Cincinnati Family Magazine

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July 21, 2024

Teen Safety While Traveling Alone

Teen Safety While Traveling Alone

Teen Safety While Traveling Alone 

Tips to keep your teen safe when you’re not around.

By Victoria Mikota


Your teenager may be heading off on their first solo vacation. This idea is enough to make some parents queasy. However, it doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. With the right tools and information, you can trust your teen to travel solo and stay safe. 


Safety in Numbers

If your teen is thinking about taking on their first solo trip, suggest they go with at least one other friend, but ideally a small group. Young people are most likely to stay safe and enjoy their travels if they travel with others. Remember, there is safety in numbers.


Get a Preloaded Credit Card

For teens traveling alone, you want to make sure they’re financially secure while they’re away from home. Carrying around too much cash can put your teen at risk. Instead, consider arranging a preloaded credit card for your teen. You can add a set amount of money to the card and should be able to add more in an emergency. Many of these types of cards have no foreign transaction fees or only minimal fees. 


Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol

In a perfect world, your teenager would not touch alcohol when they’re away on a trip. However, it’s important to be realistic about your teenager drinking alcohol while on a solo trip–where parental guidance is not around to be the voice of reason. It’s a good idea to talk about staying safe under the influence. Make sure they know not to get into a vehicle if the driver is impaired, swim in a pool if they’re impaired, or walk around a city alone at night.


Give the Sex Talk…Again

While it’s an uncomfortable conversation to have, it’s important to talk about sexual health with your teens who are going on vacation. This conversation is especially important to have with older teens who just graduated from high school or are in college. You can advise them to keep things platonic, but this isn’t something you can enforce. Talk to your teenager about the importance of situational awareness, not leaving drinks unattended, and enthusiastic consent. 


Keep Tabs On Your Teen

Most teens would probably groan at this suggestion, but parents should keep tabs on their whereabouts–at least for now. Apps like Life360 offer GPS location-sharing features that make it easy for your entire family to stay connected. Along with valuable elements such as location history and smart notifications, the Life360 app allows you to monitor key locations with place alerts. In addition, Apple gives users the ability to see their contacts’ locations at the click of a button through the Find My Friends feature. While this may feel like an invasion of privacy, tracking your teen’s location is an important way for you to make sure they’re safe while traveling alone. 


Establish an Itinerary

While you don’t have to know every single stop your teen makes during their solo travels, try to at least be in the know of what addresses your teen will frequent, and the dates they’ll be there. This is especially important if they’re heading to multiple locations during their trip. If you want, you can check in at certain times of the day as planned to ensure your teen is being safe while traveling.


Teach Your Teen Situational Awareness

As a teenager likely obsessed with texting, TikTok, and other social media apps, your teen sometimes might have their head in the clouds (or glued to their phone). You must remind your teenager about the importance of being alert in public, especially in places they’ve never visited before. Remind them to keep their head on a swivel when walking in tight crowds, and to keep screen time down to a minimum when navigating busy streets or intersections–especially in a bigger city.

Keep Their Social Status Lowkey

Besides close family members, it’s important not to tell people about your teen’s whereabouts, especially if they’re traveling alone. Likewise, make sure your teen knows not to tell their social media following about how they’re “enjoying time alone abroad” or “parent-free for the weekend!” Personal information like this needs to be only shared with a select few people to ensure your teen’s utmost safety while traveling solo.


Solo travel for your teenager doesn’t have to be scary. With these tools and tips, you’ll be saving “Bon voyage” faster than they can get out the door. Relax, and enjoy the crazy ride of being the parent of a teen.


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