Top 10 Travel Safety Tips for Kids, Your kid is going overseas. Perhaps she’s visiting family who live abroad. Maybe he’s going to stay with a friend for a couple of weeks during the summer break. Now you have to figure out how to keep your kid safe from a continent away. The following are ten top travel safety tips when your kid is flying alone.
Kid Travel Safety Tip #1: Arrange Documents Ahead of Time
The last thing you want to have happen is for your child to be detained at a foreign airport due to a problem with their passport or visa. Make sure ahead of time your child’s passport expiration is more than 6 months after their planned return home. Check if any visas are needed for the countries where they’re planned to spend time, and if so, arrange to have those far in advance. Verify if there are any special requirements in that country regarding kids traveling without parents, and follow these to the letter.
Also Read: Travel Safety Tips for Kids Flying Alone Internationally (Part 2)
Kid Travel Safety Tip #2: Make Travel Arrangements Early
Book your travel as far in advance as possible, and at least 48 hours in advance. This will make it easier for the airline to seat your kid near a flight attendant station where they can be supervised more closely. Arriving at the airport at least 3 hours before departure will also make things less stressful for you and your kid.
Kid Travel Safety Tip #3: Stranger Safety
Your child’s name should not be externally visible anywhere, including not on his bag, so unauthorized people can’t claim to know him and get him to follow them anywhere. Carefully coach your child on the tried and true strategies. Don’t talk to strangers, and if uncomfortable with someone’s attentions talk with someone in authority. These are especially important to follow when your child is traveling alone internationally.
Kid Travel Safety Tip #4: Take Advantage of Airline Unaccompanied Minor Service
Airlines’ services for unaccompanied minors, another term for kids flying alone, can cost $100 or more for each direction of travel beyond their airfare, though usually with no added cost (except the airfare) for a sibling flying together on the same flight.
These services are fairly straight-forward. You buy the ticket for your child, specifying this is for travel as an unaccompanied minor. You then check her in, where she’s handed over to the care of airline personnel. The airline assigns an employee, usually a flight attendant on the flight, to escort her through security checks, and if needed, to a connecting flight.
Also Read: Travel Tips for Women Traveling Alone
Make sure you read and carefully follow the policies and procedures of the airline your child will travel alone on. Typically, airlines will not allow children younger than 5 to travel solo. Typically up to age 6 to 8 (depending on the airline) children flying alone can only go on non-stop flights. Children 12 to 17 are not usually required to use the airline’s unaccompanied minor service, but it is still a good idea.
Even if the airline allows it, don’t include in the itinerary a connecting flight that’s the last of the day. Try to arrange for early flights only, as this will give some leeway for recovery from a cancelled or missed connection. Early in their day, the staff at the connecting airport will likely be fresh and not make a mistake that puts your child or his checked luggage on the wrong flight.
Kid Travel Safety Tip #5: Stay at the Airport until the Flight Departs
Children flying alone are likely to be anxious about it. Last minute flight delays or cancellations will make things even more stressful. Check your kid’s flight status before heading to the airport to ensure you don’t have to spend more time than necessary waiting at the airport. Once your kid is checked in and in the hands of the airline, stay until his flight departs. If there’s a last minute problem and the flight is cancelled, you need to be on hand to take him home.
Also Read: Travel Safety for Women in Western Europe