Top tips: Your teenager’s first independent holiday
The time has come – your son or daughter is preparing for their first independent holiday and you’re maybe just a little anxious about letting them go. It’s totally natural to worry about your child when they first adventure abroad without your companionship! But that doesn’t mean you need to spend the entirety of their break fretting and over-analyzing why they haven’t replied to your last text.
If your teenager’s venturing off with a group of friends, you can relax a little more – after all, you’ve been telling them there’s safety in numbers for years. If they’re travelling solo, it’s a little more unnerving – but they’re about to become so educated and independent, the worry is definitely worth it!
Thousands of teenagers go on holiday without their parents each year, and have a fantastic time! But to help you say goodbye as they venture off suitcase in hand, we’ve put together a few simple tips to put your mind at ease…
1- Help plan but don’t push
If your child’s at the early stages of holiday planning, it’s OK to get involved. Share any destination advice you have from personal experience and help them research where they want to go. Just make sure not to push your thoughts on them or try and dissuade them from doing something they’re incredibly passionate about. If you’re slightly involved, they’re more likely to take your advice and let you contribute ideas to their itinerary.
Once a destination is committed to, try and enjoy researching the area with them, pointing out the ‘boring’ aspects such as the nearest hospital and how long their airport transfer might take. If necessary, ensure they book all the vaccinations required for their travels. And remember, check their passport is in date. This seemingly massive detail can easily be missed and ruin departure day!
2- Swap numbers
If possible, it’s a great idea to swap numbers with the parents of your child’s travelling party. While your child might see this as intrusive and over-demanding, it won’t hurt to have at least one other parent’s contact details, just in case.
3- Emergency cash
You’re probably already planning on giving your child some spending money for their trip, but there’s no harm in having some emergency cash available for peace of mind. Either hide some away in their suitcase to reveal on arrival or have some in a bank account they can easily access abroad, with strict instruction it is for emergencies only. Make sure they’re phone is ready to use, problem free, whether that be by renewing a contract or topping up credit.
4- Don’t expect too much
A call at least once a day – it’s not too much to ask for, right? But once they’ve landed and are caught up in the excitement of being in a foreign country with no parents, it’s likely your child will neglect to keep this promise. Don’t get angry, just enforce that you need a regular response, even just a quick text daily, and hope they respect how much it can affect your day if they respond with all good news.
5- The boring stuff
It can’t be avoided – have the talk about safety, no matter how much they try and avoid it. Make sure they know what to do if things go wrong, how to deal with a bag, phone or passport going missing, how to not give in to peer-pressured holiday antics, how to call for an ambulance and any other risks you’re aware of.
If your teenager is going on a sun-drenched beach escape, make sure to talk through the dangers of sunstroke, burn and mixing alcohol with swimming – simply, it’s a no! Getting that perfect tan can easily ruin a holiday – make sure their sun cream is in date and is planned to be used!
If they’re hiring a car abroad, make sure you both read the small print of their hire quote, check for any bumps or scratches before driving and they understand the same driving rules apply abroad – stick to the speed limits and ensure all passengers are wearing a seatbelt.
6- Keep calm and carry on!
Remember your first holiday away from the ‘rents? Good or bad, you certainly came away from it wiser and more experienced! You’ve given your child the freedom to travel and they’re sure to come home thankful for the experience. Let them reap the rewards of travel and bring back memories, lessons learnt and a passion to see the world.