Traveling with the kids is always fun, but there will come a time when your children want (or need) to travel alone. They may be going away on a school trip or a vacation with friends, or they might simply want to go backpacking and do volunteer work in a foreign country.
Preventing teens from traveling alone seldom works; the best way to handle the situation is to prepare them for their first solo trip. The tips we are about to cover in this article will help you do just that without a problem.
Before you go ahead and prepare your teen for the trip, it is necessary to sit down with them and have the talk. I’m talking about discussing details about the trip and other necessary subjects such as personal safety. Position yourself as a friend and talk about the trip in general before going into detail.
Positioning yourself as a friend is a great way to get your teen to open up about their plans for the trip. Try not to show a negative reaction and try to be supportive about your child’s first solo trip. You can accomplish so much more this way and you will get the information you need to stop worrying too.
Next, let your child know about basic safety measures and how you want them to carry themselves throughout the trip. Set boundaries and tell them about your travel experiences, particularly the mistakes you made on your first trips alone.
You can even set basic rules for your teen to follow (i.e. contacting you with their hotel room number and letting you know when they arrive at the destination), but try not to be too limiting. You want your teen’s first trip to be as enjoyable as it can be.
I find shopping to be a great way to break the ice and eliminate worries about the trip, so spend a day at the mall or take the time to browse through online catalogues with your kids. Buying new juniors swimsuits or picking up a new backpack for your teen’s first trip is both fun and emotionally rewarding.
You can also help them with packing. This is another great way to learn more about the trip and the activities they plan to do along the way. You likely have more travel experiences than them, so don’t hesitate to pitch in and provide suggestions about the best items to take along on the trip.
Similar to packing for your own trip, separate frequently used items from the rest. Make copies of the travel documents, and make sure your teen knows how to keep precious and important items safe during the trip. Most importantly, prepare an emergency kit (with cash, copies of travel documents, medications, and other key items) for your teen.
Depending on the nature of the trip, it may be necessary to get an itinerary in order. If your teen is traveling with their friends and not with the school, another important step to take is spending time working out on a travel itinerary. This is something they may have done already. If that is the case, you can simply review the itinerary and make small suggestions if necessary.
It is also a good idea to encourage your teen to be spontaneous during the trip. There will be many things to explore, especially if they’re visiting a new city or an entirely different country. Taking chances and being spontaneous are part of the joy of traveling after all.
The internet is filled with resources that can help your teen to plan their first solo trip to the last detail. Reviews, online travel planners, and travel apps are very handy to use. They can even install a couple of apps to help them find the best restaurants to try or activities to do once they arrive at their destination.
The Start of the Trip
Last, but certainly not least, make sure the start of your teen’s first solo trip is as pleasant and convenient as it can be. Take them to the airport, help them with their carry-ons and luggage, and don’t forget to at least say hi to their travel companions if possible.
Remind your teen about the safety measures you discussed previously and you will have nothing to worry about. It’s their first trip alone; they are bound to make mistakes. The most important thing is that they have fun and return home safely with a lot of stories to tell.