Letting Your Teen Travel…Without You
“Can I go, Mom and Dad?” You have a sinking feeling in your gut. You tell yourself to think before you answer. Your teenager just asked for permission to head on a trip…without you. Whether it’s organized through a school club or extracurricular organization, this is an inevitable right of passage: solo travel. Sure. You want your child to have adventures. But you want them to be safe, above all else.
Teen travel is a life changing event. If you have teens filled with wanderlust, check out these tips from The Traveling Mom to help ease your worry and ensure a fun, safe and memorable trip for your teens. As long as you do your homework, stay informed, and have a discussion with your partner or co-parent, once you make a decision and set some ground rules, let it go and have faith in your child.
Rule #1: Communication
Nightly check-ins. They must promise to call each night (or an established frequency). The key to a supportive mom is communication. You’ll sleep well knowing you’ve heard from them.
Rule #2: Research the Country in Question
Research the destination beforehand and find out which spots are definitely safe, and which aren’t. Establish any “no go” zones. You can even highlight them in red on maps, to ensure they do not accidentally end up in one of the sketchy areas.
Rule #3: One Drink
As is the case in many international countries, the drinking age might be lower than 21 as it is in the U.S., and ID checking is often random at best, so discuss your rules for drinking. Perhaps a “one drink” policy will work for your family. Talk openly about real-life consequences to drinking too much, particularly in a foreign country.
Rule #4: Curfew
Establish a curfew. This might be midnight the first few nights, so they can get a feel for the night life scene and the relative safety, or the relative danger, that accompanies it.
Rule #5: Rules for Mom
Place restrictions on you, as mama. This is their trip, their experience, without mom seemingly being there with them. For the most part, try to leave them alone. Don’t call multiple times per day, even though you might be dying to. Remember, you should hear from them nightly if you’ve set that ground rule.
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