What to take

Last updated at 10:50 28 November 2001

Your teenager is perfectly capable of doing their own packing. A sense of involvement is vital, so you could try to get them to do their own washing and ironing as well, as long as they aren't likely to shrink everything!

Here are some things worth ensuring you have to make the holiday run more smoothly:

* Mobile phones, walkie-talkies or pagers. Communication is important if you are to give them the independence they crave. Most mobile phone networks can be switched to GSM, which will automatically link the mobile into the nearest foreign network. Contact your network provider for details

* Music is vitally important, and if they do not have their own Walkman or personal CD player, now may be a good time to invest in such a thing. This will keep them occupied on the journey and at the airport. Buy a set of portable speakers, then they can play their own music in your hotel or villa and create a "den" in which to hang out

* Make sure they take sensible clothing. It is quite possible that your teenage son will pack nothing but T-shirts when he needs warm jumpers for the evening, while your teenage daughter will pack no comfortable shoes for walking.

Make sure your daughter has some "respectable" cover-up clothing if you are going to a Muslim country, or any other country where it's the local custom for women to dress modestly

* Relevant outfits for sporting activities - these will be overlooked in the need to be fashionable at all times

* Lots of underwear - teenagers will just assume that the laundry fairy will be going with them on holiday

* Books and story tapes to keep them entertained

* Their personal copy of a map of where you are going

* A disposable camera, if they don't have their own, so they can take their own photographs, not just family snaps

* Snacks and drinks for the journey. Teenagers get through a phenomenal amount of food and need regular refuelling if they are not to become bad-tempered

* A laptop or hand-held computer (as long as you are not trekking in the Himalayas) upon which they can keep a journal of the holiday

* If you are travelling by car, their own duvet or pillow. Teenagers spend a lot of time asleep

* Relevant sporting equipment if you cannot hire it there, although it is rarely worth taking bikes on holiday in the UK - they will be available for hire

* A pack of cards. Teenagers can spend hours playing cards and it is something you can all do together in the evenings (if they aren't out at the disco)

* Beach toys like frisbees, badminton rackets and shuttlecocks, bat and ball are all good. Your teenager may roll their eyes in disapproval when they see you pack them, but will probably enjoy playing these 'childish' games once they're on holiday

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