Traveling as a family is truly amazing, but it’s inevitable that your teen will want to travel alone sooner or later. When this opportunity comes, make sure to rejoice—it’s a first step towards becoming an adult. However, just for your peace of mind, make sure your teen is prepared for their solo adventure to the fullest. Here’s what to pay attention to.
Start with smart packing
Traveling light is the key to comfort and practicality, but having a few extra comforts will make any trip more pleasurable. Ensure you pack their bags according to the local climate and culture. Always pack an extra shirt, an extra pair of socks and underwear, and the second pair of shoes. A headscarf and a long skirt for girls might be required for some worship sites. When traveling to tropical destinations, packing a flashlight, wet wipes and some insect repellent is also a great idea.
Talk about safety
The more your child travels, the more mature and responsible they will become, but for their first solo trip, you definitely need to have a talk about personal safety. Show them what to do if they get lost, how to use ATMs discreetly, how to keep money and documents safe and how to spot dangerous situations. You can come up with a few scenarios and quiz them by asking ‘what if’ questions.
Ensure they have safe and comfy accommodation
No matter how grownup your kids think they are, they will probably miss home, especially the comfort it provides. So, make sure your teen has comfortable and safe accommodation. This is especially crucial in far-away destinations, such as China, and longer stays. Luckily, if you do some research, you can always find accommodation that provides all the comforts of their home. You can book a comfortable service apartment in Hong Kong and your kid can expect accommodation with a long list of added benefits, even housekeeping and linen change. This is perfect for teens that are just getting used to doing things alone, so they won’t have any safety and cleanliness issues.
Pack some spending money
Your kid will definitely need some money, but ensure they are not taking too much. It’s always smart to give them a debit card or a pre-paid credit card since these are the easiest to handle and most places in the world take plastics today. However, even if your kid is having a short vacation in a developed destination, some cash will still be necessary. It’s best to exchange a small amount of cash into local currency for laundromats, coffee shops, street food and similar spots.
Think about health
Oftentimes, you don’t even want to think about all the medical emergencies that might happen during your kid’s trip, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure they have good access to a doctor and type out their health history (chronic conditions, past surgeries, medication they take, allergies as well as emergency contacts and health insurance account numbers).
Also, every single human can benefit from some basic first aid training, especially teens traveling abroad. Hopefully, they won’t need any info they learn about CPR, but knowing some basic wound care might come in handy, unfortunately. Also, traveling to certain countries requires vaccination, many of which need a few weeks to start working their magic. Getting a tetanus booster is also a good idea. Preparing for gastrointestinal issues by packing antibiotics and probiotics might also be smart.
Follow them on social media
It’s easier to stay in touch with your kid today than ever before, but make sure to establish a rule on how and how often you’ll be communicating. If they don’t have internet access, one short call or massage a day is more than enough. If your kid has a habit of posting stuff online, make sure to follow them on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snap Chat). These will not only show you that your kid is safe but also offer insight into their activities and whereabouts. Knowing that they are having fun will also make you feel a lot better about your decision to let them go.
Get them a power bank
If you expect your kid to touch base at least once a day or post on social media, make sure to remind them to charge their phones regularly. You don’t want them to be without their phone in case of an emergency. While most places have an outlet for them to use, it might be a smart idea to invest in a power bank that will come in handy during excursions or longer flights and bus rides.
If you arm your teen with well-packed luggage and plenty of safety tips, you can be sure they will have a fun, comfortable and safe first solo trip. Just expect them to start planning their next adventure as soon as they come home!