How to Prepare Your Kids for Their First Solo Trip

a child sitting alone in an airport

The problem with adult life is that we need to work hard, and we don’t have much time for rest. It’s great when you can afford to go on vacation several times a year, but many have the opportunity to go abroad only once a year.

However, while our children are studying, they have many long holidays. You may not always be with them to go somewhere for a long time. Leaving children at home is also not always the best option, especially if they will be at home all by themselves for a long time. Therefore, you may consider sending your child on a school trip abroad or sending them to relatives who are in another city or another country.

Parents do not always have the opportunity to take their children to their destination. Therefore, if you feel that your children are old enough, then you can send them on a solo trip. It can be hard, especially for parents. You need to prepare for the fact that there will be no one next to them who could look after them during the flight, bus, or train trip.

If you decide to take such a step, you should take care of some things. However, the most important thing is that your child is mentally prepared to travel without parents.

This post is part of our family travel advice series

Is your child ready for a solo trip?

There is no certain understanding of how old your child should be to go on their first solo trip. Age is not always a clear indicator of travel readiness. Your children can be 8-10 years old and act much more mature than 16-year-olds.

Each child is unique. Parents should soberly assess whether their children are ready for a trip without their parents. If your child behaves maturely and responsibly and can be resourceful in different situations, this is a great sign of readiness. In addition, you should understand whether you can just let your child go alone on a long journey.

Child alone on a trip reading a map

Things you should take care of before they travel

Check the validity of the passport and make a visa

If you are going to send your children not to another city, but to another country to relatives, then you should make sure that their official documents are in order. First of all, check when your child’s passport expires.

If there are a couple of months or weeks left before the expiration date of the document, you should deal with this issue in advance. Sign up for a passport reissue and also go to the nearest place where you can take a photo. Also, depending on where your kids are going, check if they need a visa to cross the border.

Give instructions 

Your child may not always be able to figure out how to behave in a given situation quickly. However, your task as a parent is to prepare them for all sorts of difficulties.

If your children need to fly alone and then be met by their grandparents, you should talk about how to behave at the airport and while flying on an airplane. In addition, you should make sure in advance whether your child is allowed to fly on an airplane alone. Each airline has its own rules and age restrictions (generally speaking, five years old is the minimum age to fly as an unaccompanied minor).

Your children will feel more confident if you give them corrective instructions. They will know where to go, who to contact and what to do. For your peace of mind, you can purchase a smartwatch for your kids with GPS tracking to know where your kids are.

a tween child on a plane holding a phone

Make a detailed plan

In a moment of confusion, your children may forget everything you have told them before. So, just in case, you should write down all the most important information on paper. Write down the following:

  • Everything related to the flight or trip. Write the flight or bus number, the start time of the trip, and the approximate time of boarding or arrival;
  • Indicate the mobile phone numbers of your relatives who will meet your children at the destination. Also, make sure their contact details are recorded on their smartphones.

You can also write down any other information you see fit. If your children cannot contact you, they will be able to read what they have written on paper. Also, don’t forget to charge their phones beforehand.

A child running up to their grandparent for a cuddle

Learn about insurance and the medical consent form

When going on a trip, each person needs to take care of insurance. Depending on various factors, types of insurance may vary. If your child goes on their first solo trip, you may need a different type of insurance.

Because of this, you should check with an insurance agent or company to find out in advance what you need. This is not a standard case, so you should be aware of how you can keep your children safe. Make sure that such a document will cover exactly what you need.

Beyond that, you don’t know what might happen to your child’s health. In case of any problems, you will want your child to get medical attention quickly. In this case, if your children are visiting their grandparents, you should make sure that you give them the medical consent form. It must be notarized.

Conclusion

When it’s time for your kids to take their first solo trip, there are a lot of things you need to take care of. First of all, you should mentally prepare your children for different situations so that they know what to do. In addition, you should prepare all the necessary documents so that your children’s first solo trip is successful.


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A young girl at the airport with a yellow suitcase titled preparing your child for their first solo trip

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