Families Chillin' Caribbean Style | My Family Travels

FTF's annual teen travel writing scholarship reveals what teens are feeling about their latest family vacations in the Caribbean isles.

Just the word ‘Caribbean’ brings to mind warm sandy beaches and hammocks swinging gently under the bright sun. Relaxing on the beach all day, every day, sounds like teen Paradise. But how will you make this trip a memorable one for your teen? Whether you take a cruise or stay on one of the islands, there are a myriad of things to do besides lie on the beach.

Check out the five stories below for ideas on how to make this vacation one to remember.

In her rhetorically titled essay A Cruise in the Caribbean; What More Could You Ask For, Haley Otman gives parents good advice for taking teens on a cruise. She writes, “If you bring kids on your trip, buy them a pop card right when you get there. They run about twenty dollars, but let your kids have unlimited pop during the entire cruise.”

Ashton Munch describes how the opportunity to relax on their week-long Caribbean cruise helped bring her family closer. In her essay My Amazing Cruise, she writes, “It almost seemed like there was nothing in the world that could calm the storm. I’m not really sure what the turning point from madness to bliss was, but it was somewhere in between the amazing service, fun activities, and sandy white beaches in Cozumel.”

Axel Moore’s essay Roughing It describes the importance of flexibility in his family when deciding what ‘vacation’ means. He writes, “Most people view a ‘vacation’ the way my mother and sister see it, a chance to relax and get away from the relentlessly moving world. Well, my father and I have a different twist on what a vacation is to us.”

Abby Schwarz gets a look at the darker side of life when she volunteers in the Caribbean community of St. Vincent. Her essay Travel Can Change the World describes some of the disturbing things she saw beyond the sun, surf and sand, “I had always assumed everyone in the Caribbean was happy twenty-four hours a day — moving to the slow rhythm of island-life, Bob Marley’s ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ constantly playing in the background like some sort of soundtrack. This summer proved to me that things are not always the way they seem.”

Dominica Changing My Life describes how Jennifer Melroy’s experiences in the island of Dominica changed her future career aspirations. She writes, “For several weeks after getting back, I kept thinking about them. I began to think about getting my degree in biomedical engineering and designing prosthetics to help them.”

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