How to Prepare Your Tween To Travel Alone

Tweens travel alone to visit family and friends, to go to summer camp or for special events. Whether flying solo or traveling with a group, knowing how to prepare your tween will make their trip go well. Learn the rules of flying as an unaccompanied minor, what safety issues to cover, what to pack and how to prevent home sickness.

My tween traveled to Kansas to visit her sister and brother-in-law this summer. Although she took a road trip with them, this is her first time traveling without me and her father. She is an anxious child and likes to maintain a routine, has health problems and is a picky eater. Preparing her to travel alone took time and lots of assurance.

Traveling Sisters

At a stop during the road trip

Have a Discussion with Your Tween

When preparing your tween to travel solo, don’t make the decision alone, talk it over with him first. Let him guide you about his level of comfort. If your tween is shy and finds it difficult to speak up about problems or ask questions, traveling alone may not work out. It doesn’t matter if he is visiting his grandparents who helped raise him or his best friend who just moved away. He just isn’t ready yet.

Learn the Rules

The rules for flying as an unaccompanied minor vary by airline and the services offered vary too.  A fee is charged each way  and sometimes connecting flights are not allowed. An adult must be there to pick up the minor and identification will be checked. When traveling with a group or to a group event, you will most likely sign paperwork allowing someone to be responsible for emergency health care, doctor visits, etc. But if your tween is visiting her someone, send along a notarized medical consent form.

Teach Safety Issues

Although you’ve been teaching your tween about stranger danger and other safety issues, it’s helpful to go over some of these rules again. Discuss some scenarios that might occur, both positive and negative. Talk about the importance of keeping money in a safe place, about not sharing personal information, and about seeking help even if it is about an uncomfortable situation.

What to Pack

Besides the normal clothing and boredom busters, pack a cell phone, spending money, a list of phone numbers (in case of a lost mobile phone), medications, a camera, and some type of photo ID (a student card, passport, safety card or travel id).

How to Prevent Homesickness

Easier said than done with some tweens, but phone calls or texting can prevent homesickness especially if you stay positive.  Sending a care package or letters may work. Speak to the adult who is caring for your tween first because too much interaction can create homesickness or make it worse.

My tween daughter is having the time of her life even though this is her first time traveling alone! She’s busy doing new things, playing with new friends, and seeing new sites. I prepared her well.

Has your tween traveled alone? How did he or she feel about it?

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Connie Roberts

Professional Blogger
Living in the Tampa Bay area, I'm lucky enough to see beautiful sunsets almost every day. Although life can be difficult at times, focusing on the positive and being with my family is what gets me through.

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  1. WOw thanks for sharing these great tips. It is hard when children have to travel without their parents but it sounds like she was very well prepared.
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  2. My girls are still young and haven’t ever traveled without me, but these are great tips.

  3. Great tips! Glad she’s having fun too.
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  4. We let our tween to go on a first overnight trip this spring, and it was so nerve wrecking… especially because it was in a different country and she didn’t even speak the language well. But it all went well, but we were more stressed than she was!!

  5. these are great tips. My kids are far off from that stage, but i always think it’ll probably be harder for me when the time comes 🙂

  6. Fantastic tips! I’m definitely going to have to keep these in mind as my kids travel without us. We have a long way until the tween years, but a lot of these tips would work for kids of any ages. Thanks!

  7. These are great tips! My daughter has taken a bus for camp twice and has flown to visit grandparents by herself – you’re right on the money with these tips!
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  8. I remember traveling with my cousin and aunt when I was a tween. My parents were a little worried about me. However, these tips are great for preparing for that. I think we might have followed most of them actually. I will add that we didn’t have national calling on my cell at the time, so we had to add it.
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  9. These are great tips. My daughter is a bit anxious at times and I can see that she would be nervous to take a trip like this as well. I’ll be sure to keep your tips in mind as she gets older.
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  10. Great tips! I’m not sure I could let Madison travel alone yet!
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  11. Great tips! My kids have been traveling with us and their grandparents since infancy. Aaron did his first foreign mission trip at 13 and at 16 he flew solo, booked and paid for his own tickets too for the first time to Indianapolis to volunteer his services to run sound for a weekend Christian charity concert event. My boys are both very confident travelers and even took a trip to Atlantafest together last month!
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  12. Paula Tavernie says:

    Talking with our children is the best way for them can be able to prepare in traveling alone. It is necessary to know if our children can be able to travel alone. Doing all those tips can really help our children prepare in traveling alone.

  13. Those are really great tips! Thanks for sharing them.

  14. make copies of their medical records and their medical cards and try to have extra meds just in case.
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