If at all possible an adult should be with the children. Too many things can go wrong and a child might not be prepared to deal with them.
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For children, traveling can be a long and boring experience. That boredom is often only heightened for children who face the experience of solo traveling. Safety also becomes a larger concern for children traveling alone. While we may not want to send our kids off alone, it is sometimes unavoidable; and when this is the case, a few tips should be considered to make the experience as manageable, fun and safe as possible.
To start off with, the children’s travel bags should carry luggage tags. Each travel bag that your child carries should have his or her name, address and phone number along with a destination address and phone number. You also need to ensure children traveling alone carry baggage that is compliant with airline rules. Keep in mind that although they are kids, they are still subject to the same travel rules that adults are subject to.
Instruct your kids, particularly young ones, to strap themselves in lap belts if they plan on traveling via airplane. Although, there will likely be a flight attendant assigned to keep an extra eye on your child, it is important to have them focused on this necessity as well. You should also supply your child with necessary paperwork like tickets, passport, and even immunization papers. Packing some snacks in their carry-on luggage can prove wise should they get hungry. You also might want to give your kids some chewing gum or candy to chew or suck on to alleviate the air pressure they might experience during takeoff and landing.
It is also a good idea to pack some toys and books when you have children traveling alone. In case they get bored during travel, they can always play with their toys, color a coloring book, or read a book. Packing their favorite comfort item, like a blanket or stuffed animal or doll can help give them a sense of security when they might feel slightly overwhelmed from the hustle and bustle of traveling.
Avoid sending your children off to travel alone when they are sick. If this is unavoidable, be sure to pack appropriate medications and enough supplies like tissues. If possible, providing them with a cell phone for emergencies can prove quite helpful.
Finally, since you won't be there to coach them along the way, you should be sure to discuss appropriate behavior with your children before sending them off. Appropriate behavior both in terms of being respectful and being safe will prove beneficial. Other things you can do if you have children traveling alone is request appropriate seating on a flight, review the airline’s policies, take extra precautions for connecting flights, and spend extra time at the airport to ensure a safe departure.