14 Mar The New York Times: Family Travel Unplugged
It’s annoying enough to police your children’s digital excesses at home. But precious vacation time being wasted as they socialize virtually instead of engaging in the moment is the bane of 21st-century parenting. Heeding parents’ frustrations, hotels and resorts have responded with adolescent-savvy programming that encourages real-world interaction.
After a day on the slopes, the BC<3t2 (Beaver Creek Loves Teens Too) program in Colorado kicks into gear (during the winter and spring seasons) with field trips in and around the resort: tubing at Vail’s Adventure Ridge, guided twilight snowshoeing, a class for ski and snowboard flips and stunts at the Anti-Gravity Center in nearby Edwards.
At family-run, all-inclusive Beaches resorts (Turks and Caicos, Negril, Ocho Rios), teens have their own spa menu, nightclub and games arcade complete with a Scratch D.J. Academy. This year, Island Impact is offering the chance to work with local children on reading and computer skills.
A daily newspaper outlines dedicated activities for the 13- to 17-year-old set at Aulani, a Disney resort in Hawaii. Aside from an extensive menu of water sports, there are youth-specific fitness classes and spa services (along with D.I.Y. product tutorials) at the Painted Sky Teen Spa.
Small group trekking adventures (parents tag along on these) to locales like Thailand, Peru, Costa Rica and Tanzania are a sure way to make children forget about Snapchat. Thomson Family Adventures offers active teen trips that focus on immersive culture: camping at an ancient Inca quarry, spending the afternoon with Masai teens.
Other properties like Half Moon Montego Bay in Jamaica, the Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Beach, Calif., and Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit in Mexico have tech-forward “chill zones” where teenagers convene over old- and new-school gaming. Counselors double as concierges and organize outdoor group experiences.