Your Teen Is Traveling Alone: What You Ought to Know

What do you need to know when your teen is traveling alone? Check out our tips for preparing for their first journey without you!

“Why would you let your teen travel alone?” This is what I got from my mom few weeks ago when my son was about to travel from Montreal To California by himself. He was going to pay a visit to some family members over there. Of course having my teen traveling by himself for the first time got me worried and some sleepless nights. But there is a first time for everything and we need to be prepared for that.

My husband who is always on the cool side was not worried at all (or managed to hide it). I was worried sick and was pouring instructions to him for weeks: don’t do this, do that, call me every 5 minutes, don’t talk to strangers.. Until he was no longer listening. But I managed to fill his head with the following instructions and he managed to listen to all of them (or almost). Because it was his first time, I also managed to get some things prepared for him. So moms and dads, here is what you ought to know when your teen is traveling alone, for the first time.

Related: 15 Tips For Family Travelers

What You Need to Know When Your Teen is Traveling Alone

You will be scared to death and that’s ok!

I could not sleep the nights before. I was not scared he would get lost because he knew the drills and he was mature enough. But I was scared he would lose his carry on or passport, miss the flight. All kinds of scared!

Make 2 copies of his passport: 

One for your records to keep and one for him in case. This is good advice for anyone traveling, not just for when your teen is traveling alone.

Give him money

He will be on his own so he will need money to eat or for incidentals. We also gave him a prepaid card because sometimes cash is not accepted.

Get him a cellphone

For his safety and your sanity. He had to text me or call every step: when you cross security, you board, etc. Ask him to follow up during all those steps so you know he’s safe and sound.

Help  him with his suitcase but don’t overdo

Let him pack but give him instructions on what to pack. Just check up. Your teen will be on his own so he needs to take care of his belongings.

Related: 6 Travel Accessories You Absolutely NEED

Consider travel assistance

It costs around $100 and the travel agent almost laughed at me. My son is almost 6 feet and taller than her but if you feel comfortable, book it. With this, an airline official escorts your teen to and from the gates in the airport. You might want to consider it if your teen is traveling alone with several layovers and gate changes.

Give him instructions

Don’t talk to strangers, don’t leave your luggage unattended, don’t accept things from strangers. This is the only time I asked him to be almost impolite: don’t answer strangers, don’t help. Just go to your gate and stay there. Talk only to officials in uniform. Better be safe than sorry.

Have faith in him

My child is used to commuting for school so I was confident…or almost. Even if your child never traveled, he will surprise you with how well he handles it!

Think of it as a lifetime experience

And it was. My son managed it well and I was proud of him. He was proud of himself too. It boosted his self esteem.

When your teen is traveling along, it’s definitely a worrisome experience. That’s totally natural. We’re hardwired to worry about our children every time they’re out of our sight! Just keep these tips in mind and remember, millions of people travel every day without incident.

Do you have any other tips or things parents ought to know when your teen is traveling alone? Share in the comments.


12 thoughts on “Your Teen Is Traveling Alone: What You Ought to Know”

  1. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    Living in Europe my children were used to travelling alone from one country to another to visit relatives. I do think that as a parent you always worry about your children. My 7 are all adults, the youngest already 23 and they live scattered across 3 continents and though all are adults I still worry about them from time to time. Thankfully we are close knit and stay in daily contact through What’s app with texts, photos, videos and verbal communication. :-)

  2. My kids are still way young for this but I’ll be honest… It scares me. The world today is nothing to get excited about especially if they go alone. Hopefully if my kiddos travel they go with friends because I’ll be a wreck the whole time. This is some great info!

  3. My mom doesn’t let me travel alone; she doesn’t let me drive alone as well. But, I will keep these advices in mind once I have my own child. I know that it’s hard for you to not think about of your child when he’s away, especially on a trip, that you won’t be able to sleep unless he sends you message or hear his voice.

    “Don’t leave your luggage and accept things from strangers” is #1, especially in airports. Watching the news made me paranoid.

    From experience, I think parents will always be worried about their child unless they are together. :)

  4. It’s always difficult for us when our kids have to do something alone, especially if it involves going to a different place. I’m a worry-freak so it helps if I’m constantly updated. These tips are so useful.

  5. Oh, I am a nervous wreck whenever my kids travel alone. My heart is pounding in my chest when it takes a while for them to return a text message. My kids are responsible young adults and I know I should not be feeling this way. I guess they are still my babies in my eyes.

  6. Great advice Olfa.

    I get so nervous when my kids travel. I get all kinds of thoughts like missing a flight or losing their ID. Then I get crazy thoughts about the flight and forget it, I’m a ball of nerves until I hear from them. :)

    Passing this along to share with other parents. Hope you’re having a great week!


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