books that we all take turns reading for hours of discussion and arguments, but this time, because we were on a performing tour that including daily performances and rehearsals, just managing logistics kept us all busy. Germany and Austria I had never been to Europe and now understand why people sit on planes for 11+ hours to visit. History is so different there - and everything revolves around that history! My family, along with 25 other girls between the ages of 11 and 15, and 14 other adults - assorted parents, three teachers, a tour guide, and a driver - visited Munich, Salzburg, and Vienna while the middle school choir and combined orchestra performed in some amazing churches and assorted other venues.
I have to say that hearing these young women perform was amazing - that they had dedicated so many hours to singing and playing an instrument, at such young ages, was inspiring. The audiences were so appreciative and the girls were so proud of themselves. One man, in broken English, asked them to all sign his program, so when they were famous, he would have their signatures. Another person, left about $25 because it was too good to be free, and the girls, without a second thought, donated it to the monastery where we were staying.
I also learned a few things that I will pass on to you, without too much detail. First, when traveling with teens, carry a first aid kit that includes at least, itch cream, tylenol, eye drops, bandaids, Neosporin cream, sanitary products, and a sewing kit. Second, make sure that they know the cell phone number of the tour guide, and the name of the hotel they are staying in each night - in case they get lost (which did not happen to us - thank goodness)! Third, remind them at the end of every day what the next day holds, and any expectations you have about timing, cleaning or packing, and what they will need in their day packs. This includes reminding them to look in the room and bathroom before leaving the final time. Fourth, give them all a little list of phrases in the language spoken in the area that they can use to communicate, just in case. Finally, remember that teens need connection, and a "good night," and acknowledgment of their accomplishments of the day, goes a long way to alleviate any homesickness.