Children start developing independence from their parents at an early age. First they learn to walk and talk, then they are off to school making friends of their own, and before a loving parent can blink, they are teenagers heading out into the big world alone. Teens are taking trips overseas, across the country, or even just a few hours away.
While life experience is important, this can be an agonizing experience for parents, who know how dangerous the world can be. It’s important to arm teenagers with the necessary knowledge and skills to survive when traveling alone, or with a group of other teens.
Parents can rest assured that at least they know where their son or daughter is on any given day of the trip by having a detailed itinerary. It should include the names, addresses, and phone numbers of where the teens are staying, as well as any other important information, such as special activities the teens are participating in.
Teens and parents should set up regularly scheduled check-in times to put parents at ease. If teens are hesitant to call home every day, perhaps they can agree on sending an email or text on a regular basis.
Stay with a Buddy
Traveling alone can make an easy target out of a teen. They should always stay with a group, or at least one other friend. They should especially avoid being out and about alone at night.
Stick to Populated Areas
There is safety in numbers. Teens should always stay in the busy, populated areas where they can easily get help if necessary.
Know Traffic Safety
Traffic rules and regulations are often quite different in other countries. While this can provide a bit of entertainment for teens, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Teenagers need to make sure they know and understand the traffic rules in the area where they are traveling to avoid pedestrian or traffic accidents.
Bring Medical History
Teens should always travel with a detailed medical history. Information should include name, address, insurance and medication information, blood type, and any other pertinent medical information that would be helpful during a medical emergency.
Know Local Laws
Teenagers should be taught to know and respect the laws of the place they are visiting. Perhaps public rudeness and vulgarity is frowned upon, or hitchhiking is permitted.
Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
It is never a good idea to consume drugs or alcohol while traveling. These things can directly affect good judgment, and lead to a whole host of dangers and problems for teen travel.
Don’t Talk to Strangers
They learned it when they were in preschool, and it still applies today. Teens should never get overly friendly with strangers by telling them where they are staying, or letting them in on other personal information.
Leave Valuables Behind
When out for the day, teens should bring only the amount of cash that they will need with them and leave the rest in a hotel safe.
Whether your teenager is jetting off to Europe, or just attending a teen summer camp, they must be prepared to take care of themselves.