Journey Wonders

How to Travel Alone: 18-Year-Old Guide to Solo Travel

Traveling alone at 18 is an exciting experience that allows you to discover yourself and experience new things. You must know where to check in to ensure your safety and comfort when visiting a new place. Traveling alone at such an age is a chance for adventure and independence. 

A Solo trip at a young age can be overwhelming, but with proper guidance, you can make it a memorable and fun experience. Below are a few guidelines that will aid you in creating an amazing trip as an 18-year-old.

Why Travel Alone at 18?

Traveling alone at 18 is a rite of passage that allows you to explore the world on your terms. It is a good age to learn about different cultures and gain independence. You get a chance to have more control of your life and make decisions on your own. 

Visiting new places on your own allows you to learn valuable life skills. You will get good experience in problem-solving and financial management. These are skills you can use in your normal life.

Aurora Borealis and the Starry Sky

Planning Your Trip

You need to plan your trip carefully to ensure sufficient preparation for any possible outcome when traveling. Knowing a few things beforehand guarantees your adventure runs smoothly.

You should research your destination and make a comprehensive budget for the trip. Look into the various and most viable accommodations before you leave home.

Research Your Destination

Before you set off, it’s crucial to research your destination thoroughly. Learn about the local customs, laws, and safety concerns. Check out travel blogs, forums, and guidebooks to understand what to expect. 

Most places have their unique ways and laws of doing things. You must familiarize yourself with the basic customs of the region you plan on visiting. It will aid you to blend in and enjoy various activities without risking yourself.

Proper Budgeting

Traveling can be expensive, and you must set a realistic budget. You should consider the cost of all the expenses you will incur. 

Budget for the accommodation, food, and transportation. You should also have cash for any extra activities you will engage in during the trip. Always have a contingency fund for emergencies. You cannot predict what will happen, so you must have extra cash to ensure you are not stranded in a foreign land.

Ensure you understand the exchange rate to avoid confusion when making local purchases. The prices of different commodities may vary with each region, so you need to ensure you have a budget that matches where you are traveling to. 

Choosing the Right Accommodation

You should choose the right accommodation that caters to your specific needs. Ensure the place is safe and at a convenient location for any of the activities you hope to do. Look for places within your budget to prevent financial strains.

Hostels are a popular choice for young travelers as they are budget-friendly and a great place to meet other travelers. Always read reviews before booking.

Rainbow Mountain in Peru

Important Tips for Traveling Safely

Traveling is fun and exciting but can open you up to unknown risks. To ensure your safety during the trip, always do the following:

Stay Connected

Keep your family and friends updated about your whereabouts. Share your itinerary and accommodation details with them. You can get a local SIM card or a portable Wi-Fi device to ensure you don’t lose connection.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

You should always be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, avoid it, it is better to be safe than sorry. Avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar places.

Travel Insurance

Get travel insurance to cover yourself. It can cover medical expenses and lost luggage, ensuring you don’t suffer additional costs. Some covers also pay for trip cancellations and other unforeseen circumstances.

Nature, nature and more nature at the Annapurna Circuit Trek of Nepal

Making the Most of Your Trip

You should make the most of your trip, as you don’t get many chances to tour new places.

Be Open to New Experiences

Traveling alone allows you to do what you want, so you should be open to trying new things. Enjoy new dishes from the local cuisine, don’t just eat what is available at home. Join the local festivals and teach yourself new skills.

Meet New People

Traveling alone allows you to meet new people and make new friends. It gives you plenty of opportunities to interact with strangers from different backgrounds and experiences. Join tour groups and engage in other social activities.

Take Care of Your Mental and Physical Health

Traveling alone will give you physical and mental exhaustion. Your health is important, so you must protect it during the trip. Ensure you take care of yourself by eating well and drinking fluids. You should also get enough sleep and take time to relax and recharge.

Friends of Wonders in Seoul, South Korea

Traveling alone can be a life-changing and fun experience for any young adult. It provides you with a journey to self-discovery and personal growth. The trip is a great adventure that allows you to experience new cultures and make new friends. With careful planning, you can make your solo travel experience memorable and exciting. 

Wild Macaw found in the Amazon Jungle

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Solo Travelling At 18 – From Someone Who’s Done It.

I set off for my first solo travelling trip at 18. To be honest I was a little too big for my boots and had no idea what I was getting myself into. All I knew was I had a burning desire to travel and that was that. I booked a one-way flight and a couple of nights accommodation and I was on my way. I had read books and blog posts on “how to travel” and thought I was pretty well equipped to go it alone and have the time of my life!

My parents dropped me off at the airport I went through customs and waited in the terminal for my mammoth 22-hour flight (with a layover) to Bangkok. Just so you know with a long delay at cologne-bonn airport (thanks Eurowings) that soon turned into a 30-hour journey. Read my guide on saving money on flights , just remember it’s probably not a great idea to book a long haul with budget airlines! I like to use SkyTrax to check up on an airline I’ve never flown with.

Starting My Solo Travelling Trip.

solo traveller in airport

So, boarding the plane fresh-faced and ready for an adventure I set off on the trip of a lifetime. Arriving in Bangkok and eventually finding my hotel room with no SIM card to access 4g (rookie error) the feelings of being ready for an adventure were diminishing quickly.

I checked in went to my room and collapsed onto the bed in a heap, I slept for about 10 hours and woke up at about 3 am local time. Jetlag was going to be an issue.

I spoke to nobody my first few days, regretting my decision to travel alone more and more by the minute. Anyone I did try and talk to didn’t seem to want a chat as they all had their own stuff going on. Feeling very disheartened I hid away in my A/C room browsing the web for almost a day waiting to check out and move into the super cheap FAN cooled (another mistake) dorm I had booked myself into.

Things started to look up once I arrived at the hostel ( guide to hostels ). But it was soon pretty clear that I had no idea how to travel. Even though I had read all the blog posts and books. The truth is you do need to learn how to travel. It’s not as simple as boarding a plane and going to a destination. You do need to have a plan in mind, you do need to have some social skills, and you do need to know what you are doing!

So enough of how much of a disaster my first few days as a solo traveller were, trust me there’s a lot more tragedy I don’t want to bore you with! Let’s talk about how you can travel successfully at 18.

Solo Travel Successfully At 18.

Now, some of you probably have all the skills and know-how to be able to travel alone at 18 just fine. But I didn’t, and I’m sure there are a lot of people just like me out there.

At 18 you are probably leaving home for the first time, possibly doing your own laundry for the first time too! So it can be pretty daunting the thought of going solo travelling. If I could go back in time and give myself some advice this is what I would tell myself…

What I Would Tell Myself Before Travelling Solo At 18.

wrong way to solo travel

  • Plan your trip – I don’t know if this was just me being an idiot and taking advice that id read too literally, which I defiantly did! But I didn’t plan a thing. Read any guide on the web and it will tell you not to plan your trip, “go with the flow” “be spontaneous”. That is very true you defiantly should! But have an idea of what you want to do, see and achieve from your trip. I literally had no idea what I wanted to do, or even what I should be doing. Don’t be like me, draw up a plan of what you want to do, and if you go off-route, who cares! Your obviously having fun!
  • Push yourself to meet people – I am kind of an introvert. Less so when I travel because you have to push yourself to meet people or you’re in for a lonely trip. I have a full guide on making new friends in hostels , but you really just need to strike up a conversation and make yourself available. My favourite part of travelling solo is meeting new people. Travelling solo is just boarding a plane on your own. It’s not about being alone the whole trip.
  • Don’t drink to excess – Although drinking can be a big part of solo travel, especially at 18, I really wish I didn’t drink as much as I did on my first trip. I think that alcohol should be used as a tool to lower inhibitions, meet more people and have fun. But drinking excessively is bad for your body, possibly endangers you and will wipe you out for the next day. Which is pretty counterintuitive if you want to see the country. Like I say, drink and party, but try not to drink excessively and ruin the next day and possibly put yourself in danger.
  • Stay in touch with your family – Pretty straightforward, call your parents once a week to check in. They are probably worried about you so you owe it to them to have a chat now and again. Tell them what you’ve been up to (the PG version) and just put their minds at ease.
  • Pack light – I can not emphasise how important it is to pack light when you are going solo travelling. It doesn’t matter if you are solo travelling at 18 or 45, always pack light! I made the mistake of buying a 70L backpack before my first backpacking trip. When you have 70L of space, you will no doubt fill it. You really don’t need all the gadgets and gizmos. My bag was full of things I didn’t use once on my whole trip. I even brought a compass with me! Seriously I’ve never used a compass in my life, just don’t get into the mindset of “what if I need it”. You almost certainly won’t and if you do, you’ll be able to buy it whilst you’re away. You can read my essential packing list here.
  • Keep your spending in check (but don’t be too frugal) – I’m a hardcore saver, I literally hate spending money, some people call it tight, I call it being careful. To be honest I wrote the brackets into the subheading in case you are like me. Another thing I hate is watching people piss money down the drain. And for some reason, 18-year-old solo travellers seem to love doing it. Keep to a budget and don’t blow your money on partying, spend it on experiences, you can party at home. For the people like me, again, spend your money on experiences. I had saved so hard to be able to afford my trip, once I was there I didn’t want to waste my money. But in order to have the trip of a lifetime, unfortunately, you do have to spend some hard-earned cash.
  • Be open to new things – You have to have an open mind to travel and have a real experience. I was not that open-minded and was nervous to try new things, but once I did I found so many new things that I loved! Eat the local cuisine, get out of your comfort zone and experience the culture…
  • Use your intuition (but don’t be paranoid) – You should always trust your intuition, but there’s a fine line between that and being paranoid. I was wary of everyone, I was always worried about being scammed and probably closed off a lot of interactions through paranoia. In reality, most people you meet are genuine and friendly. Just use your common sense and you’re going to have the time of your life!

Why You Should Travel Solo.

solo traveller

Solo travel is an amazing experience whatever age you are. But I would really recommend you to travel at 18 if you feel you are ready. I learned so much in a short space of time that I would have never learned living at home.

You will become super independent , you really have no choice. You will have to organise everything yourself keep your stomach full and do your own laundry, unless you don’t mind stinking out the dorm room. After your first solo trip at 18, you will be able to take care of yourself anywhere.

You will also gain amazing social skills. Almost every day you will be chatting with new people from different cultures and backgrounds and learning so much along the way. If you are an introvert you will soon be coming out of your shell. Once your out, it’s pretty hard to get back in. For extroverts, you’re in paradise anyway with brand new people to talk to every day. You will make lifelong friends while you travel solo, that’s almost guaranteed.

You will become a new wiser person. It’s literally impossible not to become wiser and more mature after solo travelling at 18. You will have experienced something not many people your age will have experienced, and it will no doubt make you a better person. You’ll have so many stories and probably a different perspective on life, I can’t recommend you to solo travel enough!

I also have an extensive guide on why you should travel solo you can read.

The Negatives Of Travelling Solo.

Negatives? Yeah, I’ll be honest it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Solo travel can be hard work, and not just when you are 18! You will probably have to deal with loneliness while solo travelling , you’re probably going to have to spend more money at some points than those travelling together and you may encounter points where you just wish you weren’t alone. But all in all the positives far outweigh the negatives, and the negatives all help towards personal growth!

solo traveller

Tips For Travelling Solo At 18.

  • Have a rough plan to follow.
  • Start with an easy destination.
  • Do your homework.
  • Don’t drink too much.
  • Pack light.
  • Push yourself to meet people.
  • Challenge yourself.
  • Make friends in hostels.
  • Get an early start.
  • Trust your intuition.

So Should You Travel Solo Or Not?

In short, defiantly! You will have an amazing time no matter if you’re an introvert or extrovert, male or female, old or young. Solo travel is an amazing, liberating experience and I believe everyone should do it at least once in their lives! You will learn so much, grow as a person and have the most incredible experience at the same time. Save money for travel and book your flights, you will not regret it!

travelling alone 18 year old

Luke Crockford

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How To Travel Alone At 18: Top 10 Amazing tips

How to travel alone at 18! Traveling is a great experience and I believe everyone should travel alone at least once in their lifetime. There are many benefits to traveling by yourself such as learning how to be more independent, understanding your independence, and making new friends along the way.

It’s also a great way to get away from your day-to-day life and escape reality for a while. When I travel with friends, we usually do what they want to do, but when you travel alone it’s all about you and something that YOU want to see.

How To Travel Alone At 18

Traveling alone is a matter of your freedom and responsibility if you want to travel alone at 18, you should be able to stand on your own two feet. This is beneficial because if you travel with friends or family, they will offer their opinions and lead the trip most of the time (of course you can make your own decisions but still).

How To Travel Alone At 18

When traveling alone, you are not bound by any plans or schedules; this means you can do whatever you want whenever you want. When I was in Paris, I stayed out late at night and went to bars because no one was there to stop me or tell me it’s time for bed.

Traveling alone is also a great way to meet people who share the same interests as you do. You can easily become friends with locals or other tourists because you have a lot in common and you both share the same experiences.

It’s also easier to make friends when you are alone because no one is holding you back from talking to people or going to different places.

For traveling alone at 18, it takes a lot of responsibility, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. Make a budget for your trip and stick to it, find out how much things will cost ahead of time.

So you know that you won’t run out of money. Also, map out where you want to go and what you would like to see or do while on vacation.

Here Are Some Tips To keep In Mind If You’re Thinking Of Traveling By Yourself For The First Time

  • Make a budget and stick to it.
  • Find out how much things will cost ahead of time. So you know that you won’t run out of money.
  • Map out where you want to go and what you would like to see or do while on vacation.
  • If you are moving around, be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Don’t forget to pack some snacks to avoid spending too much money on food.
  • Research the country’s culture and respect it during your trip! It’s always nice to learn about other people’s beliefs and traditions.
  • Think about why you want to travel (whom to visit, what to see).
  • Traveling alone can be lots of fun! It’s nice because you get to meet so many new people and it gives you the opportunity for self-discovery. You should research local etiquette in case your visit.
  • Pick a destination where English is spoken;
  • Research transportation options ahead of time so they’ll be easier come departure day

It’s Good To Answer The Below Questions As Well As Possible Before How To Travel Alone At 18

By doing this, you know exactly what your goals are for the trip and it will be easier to stick to them.

One thing that I would do differently next time is saved up more money before the trip so I don’t have to work as much while there.

So verify with answers to some simple questions.

What Are You Doing?

These are just some of the questions that you should be able to answer yourself before leaving on a solo adventure. If it’s your first time traveling alone, I would recommend choosing a destination where there are many tourist attractions.

These places are mostly going to be bigger cities so you can easily find a hotel and have many things to do during your downtime.

How to travel alone at 18! If this is something that interests you then go for it, but just remember to take responsibility for yourself and don’t push yourself too far. Have fun, meet new people, and see new places.

But be careful because of new places, new people and new environment.

How Much Money Do You Need?

Make a plan of how much it will cost to get to and from where you are going and how much it will cost to stay and eat at the hotel and how much it will cost to travel. In addition to the calculation, you will come out with some extra money.

If you are bringing US dollars, Euros, or local currency it is best to exchange your money at the airport.

How To Travel Alone At 18

Don’t rely on ATMs for cash because they might run out of money and you will be stuck in a foreign city without any cash! Also, don’t carry all your money in your wallet, leave some at the hotel and carry enough for the day with you.

What Do You Want To Eat?

This is an important question to ask yourself because if you are not careful, you will end up spending all your money on food. Figure out the meals in which you want to eat at restaurants and allot this amount for each meal.

If you know that you don’t want to spend a lot of money on food, pack some snacks for your trip. If you are traveling in the U.S., you probably know that food prices at airports and gas stations are expensive so pack snacks to avoid spending too much money on these types of places.

How Many Bags Do I Need?

Pack all your important belongings in one small bag, if it gets lost or stolen then you won’t lose everything! Make sure that your bag is comfortable and not too heavy (if possible buy a backpack instead of a duffel or suitcase).

Extra tips!

Use packing cubes to keep your clothes organized in your bag. It will save you a lot of time when trying to find something.

Make sure that all the locks on your bags are TSA-approved (if traveling by plane) because they can open up your bag without damaging anything inside.

You can like it: How To Keep Beer Cold While Traveling: Top 5 Amazing Tips

Where Do You Want To Go, And Why?

You should already have a list of places that you want to go, if not then start researching places and destinations because this is how you will fall in love with the place.

Why do you want to travel? Is it because you want to learn a new language, meet new people or see different cultures? What are your interests? Do they coincide with where you want to travel?

For example, I love art and history so for me it would be amazing to go to Europe because there are so many museums and art galleries! But if your interests are nature-based then you should go hiking in the woods.

When Are You Going?

Choose a time when everyone else is traveling so airports are less busy.

Choose a destination where there are many things to do in the area, it’s nice to be able to walk around and explore when you have some free time.

How Long Will This Trip Take?

You should know how long you want this adventure to be if it’s one week, two weeks, or three months? Make sure that your bank account can accommodate the trip.

Keep in mind that it can be extremely expensive to take an international trip so you should plan out your budget before leaving.

If you are traveling within the U.S., decide how much time you want to spend at each stop and by what means will you travel (plane, car, bus). Is there a special event happening during this time?

For example, I am going to Jamaica in May and this is when Jamaica celebrates its independence so there will be a lot of events taking place in the country.

Don’t go during high season! If it’s summertime and you want to travel somewhere warm then choose winter or springtime because prices tend to decrease during these periods.

Get a Passport

Even if it’s just for one day, do get a passport! do NOT forget to get your passport. It takes a while to get approved so apply for it well in advance of your trip.

Also, make sure that the expiration date isn’t too close or you might not be able to travel (many countries will deny entry for this reason).OT forget to get your passport.

Advantage Of How To Travel Alone At 18

  • The advantages of traveling alone at 18 are many. You can get to experience more things on your own, build confidence in your decisions and learn how to be an independent person.
  • You can make decisions on what you would like to do while traveling, whether that’s going to museums or nightclubs. Also, it costs less because there are no added costs for transportation or accommodation.
  • You can have the freedom to do whatever you want! If you are tired, you can go back to your hotel room and rest, or if you feel like going shopping then go for it! It’s easier to take care of yourself when traveling alone because there are no other people involved.
  • It can be cheaper to travel alone because you don’t have to pay for any other people.
  • Make a budget and stick to it. Find out how much things will cost ahead of time so you know that you won’t run out of money.

Disadvantage Of How To Travel Alone At 18

  • You may find it difficult to make friends and keep yourself occupied during your trip. If you get bored, travel becomes less fun.
  • If you get lost or if something happens, you don’t know anybody to help you navigate through the situation; which can be uncomfortable.
  • There is always a chance of not being safe in some areas so just be aware of your surroundings.

Is An 18-Year-Old Too Young To Travel Solo?

I think that 18 is a good age to travel solo. You should have a clear mind and a sense of independence before going on an adventure by yourself! By: Jasleen Kaur

I agree with Jasleen, I think that 18 years old is the perfect age for traveling alone. You also need to be responsible enough to take care of yourself. So depending on your maturity level, if you are above that it’s probably ok to travel alone!

An 18-year-old should not be traveling alone because if anything happens – they don’t have anyone there for support. They may think that it is a good experience but in reality, it will cause them anxiety and other negative feelings. By: Caroline and Yasmina Abdallah (Danielle)

Would You Let Your 18-Year-Old Daughter Travel Alone?

 Traveling alone is not for everyone, it has its pros and cons. So if you are thinking of traveling by yourself at 18 years old, know the facts first before making your decision!

Justine and Diana Saldaña (Olivia)

You can also read it: How to pack bananas for travel: Top 10 amazing tips

18 is a great age to start traveling! You are old enough to be independent, but still young and carefree. There are so many places in the world you can go without parents or chaperones, so take advantage of your freedom while it lasts.

The conclusion of this article is a list of helpful tips for those who are considering traveling alone at 18. If you have any questions, please leave a comment!  Some people feel okay about going to new places by themselves and others don’t.

Remember that there’s nothing wrong with being nervous or scared- everyone has these feelings from time to time!

Ultimately, the decision is yours but if you’re feeling overwhelmed then it might be best to wait until you are older before taking on such an adventure solo.

Have a nice trip!


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Child turning 18? Here’s everything you need to know before the next time they travel

Melissa Klurman

Are you the parent of a teen about to turn 18? Congratulations!

It's an exciting time as young adults wrap up high school and start the next chapter of their lives, which will include a host of new travel considerations.

My son just hit this benchmark age, and in addition to many exciting life milestones, each travel adventure this year has unveiled a new hurdle. Some of these have been easier to anticipate and fix than others.

For example, although you may have booked travel for your teen when they were still 17, turning 18 immediately removes them from your TSA PreCheck and Clear accounts. I have to admit, I didn't think about this until I checked myself and my son in for a flight from Newark to Austin about a month after his 18th birthday. I quickly discovered he was missing the TSA PreCheck indicator on his boarding pass.

Upon further investigation, it turned out he no longer could use my Clear account to access expedited security either. Clear was a quick fix, but PreCheck, not so much.

The good news, though, is that an educated traveler can avoid the most frustrating "welcome to adulthood" travel surprises.

Here are a few benchmarks and action items to add to your calendar as the big birthday approaches.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter .

TSA PreCheck

TSA PreCheck officially says kids 12 and under can enter with their parents even without a PreCheck indicator on their boarding pass, and kids 13 to 17 are eligible for PreCheck indicator on their boarding passes as long as they're booked with a parent who has an active account.

This was always the case with my son, but as soon as he hit 18, the magic "check" was gone. This is a hard one to fix at the last minute, since you'll need to make an appointment for in-person registration and fingerprints. You can, however, apply for a separate account for your young adult prior to their 18th birthday.

Note that it's only a five-year validity for all accounts, so to get the most value from the $85 service, try keeping your child on your account until a few months prior to turning 18. This way, they can keep flying under your status as long as possible.

Related: 12 key things to know about TSA PreCheck

As you may have noticed at the airport, PreCheck isn't always the only way to skip the traditional security line. Another service that will expedite your airport security experience in many airports is Clear . It's a paid service that uses biometrics — scans of your eyes and fingerprints — to expedite you through the security process. Kids can come with you for free through Clear until they turn 18.

Then, the second they turn 18, they are no longer part of your paid membership. The good news is you can instantly add a new account for them either online or at the airport. One caveat: Unlike PreCheck, which offers the ability to create separate accounts for minors, you cannot create an account for anyone under 18. This means you can't move forward with this step until after their birthday has passed.

Once they turn 18 though, if you are a Clear member, you can log in to your account on Clear's website and add up to three family members for $50 each per year. To speed things up, create their profile at home online. Then, when they arrive at the Clear entry point, a member coordinator will scan their eyes and fingerprints and immediately activate the service.

Related: Guide to using Clear

Keep an eye on your big kid's passport as they approach 18. If you applied for a passport on their behalf before they turned 16, they will have received a passport valid for just five years. U.S. citizens only receive a passport valid for 10 years if they apply at age 16 or older. If your child did receive a five-year passport the last time they applied, there's a good chance the renewal date may be approaching soon — especially since you should really start renewing your child's five-year passport at the four-year mark (another lesson I learned the hard way this year when planning a family vacation).

travelling alone 18 year old

Global Entry and Mobile Passport

Currently, minors are not allowed to use a parent's Global Entry status when they're traveling and returning to the U.S. together (although there has been chatter about the program extending free entry to minors ). So, it's possible your 18-year-old already has their own account. If your big kid doesn't have an account and you're applying for the first time concurrently with TSA PreCheck, streamline the applications into one process and one payment, since the $100 Global Entry fee automatically gives you PreCheck for no additional cost.

The free Mobile Passport app lets you add up to 12 profiles to a single account, meaning that a single household only needs to submit one transaction. However, even if your children's information is saved on your account, they can each still have their own apps with their personal information saved on their phones. This is useful if they're traveling without you, just as long as you don't both try to submit the same information at the same time when you land, which could hinder your ability to get approval.

Related: Flying internationally? Here's what you need to know about new Mobile Passport app CBP MPC

Accompanied minor policies

In the positive column, here's something cool your 18-year-old can do — accompany a minor! Actually, on American Airlines , anyone 16 and up can accompany a minor, but on United Airlines and many other carriers, only a "parent, legal guardian or someone who is at least 18 years of age or older" can escort minors on a plane. This is great news for parents who want to, for example, send both their 18-year-old and 12-year-old to grandma's house on the other side of the country.

Hotel rooms

Here's something else to keep an eye on when traveling with your older teen: a surcharge for an extra "adult" in your room. You know those pull-down menus that pop up after you check "number of children" in your reservation on a hotel booking site? Many top out at 17, with 18 as the maximum age. This won't cause much of an issue at hotels where you can have four adults in the room for the same price. However, for properties that charge per person, like all-inclusive resorts, expect to see a price bump.

Legal considerations

There's one more important category to pay attention to if your 18-year-old child is traveling independently: medical power of attorney. To be honest, I'm still figuring this one out myself, but in short, a medical power of attorney becomes necessary when your teen is considered an adult and is ever in an accident. Without it, a doctor or other medical professional might be prevented from giving you medical updates, and you may not be able to make medical decisions for your child the way you would if they were a minor. Yup, we know, it's a scary one. But a little knowledge here goes a long way to smooth planning and future journeys.

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Go Backpacking

Solo Travel for Teens: The Ultimate Safety Guide

By: Author Cedric Jackson

Posted on Last updated: October 18, 2022

Solo travel as a teenager can be a wonderful experience, but it's essential to be safe while on the road. This guide will highlight solo travel tips for teens to ensure you're staying safe while traveling alone.

We'll cover everything from choosing your destination to staying connected with loved ones back home.

So whether you're planning your first solo trip or want to brush up on your safety skills, read on for our top tips!

Table of Contents

Staying Safe in Unfamiliar Places

Planning your trip, what to do if something goes wrong, how to make new friends while traveling solo, teen travel safety tips.

Travelers on a beach in Morocco (photo: Louis Hansel)

There's no doubt that solo travel can be an amazing experience. However, it's important to remember that you are responsible for your safety. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe in unfamiliar places.

Make sure the proper insurance covers you if something goes wrong. The best car insurance for students should include rental car insurance and traveler's insurance.

Do your research before you go. This includes familiarizing yourself with the local laws and customs and checking for travel advisories.

Be aware of your surroundings. This means being aware of who and what is around you, especially in crowded places.

Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. Listen to your intuition, and don't be afraid to walk away from a situation that makes you feel uneasy.

Keep your valuables close. When possible, carry your valuables in a front pocket or wear them close to your body. This will discourage pickpockets and help you keep an eye on your belongings.

Related: Pick-Pocket Proof Pants Review

Solo traveler in Verenna, Italy (photo: Timo Stern)

As a teenager, the idea of solo travel can be both exhilarating and scary.

On the one hand, you're old enough to explore the world independently. On the other hand, you're still young and vulnerable. You may think you know it all, but rest assured, you don't.

However, with proper planning and a healthy dose of caution, solo travel can be a great way to see the world and gain some independence.

Before starting your journey, research and choose a safe destination for solo travelers.

Once you've picked your spot, let your family and friends know where you'll be and how to reach you in an emergency.

Always be aware of your surroundings when on the road, and trust your instincts if something doesn't feel right.

Following these simple guidelines can help ensure your solo travel adventure is enjoyable and safe.

As a teen, there's nothing quite like the feeling of independence that comes with solo travel.

However, recognize that you're not invincible — even the safest destination can present dangers if you're not careful.

So what should you do if something goes wrong while traveling alone?

First and foremost, it's crucial to have a good travel insurance policy in place. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you're covered in case of any unexpected medical or legal problems.

Next, make sure you know how to (and have) access to emergency funds.

Whether it's cash hidden away in a secret pocket of your backpack or a credit card with a high limit, having access to money can be the difference between getting home safely and being stranded in a foreign country.

Finally, familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs before you travel. If you get into trouble, you'll have a general sense of what to expect and how to best deal with the situation.

Following these simple tips can minimize the risks of solo travel and ensure that your next adventure is safe and enjoyable.

Related: 7 Steps to a Solo Road Trip

Men laughing in Belo Horizonte, Brazil (photo: Matheus Ferrero)

Traveling solo can be an extraordinary experience. It's a chance to explore new places, meet new people, and learn more about yourself.

However, it can also be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to making new friends, especially if you're traveling solo with social anxiety .

Here are a few tips to help you break the ice and make lasting connections while on the road.

1. Join a tour or group activity. This is a great way to meet like-minded people with similar interests. From cooking classes to city tours, there's sure to be something that appeals to you.

2. Strike up conversations with locals and other travelers. Don't be afraid to strike up a conversation with someone new. People are generally friendly and open to chatting, especially if they see you're traveling solo.

3. Stay in contact with your old friends. Just because you're traveling doesn't mean you have to lose touch with your old friends.

Send them postcards and photos, or even give them a call from time to time. They'll be happy to hear from you and keep you updated on what's going on back home.

4. Seek out social events at your accommodation. Many hostels offer social events like bar crawls or movie nights for guests, and this is a great way to meet other travelers in a relaxed setting.

5. Be open to meeting new people and experiences. Sometimes the best way to make friends while traveling is simply by saying yes to that invitation for dinner, yes to that activity you wouldn't normally do, and yes to striking up conversations with strangers.

The more open you are, the more likely you will have a great time and meet incredible people.

Solo travel as a teen can be a fantastic experience, but it's essential to be prepared and take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety.

By following the tips in this guide, you can minimize the risks and make the most of your next adventure. Safe travels!

This story is brought to you in partnership with Surge Marketing.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:

  • G Adventures for small group tours.
  • Hostelworld for booking hostels.

Ask Kate: Is 18 Too Young To Travel Long-Term?

Adventurous Kate contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Vang Vieng Tubing

At 18, you’re a legal adult.  But does that mean you’re old enough to travel the world on your own for a few months or longer?  This might seem outrageous to my American readers — but in other countries, Australia in particular, it’s not uncommon for 18-year-olds to backpack long-term.  This week’s question examines age and maturity.

Hi Kate! I’m an 18 year old girl from Australia and I love your blog! I’ve been wanting to travel the world ever since I remember, and I have just finished high school and finally have a chance to do it. I’m planning to do a shoestring trip, the thing is I’ll be going it alone, as none of my friends are really interested in it. I’m kind of nervous, I know that I’m young but its something I’ve always wanted to do, so I was just wondering what your opinion on it was? Do you think 18 is too young? I’ve always been fairly independent and I think I have pretty good common sense but I’m a bit nervous, also.

I’ve met lots of 18-year-olds who are mature, ready, and would succeed at a long-term backpacking trip around the world.  At the same time, most of the 18-year-olds I’ve known are nowhere near ready for a trip of this undertaking.

How do you know if you’re ready?

When traveling long-term, it’s critically important that you are able to problem-solve and take responsibility independently of anyone else.  Here’s a good way to figure out if you’re ready:

  • When things go wrong, who fixes the problem?   Do you 1) take care of them on your own or 2) call your parents and have them bail you out?
  • Are you able to assert yourself in relationships, romantic and otherwise?   When you’re uncomfortable in a situation, do you 1) make your feelings clear or 2) let the other person take the lead, hoping they do what you want them to do?
  • Are you comfortable doing things alone?   If you want to see a movie or go to the beach and none of your friends want to join you, do you 1) go anyway on your own or 2) choose an activity that everyone wants to do?
  • Do you enjoy independent travel?   Have your previous travels been 1) planned and organized by tour groups or family members or 2) active, involved, and planned primarily by yourself?
  • Are you able to earn the money for this trip?   Putting graduation gift money toward a trip is fine, but do you plan to 1) earn enough to pay for the bulk of the trip on your own or 2) ask your family for the money, either as a gift or a loan?

I know it’s tempting to say that of course you would answer 1) for all of these, but you need to be honest with yourself or this trip is not going to work out.  If you did honestly answer 1), good for you.  Chances are you’re ready.

Floating Bar

Beyond that, there are two areas in which I think 18-year-olds are particularly vulnerable on the backpacker trail:

1. Alcohol .  Alcohol is undeniably a major part of the backpacker trail all over the world, whether you choose to backpack in Australia, Southeast Asia, Europe or anywhere else.  When you’re 18, you don’t have as much experience drinking, and you aren’t as aware of your tolerance.

Most of the problems I’ve seen happen to backpackers have stemmed from inebriation in some fashion: people drink too much and get drugged, robbed, or even assaulted by locals or other travelers.  At 18, without much drinking experience, it’s easy to get to that dangerous level of drunkenness.

2. Romance .  Hooking up with fellow travelers or locals is another major part of the backpacker trail.  The great thing about university is that it’s as much of a social education as an academic education — everyone is in the same boat at age 18 to 22, living away from home for the first time.  While these years will undoubtedly include some painful relationship experiences, you’re experiencing them on a relatively even playing field.

When you start traveling long-term at 18, before university, you haven’t yet had that chance.  On the backpacking trail, people tend to be in their twenties and older.

I say this with particular concern for 18-year-old women interested in men: when you’re less experienced with older men, it’s easier to be hurt, taken advantage of, or coerced into sex — or worse, unprotected sex.

Drinking throughout high school or having relationships in your teens does not prepare you for either of these — and to deny that is an immature move in itself.

A mature 18-year-old would begin traveling long-term with his or her eyes open and be particularly conscientious of knowing how to limit drinking and how to protect himself or herself physically and emotionally when it comes to hooking up.

Chris, Kate and Jon on the way to Vang Vieng

Should you wait a few years?

If you decide to postpone your long-term backpacking trip, it’s not the end of the world — in fact, for most of you, it’s probably a good thing.  You could take a short-term trip now, going somewhere in Europe or Central America for a few weeks.  In the meantime, travel a bit more and spend a semester or even a year studying abroad if you can.

I left to travel long-term at age 26 and I was a radically different person than I was at 20 when I studied abroad in Florence.  I was smarter, more mature, more patient, far more travel-savvy, far more responsible when it came to drinking, had a few romantic relationships under my belt, and had spent a few years earning a good salary.

For most people, I would recommend waiting until their early twenties to travel.  But for the smart, mature, conscientious and responsible 18-year-old, you could very well be ready.

How old do you think is a good age to travel?  Join in the comments here or on Facebook .

20 expert solo travel tips for women from the Lonely Planet team

Nov 17, 2023 • 10 min read

travelling alone 18 year old

Solo travel is one of the most exciting and liberating experiences you can have © Deepa Lakshmin / Lonely Planet

If you’re eager to see the world, why hold out for the ideal travel companion? Solo journeys create indelible memories.

Yet while voyaging by yourself can exhilarate, it can also be dauting– especially for female travelers. That’s why we asked a few travel-expert colleagues here at Lonely Planet for ideas that any woman setting out alone should keep in mind.

Here are 20 tips to keep you safe, grounded and ready to set out for the trip of a lifetime. All by yourself.

Akanksha Singh in Portugal, standing with the Tagus River behind her.

1. Seek out female hosts (ideally with pets)

If I’m booking accommodation online, I tend to opt for women owners (preferably with pets in their host photos!). This is partly psychological – but I’ve also found that women tend to think about things like where to go to avoid crowds or safer alternatives to more touristy places. It’s nice how protective women are of each other, especially when we’re traveling alone.

– Akanksha Singh , Destination Editor 

Deepa Lakshmin in Morocco, laughing and standing on a wall with the city of Chefchaouen in the background.

2. Ease into it 

It can be tempting to throw yourself outside of your comfort zone all at once, but doing things alone – solo traveling, or even just going out to dinner or the movies by yourself – can feel intimidating at first. But it’s a muscle you build up over time. Start with a day trip or an afternoon wandering a museum you’ve always wanted to see but didn’t know who to go with. When I backpacked through Australia and New Zealand , I tacked on extra days at the end of group tours so I had solo time to explore (and decompress!) after nonstop socializing and being “on.” I’d already acclimated to the new-to-me destination while traveling with the group, which meant I had more confidence and knowledge to navigate the streets on my own.

– Deepa Lakshmin , Social Media Director

Sasha Brady standing in front of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy

3. Consider hostels for connecting with like-minded people of all ages

Hostels are a great way to meet people, especially fellow solo female travelers. I truly believe you’re never too old for hostels. Many cater to people of various age groups and backgrounds, and offer private rooms for added comfort and privacy. I find it’s easier to meet like-minded people in communal settings – the kind of people who are eager to exchange travel tips and stories with you and who genuinely want you to have a good time. I’ve made lifelong connections with people I’ve met in hostels. 

– Sasha Brady , Digital Editor 

Rachel Lewis taking a selfie on the sands at Kure Beach, North Carolina

4. Start with a solo afternoon

I’m not quite 100% to the point where I’m ready to dive into solo travel, so I like to just carve out a day or an afternoon of Rachy Adventures when I’m traveling with friends or my wife. (Said adventure often involves a croissant and an overpriced latte.) Some of my absolute favorite parts of a trip have been a rainy afternoon spent wandering alone in Boston , or sitting alone with a good book on a largely empty beach, taking in the waves.

– Rachel Lewis, Senior Social Media Manager 

Fionnuala McCarthy stands in front of a huge, snow-topped mountain peak, holding up her arms and smiling

5. Book some group activities

If you’re feeling apprehensive about taking a big solo trip, arrange a tour or activity for each day. This way your days will be organized around a preplanned group event. I made connections from all over the world on a solo trip to Australia in my early 20s – and 20 years on, am still in regular touch with a Swedish woman I met on a boat trip to the Great Barrier Reef .

– Fionnuala McCarthy , Editorial Director

Brekke Fletcher stands on a lawn in Napa, California, with the landscape stretching out beyond the cluster of low-rise buildings directly behind

6. Hop on a boat or a bus

I get my bearings by taking either a hop-on, hop-off bus tour or a boat tour. On my first solo trip to Paris , I decided to take a cruise down the Seine – during which I wrote out my plans for the trip and got to know people by offering to snap their photograph. I also find spending time in local bookstores to be a great way to immerse myself in the destination as well as meet fellow travelers and locals who seem very happy to help and offer tips and advice. 

– Brekke Fletcher , Senior Director of Content

Amy Lynch smiling at the camera with the craggy coastline of the Outer Hebrides, Scotland in the background

7. Bring a book 

I’ve cycled and hiked and taken trains all over the world by myself, and I never did any of it without a book on hand. Waiting on delayed trains, sitting down to meals, relaxing in a bar at the end of the day: all of these situations are improved with a book. Reading can also be a useful way to put off any potential unwanted conversation. A woman on her own can be a magnet for chatterers, and I’m not always in the mood to talk to strangers when traveling.

– Amy Lynch , Destination Editor

Morgan Wegner standing on a rock and looking upwards, amidst sun-dappled trees and foliage

8. Indulge your hobbies

Look for activities related to what you already like to do at home. For example, I love to thrift-shop, so I’ll often look up secondhand or charity shops in foreign cities: it’s a great way to get a sense for local fashions and find unique souvenirs. I also love to embroider, and I’ve spent hours at textile galleries, oohing over fine needlework and learning about local fiber-art traditions. I couldn’t do that with a bored travel companion.

– Morgan Wegner, Senior Operations Editor

Erin Lenczycki walking on a rocky outcrop along the coastline in Morocco at sunset

9. Embrace “yes!” – within reason

One of the best things about solo travel is the freedom to make or break plans whenever you want. Some of my favorite travel memories (including meeting my husband!) are because I took a chance and made a plan with new friends over an impromptu drink or meal. Celebrate saying “yes” to things you wouldn’t normally do – but trust the voice in your head at the same time. If the hair on the back of your neck stands up at a turn Google is telling you to make, take a different route. Learn to expand your boundaries – while trusting your intuition.

– Erin Lenczycki, Photo Editor

AnneMarie McCarthy standing beside the sign for the town of Camembert in Normandy, France

10. Be present

Traveling by yourself is a great opportunity to be mindful. With no need to rush or please anyone else, I find myself doing a lot of thinking and reflecting while traveling alone. I try to limit my interaction with my phone as well to really enjoy the quiet. I find some of my most vivid traveling memories have come from these trips.

– AnneMarie McCarthy , Destination Editor

Ann Douglas Lott standing on a harbourside walkway, with the rear propeller of a seaplane behind

11. Plan rest days

For every seven to 10 days of travel, set aside a day to breathe. Sleep in, treat yourself to a nice meal or just give your legs a break. If you can resist the pressure to program every moment of your trip, you won’t feel like you’re “wasting” your time. This is especially true when you’re traveling solo and not on anyone else’s schedule. 

– Ann Douglas Lott , Associate Editor

Jessica Lockhart in New Zealand, standing on a rock behind a wooden sign marking the summit of Mt Tarawera

12. Use apps to your advantage (and with headphones)

When navigating a new city on foot, plug your destination into a maps app, then listen to the walking directions through headphones. This allows you to avoid pulling out a map – which is equivalent to waving a flag printed with “tourist!” Most importantly, when you’re making your plans, try to resist fear (which is used to manufacture headlines and generate clicks). Language and cultural barriers can raise discomfort, which will make you hyper-aware of your surroundings. But that doesn’t mean said surroundings are unsafe. 

– Jessica Lockhart, Destination Editor

Alex Butler standing in front of a sculpture of a red tree on the High Line in New York City

13. Go on a food tour

One thing that makes a lot of solo travelers apprehensive is the thought of dining alone. But if you join a food tour, you’ll have dining companions for the evening and the opportunity to try out a bunch of new restaurants ⁠— all while learning about the local culture. I joined a food tour of Trastevere while traveling solo in Rome : not only did I get to meet fellow travelers, but the tour included a mix of casual street-food spots (excellent for solo travelers) and restaurants. After you check these places out in a group, you may feel more relaxed coming back on your own for a solo-dining experience.

– Alex Butler , Managing Editor 

Zara Sekhavati standing in front of high, pinkish-brown rock formations in Jordan

14. Travel with a power bank

Traveling alone, you will most likely be using your phone more than usual to take photos and videos, and for navigating maps. Even if your phone has a reliable battery, it’s always good to know you have a backup, especially if you’re on your own. There are plenty of small and lightweight power banks that you can purchase to slot into your bag when on the road.

– Zara Sekhavati, Destination Editor

15. Share your location 

To ensure peace of mind, I make it a habit to inform at least one person back home of my whereabouts using the Find My Friend app , which allows them to track my location in real time. While it can be reassuring for safety reasons, what I appreciate the most about it is the tangible sense of connection it provides. My family, in particular, loves that they can place me on a map and accompany me virtually on my explorations.

– Sasha Brady

Melissa Yeager taking a selfie in a mountain range in Argentina, with undulating pink and orange crevasses in the background

16. Traveling solo doesn’t mean traveling alone

For me, traveling solo can be a great way to meet new, like-minded people. Join a tour group like G Adventures or Intrepid for an entire trip, book a day tour with GetYourGuide , find a class for something you’re passionate about like art or cooking, research some of the digital-nomad meetups, find a bar where they show the games of your favorite team…there are lots of ways to forge new friendships on the road. 

– Melissa Yeager , Senior Editor 

Laura Motta sitting in a restaurant in Italy

17. Don’t wait for a partner

I’ve traveled solo to places like Hawaii , the Amalfi Coast and the Dominican Republic . When I tell these stories, someone will occasionally say something to me like, “Oh, I want to go there on my honeymoon, so I’m waiting to take that trip.” My advice? Don’t wait. If you want to somewhere, even a place with a reputation as a “romantic” destination or a honeymoon getaway, go anyway. There are so many ways to enjoy a destination and to make your own memories, with or without another person. If resorts or entire destinations cater specifically to couples, you will see a different – and sometimes more interesting – side of it by going solo.   

– Laura Motta , Senior Director of Content

Alicia Johnson standing in front of a notable house in Barbados, looking at something just out of shot

18. Don’t overshare

The temptation to share your entire trip via social media can be overwhelming – especially if you’re having a fantastic time. But for safety concerns, it’s best to avoid sharing every movement with every follower until you return home. Not only do real-time posts alert people to where you are during every part of your trip, but they also let folks know you’re not home. Consider sharing your photos and videos from the road just with a close number of friends, or wait until your trip is over to flood your social media. 

– Alicia Johnson , Destination Editor

19. Role-play at restaurants

Dining alone can be the best kind of mini-adventure. You can chat with the bartender – often a wealth of local knowledge – or other patrons. You can play at being an international woman of mystery and hunker down with a book or a notebook and pen. And if you’ve had a long day of sightseeing, sometimes it feels good to just sit at a quiet table and fiddle with your phone. The best part? Solo diners can often glide right to the front of the line at popular and award-winning restaurants, even without a reservation. 

– Laura Motta

20. Feel your feelings – and cry when you need to

Especially if you’re traveling alone for the first time. Especially if you’re far away from everything you’ve ever known. Especially if you feel confused or lonely or out of place. I’ve shed tears in more airports than I care to admit. You’re outside your comfort zone, and that’s scary! It’s normal to feel homesick and miss the people, places and routines that feel familiar to you. But you probably embarked on a solo adventure because some part of you craves something new – and any change requires getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, at least for a little bit. It’s OK to go through it.

– Deepa Lakshmin

This article was first published May 2019 and updated November 2023

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  • Solo Travel

How to Travel Abroad Alone As a Teenager

Last Updated: January 20, 2022

This article was co-authored by Archana Ramamoorthy, MS . Archana Ramamoorthy is the Chief Technology Officer, North America at Workday. In 2019, she went on a three-month sabbatical from her work and solo traveled throughout Southeast Asia. She is a product ninja, security advocate, and on a quest to enable more inclusion in the tech industry. Archana received her BS from SRM University and MS from Duke University and has been working in product management for over 8 years. This article has been viewed 37,889 times.

You’re ready to see the world and experience the thrill of adventuring out on your own, but how do you do that when you’re a teenager? The good news is that traveling abroad alone as a teen is definitely possible. There are just some extra logistics you’ll need to keep in mind and plan for. This article will walk you through your different options and everything you’ll need to do to prepare so you can start planning the solo trip of your dreams!

Traveling Solo

Step 1 Make sure you understand the challenges and risks of traveling entirely alone as a teenager.

  • Some countries will require a consent letter signed by your parents or guardians and some may refuse your entry all together.
  • Most hotels will make you jump through extra hoops as a minor or may not let you stay there at all.
  • Some tourist attractions won't let minors in without an adult accompanying you.
  • You'll be all alone. If you're have a medical emergency, are arrested, or experience any other kind of pitfall, you may not be able to reach anyone back home.

Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

Community Experience: Before I left for my travels, I visited my doctor to get caught up on all of my vaccines. It's something a lot of people take for granted, but the vaccines helped me not worry so much about rabies and other viruses. It's especially important if you'll be somewhere that you'll be petting animals along the road or eating local food.

Step 2 Learn the laws and regulations regarding teenage travel in the country you plan to visit.

  • In some countries, like Portugal, minors must have a letter signed by both of their parents, and must authenticate that letter at an embassy prior to travelling.
  • In other countries, like Spain, minors can generally travel alone, but if they are arrested, end up in the hospital, or otherwise run into problems, they may be held by authorities until their situation can be resolved.

Step 3 Purchase travel insurance.

  • If the city you plan to visit has a youth hostel, try calling them. Many youth hostels will allow minors to stay, although most are restricted to those 16 and older.

Step 6 Book flights.

Traveling with a Tour Group

Step 1 Consider traveling as part of a tour.

Expert Q&A

Archana Ramamoorthy, MS

  • Finding a friend and traveling with them can be a good idea. Thanks Helpful 1 Not Helpful 1
  • Make new friends on your trip, and ask if you can come with them to tour the city. Meeting new people is a big part of traveling, and it can open you up to new experiences you wouldn't have otherwise experienced. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1
  • Send someone back home your full itinerary, and keep them up to date on any changes. In an emergency, it will be easier for them to find you even if you can't contact them. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1

travelling alone 18 year old

  • Don't book any flights, activities, or hotels without being sure they accept minors traveling alone. You may be refused entry when you arrive! Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 0
  • Be especially cautious when traveling alone as a teenager. You may be an easier target for crime. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 1

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How to Travel the World at 18? The Ultimate Guide

How to travel the world at 18

Travelling is food for your soul and the thought of travelling the world has surely crossed everyone’s mind. It can surely be a daunting thought at first and even more so if you are thinking about how to travel the world at 18.

But this will surely open your eyes to an array of unforgettable experiences, lessons that you can never learn from anywhere in the world, you will make new friends, try new things and trust me I could go on and on.

Here is a complete guide that can help you make your dream of travelling the world at 18 accessible and easy.

Let us start exploring.

How to Travel the World at 18?

Table of Contents

Can A 18-Year-Old Travel Alone?

Well, the answer to this question is a big YES! you can travel alone when you are 18 years old. Most airlines have decided upon an age limit for unattended travel and the minimum age is 5 and the maximum age is 12.

There are numerous factors that you keep in mind before you decide to travel. You should be well prepared and should have all the necessary documents like identity proofs, passports and visas.

Be very clear in your plan of action and double-check every step of your travel planning to avoid any mishaps but you should also be flexible with a spontaneous change in plan. When you travel alone there can be various external factors that can change your set course of action and you have to sometimes have to just go with the flow.

How to travel the world at age of 18?

Travelling is surely fun but it comes with a lot of responsibilities especially when you have decided to explore the world alone. The most important thing is to be sorted with your travel budget and how will you be managing it throughout your trip.

The best option is to start saving your money in advance and applying for a part-time job or the best way to fund your travels is to make money online while travelling by freelancing. Make sure to be thorough with each expense including lodging, food, tickets and miscellaneous.

The best option can be to have a well-researched itinerary prepared for each place that you are planning to travel. It will be an additional benefit if you can learn about the local language of the place you are planning to visit, it helps you to break the ice with locals. To travel alone you have to be well aware of the laws, news and culture of the destination.

What are the safest places to travel for an 18-year-old?

Safety is of utmost importance when you are embarking on a journey into an unknown land. Many countries in the world are safe for solo travellers. We have discussed some of the most fun, interesting and safe places where you can enjoy to the fullest on a budget.

Most safest places to travel for 18 year olds

New zealand.

New Zealand, South island

This is a land surrounded by stunning landscapes, historical mountains and architectural marvels. New Zealand is one of the safest places to travel in the world There are numerous interesting things to do and fun places to visit. You can hike up to the majestic mountains, admire nature at the Abel Tasman National Park or learn about the Maori culture, the indigenous tribe of New Zealand.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Situated amidst nature a perfect blend of fire and ice, Iceland is truly a magical place and is on the bucket list of every traveller. You can explore the majestic volcanoes and lava rocks, historic museums, scenic views, relax in natural springs and breathtaking natural marvels like the Northern lights. The place is an exceptional place to enjoy and meet the exotic marine life and enjoy whale watching.


It is one of the most vibrant friendly countries where you can let loose in the fun and flamboyant Portugal. The place has a chilled and relaxed vibe and it is a perfect place for solo travellers.

The best time to visit Portugal is in between the months of July to September. You can enjoy surfing on the stunning beaches, canoe in the pristine Furnas lake, play with dolphins, enjoy amidst exotic wildlife at Peneda-Geres National Park and gobble up on delicious food.

Young traveller- How to travel the world at 18

For many, the inclusion of France in this list will come as no surprise, as it is the world’s most visited tourist destination. The fascinating and romantic vibes, breathtaking landscapes, delectable cuisines, and, above all, state-of-the-art tourism infrastructure are just a few of the many reasons why France holds a special place in the hearts of many travellers.



This hilly country with lush-green and snow-capped mountains, tucked away between France and Italy in Central Europe, truly evokes the image of being in a paradise.

What more can be said about this breathtakingly beautiful country than that you must visit it at least once in your lifetime?

Experiencing Switzerland’s enchanting beauty comes at a cost, but its hypnotic beauty truly speaks for itself.

What are the Cheapest countries to travel to for 18-year-olds?

Money is the biggest concern for anyone who wants to travel the world. Especially, for young travellers, it is a major concern as they usually don’t have a reliable source of income.

So, you are an 18-year-old who wants to travel the world but is limited on a budget still there are many amazing countries to explore. Now, let’s see what are the best cheapest countries to travel to for 18 year old.

Solo travelling in Thailand

Thailand is known as one of the most affordable travel destinations in the world. From accommodation to food to transportation everything is super affordable in Thailand.

It is a country that caters to every kind of person. It doesn’t matter if you are adventurous, nature lover, party animal, culture lover, foodie or beach lover, this country has something for everyone!! It offers the best nightlife in the world, rich history and culture, world-class tropical beaches, lush green landscapes and diverse wildlife to explore.


Bali is another quite affordable destination for travellers. Like Thailand, everything from accommodation to food to transportation is quite affordable in Bali. With its rich history and culture, lush green forests, tropical beaches and wild nightlife Bali is one of the best destinations for young travellers.

Philippines, Vietnam and Laos

Philippines, Vietnam, Laos

Alongside, Bali and Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Laos are other great travel destinations for young budget travellers. All these are southeastern countries with their unique beauty and cultures. So, fortunately, you can visit all these countries on a single trip.


Malaysia is often perceived as an expensive place to visit, particularly by those on a tight budget, but this is not the case. Malaysia is the place to be if you want to enjoy the best tropical weather with your friends.

Malaysia will captivate you with its breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, abundant wildlife and biodiversity, vibrant festivals, delectable cuisines, and diverse culture.

There’s so much to do in Malaysia that you’ll find yourself yearning for more. There’s plenty to keep your wanderlust satisfied, from playing with baby elephants at the elephant orphanage sanctuary to dinner along the Singapore River and a fantastic tour of the Batu Caves.


Georgia, located at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, is home to the world’s oldest wineries, stunning landscapes, ancient churches, and the world’s most generous and good-hearted people. The scenic beauty of this country, as well as the hospitality of the local people, will captivate you in every part of it.

Georgia, like Romania, is known for being one of the best countries in Europe for hitchhiking, which adds to your Georgian experience while saving you money on transportation. Not only that, but most hostels charge only $3 per night, and entry fees to tourist attractions are as low as $4 on average.

Sri Lanka

This majestic and exotic island country south of India usually flies under the radar of many budget-conscious travellers. Sri Lanka, known as the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” is home to one of the world’s largest tea plantations, as well as pristine white sandy beaches, dense national parks with diverse species, and bustling city life.

It’s a lovely place to visit with your friends for a vacation, where you can relax on the beaches and eat seafood in Colombo and Negombo.

❤️ Suggested read: 20 Best Budget-Friendly Countries to Travel with Friends

Points To Remember ✅

1) Be Confident ????: There is nothing like experiencing the thrill of venturing into new places, exploring different cultures and meeting new people. You have to be confident in your decision and believe in your dreams. You will find many options that can help you in your journey and you will make a lot of new friends on the journey.

2) Be Flexible : You are required to plan everything about your travel and double-check it just to avoid any unfortunate incidents. Having said that you can never be 100 percent sure of anything, being a bit adaptable to the situations will come in handy.

Many external factors come into play when you are solo on the road like weather conditions, local law situations or some minor health conditions during your travel. In such situations, your local friends will come to your rescue and you will realize that sometimes in life it is magical to let the control go even if it is for a short period.

3) Manage Your Finances ????: Travelling on a budget can sound frustrating but is very easy and makes your travel fun. The hidden secret to effective travelling is smart money management.

It is advised to always keep extra money apart from your calculated budget. You can try saving money on travel by opting for local transport instead of choosing to travel by taxis, staying in cheap hostels and by cooking for yourself. One of the best ways to to save money on transport is by hitchhiking and of the countries listed above are friendly towards hitchhikers .

Try and explore places that do not have an admission fee and enjoy local authentic cuisines. All these activities will not only give you innumerable experiences but will also not burn a hole in your pockets.

4) Don’t Overpack : Make sure to pack light and according to the weather conditions of the place that you will be visiting. Avoid stuffing your bag with unnecessary items, you can always buy items at the local markets.

Light luggage will not only help you in avoiding the hassle of managing too many items but you can comfortably carry the luggage on short distances.

5) Get Travel Insurance : Taking risks is one thing but taking calculated and smart risks can change the whole game. Travel insurance helps you in taking smart risks it is necessary if you have decided to travel.

In case of anything happens to you due to any reason you will be glad if you have travel insurance in place. Travelling comes with its surprises and uncertainties and you should never leave your home without travel insurance.

Let’s Talk Money

Travel money

Travelling can fill your soul but for that to happen you need to have a continuous flow of money. If you are planning to travel the world at 18 then make sure to start saving every penny that you get.

You can also try to take part-time jobs and earn an income that can help you come up with a decent amount for funding your travel. Another great option is to apply for online freelance working options, in which case you can work anywhere and at any time.

You can apply for jobs like content creation, photography, graphic designing or anything that matches your skills and expertise. The only things that you will need for freelancing will be your laptop and a good internet connection.

The cost of travelling varies from country to country that you are planning to explore. You can start your expedition from a place that is budget-friendly and fun like Iceland, Italy, France and countries in Eastern Europe. The cost per day in these countries range from somewhere between 13$ to 60$ .

Should Parents Allow 18 Years Old To Travel?

When your children decide to travel to another country it can surely come as a shock but you need to have trust and confidence in them. Travelling will be a huge learning experience for them.

You should however very well be a part of their planning and should be in contact with them at least twice every day during their travel. As parents, it is your responsibility to persuade them to accomplish what they desire in every way possible.

Is 18 old enough to travel alone?

The age of 18 is the best age to start exploring the world to gain a whole new perspective on the life across borders and cultures. That said, even though you are of legal age to drive, vote and drink in many countries, you are still very young and immature at this stage to travel alone.

Can an 18 year old travel internationally alone

Yes, being 18 you are an adult and can legally board on international flights alone unattended and are free to travel wherever you want. That said, you are also responsible for your decisions and your own safety.

❤️ Suggested read: Maldives vs Bali vs Bora Bora vs Fiji vs Seychelles: An honest comparison to help you choose!!

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Protect Your Trip »

Solo vacations: the 36 best places to travel alone in 2024.

These fun destinations make traveling on your own simple and spectacular.

Young woman overlooking beautiful valley, Molladalen, Norway.

(Getty Images) |

From beach retreats to artsy escapes, take your next solo trip to somewhere spectacular.

Waterfalls in Norway.

Perth, Australia

Aerial of Beaver Creek at night.

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Diver observing Southern stingrays as they glide over the sand in search of buried crustaceans on the Sandbar, Grand Cayman Island.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

The Eiffel Tower and River Seine in Paris, France.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Flowers and greenery in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, in the summer.

Asheville, North Carolina

Road through green hills of Tuscany, Italy.

Tuscany, Italy

Boats in harbor of Santa Barbara, California.

Santa Barbara, California

Man paddleboarding in Iceland glacier lagoon.

New York City

Toronto skyline across the water.

Seville, Spain

Beach in Naples, Florida.

Naples, Florida

Aerial of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Ljubljana, Slovenia

Seattle skyline with Mt. Rainier in the background at sunset.

Portland, Oregon

Lake Quill and Sutherland Falls in the mountains of New Zealand.

New Zealand

Souvenirs on the Jamaa el Fna market in old Medina, Marrakesh, Morocco.

Galápagos Islands

Colorful buildings in Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston, South Carolina

Aerial of the Sydney Opera House.

Athens, Greece

Beignets and a cup of coffee.

New Orleans

Aerial of river and greenery with Austin skyline in the background.

Austin, Texas

Elephants crossing a river in Sri Lanka.

San Francisco

Crown Alley in Dublin, Ireland.

Munich, Germany

Solidão Beach (Loneliness Beach) in Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Florianópolis, Brazil

Whangarei Falls in New Zealand.

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Best Cruises for 18 Year Olds (with & without parents!)

best cruises for 18 year old cruisers

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Cruises are amazing vacations for young people, but it can be hard to find the right cruise if you’re around 18 years old. Whether you’re an 18 year old wanting to go on a cruise, with or without parents, there are some different options to consider.

A cruise is a great way to visit multiple destinations, try new foods, meet new people, and experience exciting activities!

However, cruise lines have different policies when it comes to treating 18-21 year olds as adults. In addition, some cruise ships offer more activities for younger cruisers than others.

As someone in my early 20s, I have first-hand experience cruising as an 18-year-old, and I can confidently say that it is one of the best ways to travel!

That said, many people wonder if it’s even possible to cruise as an 18-year-old without parents.

Which raises the question…

Can You Book a Cruise at 18 Years Old?

Yes, you can book a cruise at 18 and travel without your parents. However, only certain cruise lines allow this, and it depends on the destinations. Most cruises leaving out of the United States require their guests to be 21 to travel independently.

What Cruises Can You Go on Alone at 18 Years Old?


Virgin Voyages, P&O Cruises, and Marella Cruises allow passengers over 18 years old to cruise independently. Select American and European cruise lines like Celebrity Cruises, MSC, Disney, and Royal Caribbean allow guests under 18 to sail without a guardian on European itineraries.

In this article, I share the top 8 cruises for 18-year-olds, both with and without parents. We also explore the perks of cruising when between 18 and 21 years of age. Finally, I share my firsthand cruise experience as a young adult who has cruised with my parents.

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click and buy that I may make a commission, at no cost to you. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

8 Best Cruises For 18 Year Olds

There are a few cruise lines that are suitable for 18-year-olds. Although each cruise line has pros and cons, you will have a good time no matter which one you choose.

1. Virgin Voyages

travelling alone 18 year old

Virgin Voyages is a newer cruise line known for being 18 plus. This means that passengers, or sailors as Virgin calls them, must be over 18 or older to sail with the cruise line.

As an adult-only cruise line , you wont find any kids onboard a Virgin cruise ship!

If you’re an 18-year-old looking for a cruise ship where you can drink, party, meet new people, and enjoy amazing food, then Virgin Voyages is the cruise line for you.

On Virgin, you’ll experience deck parties, pool parties, risque entertainment, nightclubs, themed events, beach parties, great food and more!

The cool thing about Virgin is that this cruise line allows passengers who are 18 and older sail without a legal guardian. Virgin also permits cruisers over 18 to drink and gamble on their cruise ship, as long as they are 12 nautical miles away from an American cruise port and in international waters.

Overall, Virgin Voyages is the perfect cruise line for an 18-year-old looking to meet new people or vacation with friends!

Related: Why Virgin Voyages Is the Ultimate Cruise Line for Young Adults

2. Royal Caribbean

Royal-Caribbean cruises

Royal Caribbean cruises are perfect for adventure seekers, as their cruise ships feature rock climbing walls, zip lines, water slides, ice skating, surfing simulators, and more!

Royal Caribbean cruises sailing out of North America require guests to be 21 years of age to sail unaccompanied by an adult. However, Royal Caribbean allows 18-year-olds to cruise individually for sailings out of South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

The best thing about Royal Caribbean ships is that there is always something to do.

During sea days , you can relax in the hot tubs, participate in poolside activities, or play on the basketball court. In the evenings, there are awesome shows, live music, and night parties in the club.

The cool thing about cruising with Royal Caribbean is that there will be a lot of passengers around your age. On the first day, make sure to check out a hosted meetup for 18 to 20-year-olds.

Even if you’re cruising with your parents and other family members, you’ll have a great time!

Royal Caribbean is known for having the best private island out of any cruise line (Perfect Day at Cococay). There are beautiful beaches, pools, included restaurants, water parks, zip lining, a hot air balloon, and more. If your cruise stops at Cococay, you’re in for an amazing day!

Cruising with Royal Caribbean will be a memorable vacation and a great way to visit fantastic destinations while making new friends.

3. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian cruise Breakaway

Norwegian is another cruise line known for its fun activities and great nightlife. On Norwegian Cruise Line ships , you will find water slides, laser tag, ropes courses, and even go-karting!

Norwegian Cruise Line requires their guest to be 21 to travel without a guardian. However, Norwegian allows passengers 18 years and older to drink beer and wine as long as they get consent from their legal guardians.

The cool thing about cruising with Norwegian is that plenty of young people will be onboard. This means you will have no trouble making friends and finding other young adults to hang out with.

As an 18-year-old, you will have tons of fun on a Norwegian cruise. There are always fun activities going on around the cruise ship, and there are multiple venues that are active in the evening times.

Overall, Norwegian is the perfect cruise line for an 18-year-old who is active and likes to have fun. There is never a dull moment on a Norwegian cruise, from the morning to late at night!

Related: What’s Included on Norwegian Cruise Line and What Is Not

4. MSC Cruises


MSC Cruises is an Italian cruise line known for its beautiful ships, fun activities, and enjoyable evening entertainment. MSC Cruises have unique activities like an F1 simulator, 4D cinema, and Robotron, an exciting thrill ride.

While MSC has great cruises for families , there are a large number of young adults who cruise with MSC. You’ll definitely be able to meet new people.

MSC’s nightlife features live music, fantastic entertainment, and a DJ. The itineraries are great too!

Unless you travel with your parents, you can only cruise with MSC out of the United States if you’re 21 or older. However, you can cruise independently with MSC if the cruise ship does not stop at a U.S. port.

For Caribbean itineraries, the drinking age onboard MSC is 21. Although, all other itineraries have a drinking age of 18 years old.

Overall, MSC is a great cruise line for 18-year-old cruisers, young adults and college students. They have a great mix of fun activities and an exciting nightlife, so you will never be bored.

Related: 6 Best Cruise Lines For College Students

Get The Ultimate Cruise Planner

Regular price: $27 now just $17.

travelling alone 18 year old

5. Carnival Cruise Line

travelling alone 18 year old

Carnival Cruise Line is one of the most popular cruise lines in the world. Carnival ships are known for having tons of activities, great casual dining options, and a party atmosphere.

Onboard Carnival cruise ships, you will find ropes courses, mini golf, water slides, splash parks, a sports court, and even a roller coaster on certain cruise ships! If you’re an adventurous 18-year-old, you will love the activities onboard a Carnival cruise.

Since Carnival is a family-friendly cruise line , younger crowds will be onboard. This means there will be many younger adults around your age cruising with you.

Guests are required to be 21 years of age to cruise alone and to consume alcoholic beverages on Carnival. However, you can cruise with Carnival if you are accompanied by someone 25 years old and older.

The nightlife onboard a Carnival cruise line is extremely fun. You will have a great time watching the comedy shows, participating in game shows, or dancing the night away at the nightclub!

Related: What’s Included on a Carnival Cruise – Everything You Need to Know

6. Disney Cruise Line

Disney cruise ship

If you’re a Disney lover, you should check out Disney Cruises! Disney is known for having fun, family-friendly, Disney-themed cruises.

Onboard a Disney cruise, there are Disney-themed restaurants, character meetups, and water slides. There is also a relaxing adult-only area, a fitness center, and nightclubs and lounges open in the evening.

You must be 21 to cruise alone if you’re sailing with Disney out of the United States. However, you can cruise with Disney alone at 18 if you leave from Europe.

Disney isn’t a budget cruise line and the cruise fares are pretty expensive, so this might be something to consider when choosing the best cruise for young people.

If you want to drink on a Disney cruise, you must be 21 years old. However, Disney is not a booze cruise it has a more family-friendly vibe.

Overall, Disney is an excellent choice for Disney lovers! If you’ve been to Disneyland and Disneyworld and want to experience something different, you will love cruising with Disney.

Related: 60 Cruise Packing Tips & Hacks All Cruisers Need to Know

7. Celebrity Cruises


If you want a more upscale and laid-back cruising experience, check out Celebrity Cruises . Celebrity is known for having beautiful cruise ships, great food, and a relaxed vibe.

Celebrity Cruises isn’t a party cruise line like Virgin Voyages, Carnival , or NCL, so don’t expect a wild nightlife. Cruise passengers on Celebrity are more generally more laid back and enjoy grabbing a drink at the bar, reading a book, or watching a show in the evening.

Fellow guests on Celebrity tend to be on the older side. However, younger cruisers are often during the holidays and summer.

As an 18-year-old, there are still ways to have fun on Celebrity. They have great activities happening throughout the day, dance classes, and shows in the evening time.

On Celebrity, you won’t be able to cruise alone as an 18-year-old. However, you can cruise with Celebrity if you are in a cabin with someone who is over the age of 25.

8. Princess Cruises

Princess cruise ship

Similarly to Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruise Line aren’t big party cruise ships. Princess cruises are known for their unique itineraries, excellent food options, and amazing service.

If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway, then a Princess cruise is for you. Onboard a Princess cruise ship, there are many areas to relax, look at the water, and read a book. Plus, there are tons of fun activities and entertainment both during the day and evening.

As an 18-year-old, you may have trouble meeting passengers your age while cruising during the off-season. However, if you cruise during the holidays or over the summer, several 18-25 year olds will likely be onboard.

As an 18-year-old, you won’t be able to cruise on Princess alone. However, you can cruise on Princess if someone above the age of 21 accompanies you.

Overall, Princess is a great cruise line for someone looking for a laid-back and enjoyable experience.

Honourable Mentions:

  • P&O Cruises
  • Marella Cruises

Can You Drink on a Cruise at 18?

All passengers must be 21 years old to consume alcohol on a cruise except on European, Australian, and South American itineraries. Parents must also consent to their children drinking alcoholic beverages on the cruise. The only exception is Virgin Voyages, which permits 18-year-old guests to drink in international waters.

Can You Gamble on a Cruise at 18?

Guests must be 18 to gamble in the casino, play bingo, and participate in gambling-related games on most mainstream cruise lines. Some cruise lines require passengers to be 21 to gamble in certain places like Alaska or the U.S. waters.

best cruises for 18 year olds with & without parents

What Is it Like to Cruise as an 18 Year Old?

As someone in my early twenties, it hasn’t been too long since I’ve cruised as an 18-year-old. Whether it’s your first cruise or your first cruise as an adult, cruising is a fun experience and a great way to travel.

Here is my firsthand experience of cruising as an 18-year-old:

Meeting New People

As an 18-year-old, you can no longer go to the teen club. This can be difficult for teenage cruisers who spent years hanging out in the kid’s and teen club on cruise ships.

This means that you’ll have to make an effort to meet people by going to bars and clubs, participating in activities, and talking to other passengers on the lido deck .

Making friends on a cruise isn’t very hard as a young adult. However, you must step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to strangers.

Drinking and Gambling

Since most cruise lines require guests to be 21 years old to drink, you cannot consume alcoholic beverages. However, you can still have a good time without drinking on a cruise ship.

In fact, I went on many cruises before the age of 21, where I had fun without consuming alcohol. You can still enter the clubs, bars, and casinos and participate in the nightlife.

If you’re into gambling, you can go to the casino. The casino is quite busy in the evenings, and it’s a good place to meet new people.

Choosing a Cruise Line

When it comes to a cruise vacation, choosing the right cruise line can make or break your trip. It’s important to research the cruise line in advance and to choose something that fits your budget and style of travel.

Check out Virgin Voyages, NCL, and Carnival if you want a fun party ship. These cruises tend to attract younger cruisers, and they are tons of fun!

Royal Caribbean and MSC are perfect for you if you’re looking for a cruise line with a balance of fun activities, good nightlife, and relaxing areas. These cruise lines attract a mix of families and older cruisers who are young at heart!

Princess and Celebrity are great choices if you’re looking for a relaxing, upscale cruise experience. These cruise lines offer great service, tasty food, and have many areas to sit back, relax, and recharge.

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Final Thoughts On The Best Cruises For 18 Year Olds

Well, there it is, everything you need to know about cruising as an 18-year-old!

Cruising as an 18-year-old may seem intimidating. However, it isn’t as challenging as it may seem.

A cruise is one of the best options if you’re an 18-year-old who wants to travel and explore new places. Instead of organizing a big trip, you can pay for a cruise, and most of the planning is done for you.

On a cruise, even if you’re cruising solo , you will always have food and a place to sleep, and you can book excursions through the cruise line. This makes cruising is a stress-free style of travel.

The great thing about cruising is that meeting new people is easy because everyone is on vacation. If you choose the right cruise, you will meet many people your age and make new friends.

Whether solo traveling or with your family, a cruise is a great time, and you will enjoy it!

In this post, I shared the best cruise lines for 18-year-olds bothn with and without parents. As a young adult who has been on over 30 cruises, I also shared my cruising experience as an 18-21 year old.

Have you taken a cruise as a young adult or with your own kids of that age? Please let me know in the comments below.

Happy Cruising!

If you found this article helpful, please pass it along. Please feel free to share on Facebook or PIN to your favorite Pinterest board (share buttons at the top). Thanks so much!

Author Bio: Ethan Schattauer has been cruising since he was in preschool! As a frequent cruiser, Ethan now shares his unique perspective on what cruising is like for teens and young adults. Ethan is a freelance writer and also writes about men’s fashion, travel and college advice on the website .

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How Traveling Solo at 18-Years-Old Prepared Me For College

Courtney Lambert

Writer, Traveler


"Today I visited an 83- year-old man who looks like he's 60. He lives on two acres of land, which is abounding with every fruit tree imaginable. He has vines of the greenest, fullest spinach leaves creeping up tree trunks and enormous mango trees blossoming with fruit. He said that birds will eat and eat, becoming so intoxicated with fruit that they will literally fall off the trees! Every morning I wake up and take a little shortcut to the beach. I love the beach here because they have left all the palms and paper trees growing along the shore, and there are no condos, walls or people. We let the dogs run, and we just swim or walk forever."

This is an email I sent from Cairns, Australia in 2006 when I was traveling by myself at 18-years-old.

The summer before I left home for college, my mother packed me up and whisked me off to Oz for a month. I remember not feeling too thrilled about this golden opportunity. I had my first boyfriend and we were inseparable. I also had a full itinerary of activities planned, such as laying out at the beach, Haagan Daz dates with friends at the mall and shopping at Abercrombie & Fitch. According to me, travel would devastate my perfect final summer vacation before college and I had so much to prepare before the fall semester started. Despite my teen 'tude, momma booked the flight, contacted some friends and family that live down under and flung me like a boomerang to the other side of the world.

This was me: a typical American teenager in the early 2000s. Gap years were virtually unheard of in the US. Instead, you had steps to follow and deadlines to meet. You were filling out college applications, shopping for dorm supplies at Target and dreaming of finally reaching the sacred threshold of "adult life", although you had no clue what you wanted to do, or maybe even had no idea who you were as an individual (most kids in my freshman college writing class didn't even know what a thesis statement was).

Cairns, Australia was the final stop on my month long excursion. My time spent there had a lasting impact on me, jump-starting a love of travel that continues to influence my life choices to this day, like when I quit my job, sold my belongings and set off for Southeast Asia with a backpack as an adult.


I stayed with my quirky godmother and her family in her seaside abode with a yard overrun by guinea pigs, fragrant tropical flowers and a natural fence line of towering bamboo. She was best friends with my mother at boarding school in Sri Lanka during the 60s and 70s. At 25-years-old, she did the unthinkable and embarked on a solo trip around the world.

She was unlike any person I'd ever met; a vibrant thinker with a wild spirit and youthful glow, taking life day by day with the ability to find joy in the smallest cracks and corners. Her unbelievable tales of far off lands captivated and inspired me. She wasn't financially wealthy, laughed at the white picket fence and didn't "follow the rules." Instead, she chased challenges, created happiness, lived selflessly and reveled in the good and bad. As an American girl who had been spoon fed the ideology that going to school, graduating college and acing a career was the spice of a successful life, her nature was foreign to me. These experiences are what made her so rich; not sitting at a cubicle day by day with a framed degree on the wall. A small voice piqued up from deep within my young soul and whispered: You can do it too.

My godmother took my hand and taught me how to travel. Cairns was a dream world. I bungee jumped above sprawling jungle canopy, spied crocodiles wading in a murky river that carved through a 135-year-old rain forest, got up close and personal with Goliath clams that glowed neon purple in the Great Barrier Reef and gorged myself on juicy tropical fruits I had never heard of before. You can read my original post on Cairns here .


I partook in activities I never thought I'd have the cojones to do and accepted that losing track of time, not being consistently productive and doing nothing is OK. Most importantly, I discovered the world is stunning, mainly because of how a person's story can work in remarkable ways to rewrite someone else's story. The old man mentioned in my email; he lived alone on a large orchard. My godmother visited him every week, just to give him company, to show him that he wasn't forgotten. When she took me to meet him, I'll never forget happiness in his eyes a short visit from another person had brought him. It changed my perspective on what being successful means and that living is never simple, yet simple living yields an abundance of wealth.

It is the season of graduation for 18-year-olds across the US, including my cousin and soon, my younger sister. Remember, the world keeps spinning, and with each generation the trends, technology and expectations will keep evolving. But, one thing always remains the same: the thrilling yet confusing in between of child to adult. I urge you to reach for more than just good grades, cute clothes, the ultimate party or the most likes on a photo. If you need a break, take it. If you aren't ready, it's OK to wait. If you have the chance to travel, whether for leisure, study or to volunteer- go. School, a career and bills will always be there when you return.

Don't let them tell you it's dangerous out there, or that you're too young. Don't let them tell you that you're doing it wrong and traveling now will hurt you in the future. Travel isn't a vacation and it isn't a reward for good behavior. It's always a lesson, one that you don't see coming, challenging you to question and discover the unknown. It prepares you to view life and the world with a fresh breath of clean air from the peak of the tallest mountain when all your life you've only breathed the same stagnant air of the valley down below.

Read more about my travels on my travel blog: A Great Perhaps

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travelling alone 18 year old

so I'm 18 years old 19 in November but I'm looking to do a solo travel in the summer as my friends are planning on club destinations which isn't me, and my other friends can't afford to go anywhere so that leaves me desperate and seriously considering going alone.

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For your first solo trip why not stay closer to home?

Italy certainly has lots of art/museums/culture and of course so does Paris!

You can stay in hostels and meet lots of other folks who are traveling.

You can ask on the NYC forum about hotels because there are fewer hostel type places and some are difficult to check in unless you are older especially if you don't have a credit card. I wouldn't be worried about safety much in NYC if you just have good sense!! I started traveling throughout the city there alone when I was in my early teens!!!

I would recommend Lisbon or Barcelona, both laid out cities, close to the beach, with many artsy places, museums, culture, good places to shop, affordable for you, close to home and reasonably safe.

Think of staying in a hostel to get to know other travelers. If a dorm room is too much, try to stay in a single room since many hostels do provide them. Some, especially the ones in Lisbon, organize cheap dinners, pub crawls and many other activities. The good ones in Barcelona tend to sold out easily.

As you can imagine there are endless possibilities for your travel. With a little more of insight of what you like and dislike might be easier to pin point more particular locations.

All the best,

As you have already been to New York and Washington, I'd suggest a first USA trip to Boston. Lovely small city that is easily walkable, but also has excellent public transport for trips to Cambridge. Culturally, Boston has plenty to offer, and the shopping is very good too. I went one winter, and although bitterly cold, it had been snowing and the city was breath takingly beautiful.

From some of the previous responses, I'd look at Barcelona, Rome, Athens, Istanbul. If you are focused on the US, check out Philadelphia, Boston, or how about New Orleans.

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity.

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Unaccompanied Minor Program

Program details, unaccompanied minor travel journey.

If your child is traveling alone as an unaccompanied minor, an adult (18 years old or older) must accompany the minor through the check-in process and pick up the child at their destination. Review the process to help your unaccompanied minor prepare for their flight.

How to Book

To determine eligibility and book a reservation for an unaccompanied minor, you must contact Reservations at 800-325-8847 to ensure that the travel is permitted and correctly documented. When you book, the adult making the reservation will provide a 4-digit PIN configuration that will be required to make any changes to the itinerary.

Getting Ready to Fly

When it’s time to travel, we recommend talking with your child about the journey, reminding them only to speak to Delta Air Lines representatives if they need anything. Remind them not to leave the gate area at any time and notify Delta if your child has any special needs. When packing, we recommend bringing:

  • Snacks, games, books or other entertainment
  • A single, small carry-on like a backpack, so nothing’s left behind
  • A checked suitcase for larger items, which your child and accompanying adult can pick up after their flight
  • An ID card contact information attached to your child’s carry-on bag or jacket

Required Check-In Documents

When you arrive at the airport, please see a Delta Airport Customer Service Agent for information regarding drop-off and pick-up for unaccompanied minor travel. You will receive a  wristband for your child to wear in-flight and create a package of boarding documents and ID for your child to use as they travel. At check-in, the accompanying adult must provide the following:

  • Photo ID (license, passport, etc.)
  • Address (as shown on ID)
  • Contact phone number
  • Name, address and phone number of the adult meeting the unaccompanied minor at their destination

Unaccompanied Minor Boarding & Takeoff

A parent or designated accompanying adult must take the unaccompanied minor to the departure gate and remain until the flight has left the ground. 

If the minor is connecting though another city, the child will be assisted by a Delta or business partner employee.

  • Delta recommends that children be seated in the rear of the aircraft to be near a flight attendant for safety
  • For questions or concerns, please contact Delta Air Lines at 800-325-8847 (U.S./Canada/Guam/Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands) or find numbers for all other locations

Delta Sky Zone

If your child has a connecting flight through Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, New York (JFK), Los Angeles, Memphis, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City or Seattle, we offer Delta Sky Zones for their entertainment. In these children-only areas, children flying alone can wait for connections, use complimentary phones to call parents/guardians and take advantage of activities like books, toys and video games. Staffed by Delta representatives, your child will find staff members always there to help them feel secure and comfortable.

Unaccompanied Minor Pick-Up

A valid ID must be presented and signature captured of the person meeting the child. Delta will not release to anyone other than the person named. A parent or accompanying adult should report to the destination airport two hours before scheduled arrival to obtain a gate pass. Please note:

  • If the pickup person at the destination changes, the accompanying adult must call Delta at 800-325-8847 to provide the new information.
  • Upon arrival, if someone other than the person named at check-in is at the destination to pick up the child, a Delta representative will contact the original accompanying adult to verify the identification of the pickup person at the destination.
  • The pickup person at the destination will typically be issued a gate pass to pick up the unaccompanied minor at the gate. In some locations, the pickup person will be directed to the local Delta Baggage Service Office for pickup.
  • At the point of departure, the accompanying adult must remain at the gate until the flight is off the ground.

Unaccompanied Minor Program Fees & Rules

The Unaccompanied Minor Program requires a fee of $150 USD/CAD/EUR each way, with CAD and EUR used when departing Canada or Europe. This fee applies to travel within the United States and International on both nonstop and connecting flights, in addition to the ticketed adult fare.

  • The $150 fee is mandatory for children ages 5-14, and for 15-17-year-olds if a parent chooses to enroll in the unaccompanied minor program
  • The fee covers up to 4 children if multiple children, such as siblings, are traveling together
  • The fee can be paid one-way or round-trip at the time of check in or in advance by calling
  • Unaccompanied Minors must be ticketed on an adult fare
  • Travel is permitted on Delta and Delta Connection
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  • Unaccompanied Minors can only connect to other Delta, Delta Connection, Air France, KLM and Aeromexico flights
  • Travel is not permitted on the last connecting flight of the day, except in markets with only one flight per day.
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  • Connecting to/from international flights
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Unaccompanied Minor Frequently Asked Questions

A Delta Air Lines employee will take your child on board before general boarding begins. This allows time to:

  • Introduce your child to the flight attendants
  • Introduce your child to the cockpit crew, time permitting
  • Take your child to his or her seat and assist with carry-on items
  • Familiarize your child with the safety features of the aircraft
  • Advise your child of lavatory locations
  • Inform your child if assistance is required to contact a flight attendant and to remain in their seat upon landing as a flight attendant will get them when it is time to deplane

No. You will be asked to say goodbye in the terminal area because access is restricted to ticketed passengers only. We do ask, however, that you stay in the gate area until the child's plane takes off in the event the flight returns to the gate.

A badged employee will meet your child's arriving flight. If your child's connection time is short, the unaccompanied minor escort will take your child directly to the connecting departure and will escort him or her on board.

If your child's layover is longer, the employee will take him or her to the Delta Sky Zone or other secure location, and turn the ticket and the Unaccompanied Minor over to the next Delta Air Lines representatives in the room (the employee keeps your child's documentation until it is time to go to the connecting flight). Another representative will escort your child onto the connecting flight at the appropriate time and introduce him or her to the flight attendants.

If we have any indication that your child’s flight may not operate as scheduled, we'll advise you and suggest that you book travel for another day. If the delay or cancellation occurs en route, Delta employees will:

  • Rebook your child on the next available departure to their destination
  • Stay with your child until they can be boarded on an alternate flight
  • Contact the person at the destination who is designated to pick up the child and/or the person listed as the emergency contact. We will continue to attempt contact until contact is made

Under very rare circumstances, an overnight may be required (e.g. a major snowstorm). In these situations, we will provide overnight and meal accommodations for your child. And a Delta employee(s) will provide supervision to ensure your child's safety during an overnight stay. You will be contacted with pertinent information if this unusual circumstance occurs.

Enrollment in the Delta Air Lines Unaccompanied Minor program is mandatory for children 5 to 14. If you prefer that your 15 to 17-year-old travel without supervision, please advise the agent at the time of the reservation and it will be noted. Your child will be expected to handle boarding and deplaning as well as transfers to connecting gates on their own.

  • Remind your teenager never to leave the airport for any reason unless accompanied by a badged Delta employee or uniformed police officer until they have reached their destination city
  • She or he should never seek help from or leave the airport with strangers
  • Provide your teenager with instructions, phone contacts and a small amount of money for food in the unlikely event their flight is missed, delayed, canceled or rerouted
  • Remind your teenager that they can seek the assistance of any Delta employee if they have questions, concerns or need reassurance
  • Remember most hotels will not accept young people who are not accompanied by an adult

Yes. If you are dropping off or picking up your minor but opted out of the Unaccompanied Minor program, we will issue you a pass to accompany your child to the gate. Please check with an airport agent at the time of check-in to have the gate pass issued.

Due to safety concerns, gate passes are not issued for the person picking up the minor (15-17) unless they are enrolled in the Unaccompanied Minor program.

Yes. International UMNR travel resumed April 1, 2021. However, there are some restrictions on travel based on individual country requirements or travel on other airlines. Contact Reservations at 800-325-8847 for more detail related to international travel for UMNRs.

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travelling alone 18 year old

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Teens Traveling Abroad Alone

Related Pages:   Unsupervised Group Trips ​  ...  Travel Programs for Teens  ...  Family Trips with Teenagers  ...  Kids Flying Alone

Parent Q&A

Select any title to view the full question and replies.

Unaccompanied Minor Overseas

My son will be going to France this summer to visit a friend. I've scoured the internet to figure out what is required for him to travel unaccompanied without much luck. From what I can tell, France has no requirements. However, entry into the US he will need to have a certified letter that he is allowed to travel either alone or with his host. Does anyone have experience with this? Is this correct? He will be returning with our friends but is flying to France alone. Most information on the US side that I've found is about children traveling with school groups. He is a responsible 15 year old. Are there any specific forms we need to fill out? We are considering getting him Global Entry to make the customs process easier. I'd appreciate any information from people with experience.

No responses received.

Teen Travel to South Korea

My seventeen-year-old daughter will be graduating from high school in June and she and three of her friends are planning on traveling to South Korea for two weeks in July. They are planning on doing this trip without parents or chaperons of any sort. All four of them will be 18 at the time of travel so technically they are old enough to make such a decision (although I’m not so sure they can get a hotel room or rent a car at this age).

My concern is that I know so little about how safe it is (or isn’t) for young people to travel in Asia alone. Particularly young ladies. I would like to be supportive of this adventure since my daughter is doing all the legwork to plan the travel, work for the money to pay for the travel and seems to feel secure enough to do the travel. I want her to be safe and to not get into a scary situation that someone could have warned us about. So, to this end, I’m asking advice from others who may know more about South Korea and the pitfalls or matters that four 18-year-old young ladies have no ideas about. Either personal experiences or knowledge or ideas on where a Nervous Nelly Mom can find out more details.

Hi there - I have not traveled to South Korea so am not commenting specifically on that country. But my family is from England and other parts of Europe and it is not merely common but in fact expected that young people will travel worldwide alone starting at about 17. Travel at 18 with no parents is very very common. You can definitely book hotel rooms and youth hostels! Literally all my relatives did this, as did all their friends at that age, taking what is known there as a "gap year" before uni. I myself traveled all over Europe when I was about 19, alone - not even with friends (and I am a woman born and raised in CA). I had a great time and learned a great deal about myself, with a few misadventures! I have also traveled very extensively alone in Asia from my mid 20s to 40s - and pretty much never had any issues. I experienced much more harassment in Europe and countries like Morocco and Turkey, even with a boyfriend or husband in tow. Asia is, in my opinion, much safer - at least from the locals. The only thing I'd flag is if they spend time in typical backpacker hangouts, they will meet some idiot fellow travelers who will behave badly in their host country, score drugs and do other unwise things. Tell her to make very good choices re who she spends time with, and don't be an offensive American behaving terribly and offending people in a fairly conservative culture, just because it feels like they're far from home and there'll be no parental consequences.

Having traveled to South Korea and elsewhere in Asia as a lone female grad student in her early 20s, I would venture to say it's generally very safe, almost certainly safer than it is here! SK is a very advanced country and very welcoming of visitors (lots of things in English). I think it would depend on your daughter and her friends' experiences with travel and just generally being aware of safety precautions and using common sense. If she is doing all the planning and financing for this trip, she sounds like she has a solid head on her shoulders.

They should easily be able to use a cell phone at all times from there, SK is more high tech than we are. You could keep in touch through imessage or WhatsApp.

That said, 18 is still young and I understand your concern as well. Feel free to message me if you have more questions.

I travelled to South Korea as an adult woman, with another adult woman and felt it was extremely safe. I am black, and had heard that racism could be an issue, but ended up having no negative experiences. I really enjoyed myself. A younger coworker of mine taught English in South Korea as a young woman (she travelled there alone) several years ago and she speaks very fondly of the experience. I think South Korea is one of the safest countries in Asia your daughter could travel to. The health care is excellent in case she ends of needing medical care, and it is easy and safe to travel around (language barrier aside).

South Korea is very safe. My wife and 10 year old went there last year and had a blast. The subway is excellent and super easy to use. I recommend for tours. Must sees: DMZ/JSA, Gyeongju, and JeJe Island. 

ADHD meds while student is traveling abroad

 Hello all, my 21-year-old daughter is planning on traveling in South America and Asia in the next few months. She takes ADHD medication and gets a  monthly prescription to be filled, three slips at a time.  Have anyone dealt with how one fills these monthly prescriptions while abroad? Any information would be much appreciated! Thank you. 

I would call her doctor and ask if she can get all of the medication she needs in advance so she can travel with it. The other option would be for you to pick it up and mail it to her. Unfortunately they are stricter with ADHD meds so they may be unable to do more than one prescription at a time. Her doctor would be where I would start as I don’t know if you can get prescriptions filled overseas. Good luck

Go to the pharmacy, tell them to call the insurance co., and to get authorization for multiple refills all at once for her to take with her. Also get extra written Rxs to pack along, in case they get lost or stolen, so she can refill wherever she is.

Very hard to fill prescriptions abroad!! Find out if your insurance has a way for you to do medication via mail in for 3 months at a time. Ours did so my daughter could have enough meds for a semester abroad. The difficulty tho with ADHD meds  are they are very valuable & ppl may steal them to sell. Also ADHD kid ma be more likely to misplace. So you & she will need a back up plan! Like a doctor lined up ahead of time that could have her records or who she could bring records too AND a safe place to hide her meds?

good luck. 

ID for 16-year-old flying alone?

My 16yo daughter will be flying from Oakland to LA in a couple of weeks. I'm completely confident about her ability to handle the flight -- she is a seasoned traveler who has done much longer flights without an adult. But what's the process for photo ID when a teen flies alone? Her passport just expired, she doesn't have a driver's license yet, and a state photo ID would probably take too long to process. Do I need to go to the counter or the security line with her?

My teenage son and daughter have flown alone several times on Southwest.  My understanding is that TSA does not require valid photo ID for anyone under 18, and airlines match this.  On Southwest, no ID was required for my 15 year old.  We always sent along her school ID knowing that it wasn't valid, but she was not asked for any ID, either by Southwest when checking a bag or by the TSA agent.  When my son flew alone at age 16, he had his driver's license and used it since he had it. 

Might want to check with the airline. United says that a school photo id is acceptable:

My daughter turned 18 this past September and flew alone a couple times before turning 18.  I don't remember her being asked for ID at all -- I think she was just asked to say her name. I may have shown my own ID at the counter, though I have already forgotten.  Definitely did not have to go to the security line with her.

I'd go to the DMV today to get her a state ID card. The processing time for driver's licenses has been really fast (about a week). They'll tell you 6-8 weeks but it isn't taking that long. I'd also go to your local passport office and order a rush renewal. My wallet got stolen a few days before a trip and my passport was expired. It was a nightmare. I was able to get past security in SF because I had signed up for Clear in the past. But coming home was terrible. I had my expired passport with me, my temporary driver's license, an original birth certificate, a certified marriage license, and a police report and I barely made it onto the plane. Remember that you won't be with her for her return flight so I wouldn't rely on you being able to get her through security.

I believe she can use her expired passport to prove her ID. You can also get a pass at the counter when she checks in that will allow you to go through security and take her all the way to the gate. You should probably call the airline to be sure. Does she have a school ID? That should work too.

My son got his CA ID from El Cerrito DMV last week - it came in under 7 days including the weekend. 

Airport security asks how old a person is. If they say "under 18" (and look over 12 and under 18), no ID is required.

My son has been flying solo since age 12.  A school ID will suffice for flights within the US.It's good for your child to fly with some ID in any case.  Carrying the expired passport along is another option.  You can also call SWA (1800- I FLY SWA)  and ask them-no charge for a question.  If you find out anything different, let us know.

Original poster here... Thanks for all the helpful advice!

It all went fine. I called Southwest to get more clarification, then went to the check-in counter with her to make sure that there weren't any issues. There weren't and she had a great trip. On her return flight she was traveling with her friend's family and that, too, was smooth sailing.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Passport and forgetful teen, 22-y-o son travelling alone to europe, 18-year-old boys travelling to europe, almost-15-year-old traveling alone from europe.

My 14 year old will be traveling abroad, mostly with adult family members, but one lap will be with her 16-year-old cousin. I arranged for the unaccompanied minors supervision, but would like to know about how she should carry her passport, so as to reduce the likelihood of losing it. She has lost glasses, so I don't have total confidence in her ability to remember things. What I'm looking for are ideas about how to help her hold on to the passport and any other important documents. a little nervous

My 13 yr old son has just returned from a trip to New Zealand by himself as an unaccompanied minor on Air New Zealand. On Air NZ the staff kept hold of his passport, customs form and boarding passes from the time of check-in until he was met by his pick- up on both trips, there and back. But as a precaution I also bought him the ''REI Water- Resistant Document Organizer'' ($12.50) and said he had to wear this at all times on his plane trip to carry any important document, like tickets, boarding passes, etc. and stressed that the most important was the passport if it was given back to him during the trip (which it wasn't). When he arrived in NZ the staff handed the passport to his uncle who picked him up and his uncle kept hold of that plus his holder until his return trip. You should ask the airline if they follow a similar procedure. Sui

My daughter, who is almost 12, is quite forgetful as well. Under ordinary circumstances, she can lose anything that's not stapled to her. Honestly. (Ok, I haven't actually stapled anything to her.) But last year she and her sister (then 8) traveled back from France as unaccompanied minors, and she really rose to the occasion: not only did she have no trouble keeping track of her passport, but she took care of her sister and even helped translate for some of the non-English-speaking UMs on the flight.

So my guess is that your daughter will understand how important this is and rise to the occasion. But for added peace of mind, I recommend getting her a neck pouch from REI for important documents -- she can wear the string around her waist and tuck the pouch into jeans or shorts; it's like an extra-secure pocket. It's also a good idea to scan her passport and email the image to yourself (and/or her)... in case the passport does get lost, you can access a copy of it from anywhere with an internet connection. Sounds like a great trip!

There is a simple silk/cloth holder worn around the waist (inside of your clothes) that is easily accessible to the wearer but not others. The passport slips easily into it. They are easily available at all travel stores. It may sound bulky or difficult but I wore one and found it simple, efficient, and inexpensive. traveler

I lost my passport multiple times when traveling as a teen. It was ok, we figured out to get it replaced -- for me, that was part of learning how to become more responsible. For the trip itself, you can give your teen a way to ''wear'' the passport and other documents around her neck or waist, they sell items like that at REI and other outdoor clothing stores. once forgetful teen

My 22 yr. old son wants to travel to Europe for three weeks this summer. He is starting in Athens and from there to Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, Venice, Florence, Rome, Sicily. I am looking for advice from parents of kids who have traveled via hostels/train through parts of Europe on their own. Did they meet a lot of people through traveling or were they on their own a lot of the time? He doesn't know whether to try and find someone to go with him or not. He has no problems on his own but I am hoping he will meet up with other kids his age doing the same summer-type travel and make new friends. Is this what happens? Also, what is your suggestion on how to get around and how to find places (hostels the best) to stay. Does he make reservations in advance or figure it out while he is there? Are there travel agencies that specialize in this type of adventure? anon

I am not the parent of a kid who has traveled alone to Europe, but I did the Railpass thing in Europe on my own a couple of times when I was in my early- to mid-twenties; I was working for a guide book. First of all, congratulations on having an independent kid with a curiosity about the world. That's great. He can have a wonderful and not particularly lonely time on his own, because one is rarely actually on one's own in these situations -- there are so many young people from around the world who follow the same routes, so he can join up or part ways as he wishes, which can be better than being bound to a friend. I would advise him to buy one of the travel guides and ''study'' in advance to make up his itinerary and get basic important info. I wrote for Let's Go, but there are lots of other options now, like Lonely Planet, so he can browse at the bookstore to see which fits his personal style and needs best. The guides will give him info about documents, money, communications, etc as well as cultural and historical info. I don't know of any travel agency that helps to plan this kind of travel, though the student travel agency at Cal offers low-price airfares, railpasses, international student IDs, etc.

Where a traveler should stay depends very much on the local culture and the traveler's budget. I carried a tent and sleeping bag and camped at campsites, and I also stayed in youth hostels. Occasionally I would splash out for a B, but usually I couldn't afford it. Campsites were often designed more for RVs, though I found some really nice ones and in some countries (Scandinavia) you can just pitch your tent in the countryside. In some cities/countries (Germany, for instance) official youth hostels are largely devoted to kids' groups and can be oppressive for single travelers. But in places like Berlin there are also independent hostels that are designed more for backpackers. So studying up by reading a guidebook and going on line ( has a travelers' forum; has stories from their researchers). Though I recommend reading up and studying, it is really not necessary to reserve rooms in advance unless there is a big festival going on at the destination. If your son wants to talk to me (now a middle-aged lady, but still a traveler) he's welcome. Linda

These are all important questions you pose but I wonder why your 22 year old son isn't the one asking them to his friends and elsewhere on-line.

I went to Europe on my own at 16 and then again at 17, and this was in the stone age, before email, IM, and cell phones, when an international phone call was a huge deal. He'll be fine. I encourage you to let him figure all of this out himself---this is part of what it means to travel on one's own. He'll have a great summer no matter what. Former traveller

What a great itenerary! As someone who has backpacked in Europe myself, it was great. In Southern Europe, people are much more friendly and warm, and you won't feel alone, I didn't at least. Youth Hostels I would say are the BEST because ther you'll meet the young people like you who are travelling. I don't think I reserved ahead of time, but it may be different now (or not, with the low economy, maybe less travellers?). Avid Europe traveller

I went to Europe by myself when I was 24-I still consider it one of the best things I ever did for myself. I went to every city you listed except Athens-and several more! I was almost never alone as I met other fellow traveler's on the train etc. People traveling in twos and threes inevitably disagree about what to do or need a break from each other. Here are my top tips: Buy a Eurail pass and make a broad plan of countries to visit. Check it out here I found Rick Steves ''Europe through the back door'' ( invaluable for travel/packing/where to stay info. I also recommend taking ''Frommer's Europe'' (

I never booked in advance and with exception of cities that have large well attended events happening (i.e. The running of the Bulls in Pamplona, I always had several choices of places to stay. Folks in Europe are also extremely generous about opening their homes to travelers. He should definitely get a hikers style back pack ( instead of luggage. I also took a lightweight sleeping bag. Buy him a phone card so he can call you. He'll have a blast! roxanne

Camping in Italy is great. The campsites are usually very clean and well cared for, and often have restaurants, places to buy food, phones, etc. Here is a nice website which lists campgrounds in Italy:

I've stayed at a campsite just north of Rome which I like a lot. This place is quite a scene, especially during the summer months, and is very popular with Australian tourists, and has a restaurant, swimming pool, bar, disco, even peacocks wandering around the premises. But when I was there, it was relatively easy to get away from the noise of the Australians, since once I had a tent with me and just camped, and several other times I rented (for not much more money) a little private tent, which was like a little cabin. It's easy to get into Rome from this campground. Here is their

Many of the campgrounds in Italy are near stunningly beautiful natural settings, i.e. the many campgrounds around the Lago di Bracciano, a little further north of Rome. A great way to explore Italy is by bike; this is how I've done it in the past: that way, you are very flexible as to itinerary, what and when to see things, you don't have to worry about compatibility with traveling companions, etc. Plus you get an amazing sense of adventure and being completely on your own. The best books for traveling in Italy are published by the Touring Club Italiano, which are kind of like the Michelin guides, and have detailed maps.

Another option is staying in monasteries, which I've never done, but have heard really good things about. Besides the amazing experience of seeing a beautiful monastery from the inside, this option is often really inexpensive. The one down side of staying in a monastery is that there is usually a curfew. There are books you can buy about staying in a monastery, and I think also websites.

I hope your son has a great trip. It should be the adventure of a lifetime. I still have vivid memories of my travels in Italy thirty years ago. If your son would like more information about traveling in Italy, please feel free to have him contact me. Buon viaggio! Jim

Hi - My 18-year-old son and his best friend are starting to plan seriously for a trip to Europe in June, shortly after graduation. The main impetus for the trip is for his friend to attend his half- brother's wedding in Berlin, but the boys want to travel around Germany after the wedding, and also try to take in Amsterdam and Paris. The boys are fairly self-reliant, but boys being boys, they can also be a bit spacey and let things fall through the cracks, which is my biggest worry. They've been investigating rail passes, hostels, tours, etc., but since they'll pretty much be on their own there, I wondered if any parents who've been through this have any pointers, specifically regarding safety, whether to bring traveller's checks or credit/debit cards (do they work in Europe?), cell phones, resources in an emergency, etc. Thanks for any pointers if you've let your teen-''adults'' travel alone. Wanting this to go smoothly...

They'll have a great time. I was impressed that one of my daughter's friends was highly organized and made bookings at every hostel they were going to visit. It turned out, however, that that was because she was very nervous about being in a fluid situation, and she suffered a lot of homesickness, so some disorganization may not be the problem you think it is. We bought them rail passes with a certain number of days of travel, rather than the monthlong ones which oblige you to race all over Europe to get value for money. We gave them $55 a day each in expense money (including accommodation and food), plus the passes. You would have to adjust that now - the exchange rate then was about 1.2 euro to $1 US. Big cities like London and Paris are MUCH more expensive than everywhere else. We also gave them a cell phone which worked well (because of one girl being extremely homesick) but did cost a lot ($600 because of the homesickness). They definitely used that in preference to a calling card where they had to find a phone. Also, we could call them. They had six weeks of three girls together and had two incidents. One where they were using an atm late at night in Paris and ''magazine sellers'' came up to them, obscured the screen and managed to withdraw money from their account, the other where they fell asleep in a park in Barcelona(!) and a bag was stolen with passport and card inside. Getting them replaced was a cultural experience in itself and quite hilarious, but, because they were together, not dangerous or scary. In terms of banking - I had online access to my daughter's account and she could also look it up online. Get them to post to a travel website or facebook as they go -that way you'll be able to follow all the great times they're having, and how much they grow. Fiona

My 17-year-old son and a 19-year-old friend will be taking a similar trip to Europe this summer. He's traveled to Israel on his own before, so I think he can handle this. For money, the easiest and least expensive exchange rate, is to use a debit card at any atm machine. They can even get some euros before they leave from an atm in the international terminal at SFO. Definitely don't bother with travelers' checks. And don't use exchange places as their rates are the highest. Credit cards also charge a high fee, so debit cards are the best bet. Just make sure there's enough cash in the account to cover them. And a credit card for emergencies is a good idea. Trains are expensive, so eurail passes are a good way to go. Most cell phones now can work in Europe, but the calls are very expensive, so I'd make sure it's for emergencies only unless you want a horrendous phone bill. We have lots of friends in Europe so the boys have many places to stay, but they also plan to sleep on trains and in youth hostels (very reasonable), which your kids can also do. I did a trip like this when I was 17, so I know how great it can be and I hope all the boys have a wonderful experience. marissa

My son and his buddy travelled from Barcelona to Berlin (where he had tickets to the World Cup finals he had ''won'' in the ticket lottery) the summer after high school. I was definitely concerned, but he had travelled internationally on a student exchange previously, and was/is a smart, sensible kid--although definitely social and somewhat risk inclined...

I had them make all the arrangements--figure out schedule, Eurail passes, hostels, friends of friends to stay with, etc as part of demonstrating ability to manage. We contributed the airfare (and World Cup tix) as graduation present, but he used summer earnings and savings to pay for on-site expenses. He had a US debit card which worked at ATM machines and carried little cash. We used email at cyber-cafes as primary way of staying in touch; phone for back-up/emergency. My husband had the once-more-with-feeling safe sex discussion with him. I don't want to know everything they got into--but there were no obvious disasters, it was a fabulous trip, and I figured this was a wonderful launch into the world of independence.... one launched (almost)

Through circumstances that were entirely unavoidable, our daughter will be taking two separate flights on her own this summer, each with connections in major US airports. The first trip involves a two-hour layover in Chicago as she flies between London and Philadelphia. The second involves her return from Philly with a lay-over in Denver later in the summer. She is almost 15, has been flying forever, has made many flights alone but has never changed planes or gone through customs alone. I know she is a capable organized traveler, with a cell phone, who knows how to navigate airports, and all of her flights will be on United with ticketless travel. She'll be taken to the airport and met at her destination by family for both flights. Nonetheless, I would appreciate any tips on helping her move through big airports on her own. What I really do not want is 1) anyone suggesting I don't love my kid because how could I let her fly alone or 2) any horror stories, because I just can't handle that. So, any constructive tips for teens traveling alone would be welcome and beneficial. This is the start of lifetime of travel on her own, and I'd like it to go as smoothly as possible, of course. Lonely planet family

Congratulations on having an independent, intrepid daughter! That's great. I loved to travel and started at about her age in a different era -- no paperless tickets then! I think the best thing to do is get as much info in advance as possible. Go up on the internet and look at the layout of the airports. Where in the airport will she arrive? There is probably an international terminal and a domestic terminal, and if she does on-line check-in the day before (that would be a good move) there might even be a gate number. She can look at maps of the airports on- line and see what the lay-out is and how she will move from one place to the next. It also helps to talk to travelers who have gone through those airports recently. What are the pitfalls? Are there any cool shops or restaurants? You should also talk to the airline and find out if there are services provided to minor travelers. She doesn't need someone to accompany her necessarily, but she does need to know whom she would approach if her flight is delayed, her bag is lost, etc. Anticipate what could potentially go wrong and have a strategy for addressing that. Cancelled flight -- whom to call? In case her bag is lost -- what to pack in the carry-on? As a fifteen-year-old traveling alone, she should feel confident about walking up to airline personnel and explaining her situation in a pro-active way, so that they will help look out for her. bon voyage!

I have two daughters, 15 and 18, both also well-traveled. They haven't yet traveled alone internationally, but I'd be comfortable with them doing that. Your question got me thinking about what I'd tell my 15 year old if she had to go through customs on her own (which is likely the most confusing thing she'll have to do...not that there's much that can go wrong). I think I'd tell her that if she had questions or felt uncomfortable in any way, to find a family traveling together that she could ask a question of. Another family is likely to be sympathetic to her plight and would probably be both helpful and comforting. I'd probably also go through all the things that I could think of that could potentially go wrong (missed flight, lost paperwork, etc.) and try to come up with contingencies for those things. On the US side, her cell phone will work and she can always call you for advice. It sounds like she'll be taken care of on the foreign country end of things, but I wonder if you could buy her a phone card in advance so she can call you if she runs into trouble?

I would think a well-traveled 15 year old would have little trouble handling this. Want my kids to travel, too

It sounds like she'll do fine and you're allowing life to unfold for her at a pace she can manage. Yes, most of us wouldn't send our kids solo on an international flight with customs and plane change if we could help it, but it's the times we can't help it that the kids get to find out what they're capable of. That's when life is exciting! People can get a bit loopy from fatigue and dehydration after such a long flight, so remind her to drink a lot on board and to keep her purse under her arm and keep alert moving through the terminal so she doesn't lose track of any of her things. cheering you both on

Your daughter will be fine. The flight attendants will help, and so will the airport staff. There are no language differences and nothing unusual...just a student flying home...very ordinary and nothing to worry about. Just make sure she has a cell phone (or borrow one from family for the flight home), and all the right numbers, and a plan that will let her call when she's in either country. Andrew

You could call US customs and ask them how it is for a 14 year old to go through the lines and see if they have any tips. (Will she need a letter from you?) Also, because of her age, maybe the airline could be made aware that she's flying alone and to point her in the right direction when at the changing airplane location. I would reinforce to her that's it's fine to ask for help from the airline folks if she's lost or unclear about something. And I'm sure she's cautious about who to trust, etc....? Ask her to call you when she arrives and when she's ready to board the next plane, when she's out of customs, etc. good luck to all of you! anon

You are NOT a bad parent for letting your child fly alone. You are a GOOD parent, recognizing her competence and independence and trusting her to do what she can do. Last summer, our 15-year-old son flew alone to Paris, where he changed to a flight for Marseille. We created a document with all the flight numbers (a copy in his wallet and a copy in his carry-on bag), got Euros here so he had cash, gave him a credit card for emergencies, went over each airport's layout with him, and had him call us when he reached each waystation. He did fine. Since then he has flown alone several times within the US (changing in Reno and Dallas and Denver), even taking ground transport to his destination. He (begrudgingly) sends us a text message when he arrives each place. He is very able to navigate his way, and confident in just the way we want him to be. I can't understand the paranoia of our generation of parents about letting our kids be independent. Our kids have cell phones, security cameras, wireless access to email. We had none of that, but had the freedom to ride our bikes all over town alone at 7, take the train into the City (in my case NYC) at 13, visit colleges on our own by bus or train. My husband took the city bus across Munich to school starting at age 7. Our kids are by far more threatened by predators lurking on MySpace and Facebook than by fellow travelers in tightly monitored airports. She'll be fine

My son did this for the first time last year at age 16. No problems. You should get her a credit card and/or ATM debit card, just in case 2nd flight is delayed a lot (set some guidelines for use!) She should have a CA id too. try not to worry!

Sometimes the most obvious needs to be stated. My daughter successfully traveled solo last summer, age 16, with connecting flights. On her way home and sleep deprived she chose to wait 1 gate over from the crowded gate of her connecting flight. Busily texting all her new friends, she didn't notice boarding and came very close to missing her connection! She now knows the importance of waiting at her flight gate. As well, change of clothes in carry on would have helped as luggage was delayed 1 1/2 days. I think traveling and her experience of staying at a college campus program for h. s. students was a great experience and one that she was ready for. Mom

What a great opportunity for your daughter. By thinking through what pitfalls there could be and giving her useful information, you can gently prepare her.

It is important to know what type of teenager you have-- observant or lackadaisical? Polite or rebellious? One you can trust with a credit card? These will guide you as to what issues to emphasize.

Purpose of Customs: I believe it's useful to let your child know why people go through customs and what the customs agents are looking for. It she knows that, then she will understand the serious stance of the customs officers, why they are insistent that everyone ''stay behind the yellow line on the floor'' while waiting in line, and why they may ask the same questions more than once. She needs to understand that they have the right to search her belongings and to confiscate forbidden items (such as meat, certain cheeses, counterfeit items).

Customs form: I'd tell her about the form she will fill out on the plane, and how to fill it out. Make sure she understands she has to convert her purchase prices into U.S. dollars. And that she should have all her receipts available.

Customs area: Go over with her the procedures for this area: Enter large room, find your luggage on carousel, join long line that says ''U.S. citizens,'' and wait in line to talk with customs agent. Answer all questions. Follow all instructions. After you've been given the OK, if you're continuing on a connecting flight there is usually a place in the customs area to re-deposit your luggage so it will be automatically transferred to your connecting flight. Sometimes this place is over to the side; hopefully there's a big sign. If she can't find it, ASK. Once she puts the luggage there, she would rush on to her gate. Check ahead with your airline to see if this is how Chicago airport handles it.

Finding new gate: Two hours layover in Chicago coming in from an international flight is not a long time. She should know that Chicago is a very large airport and the walk to the gate could be long. As soon as she gets out of customs, she should check the airline screen to find out where the connecting flight gate is. ASK if she can't figure it out. Will she need to change terminals or concourses? She should immediately start over to the next gate. And even though she may have a boarding pass and is ''checked in,'' it's a good idea to check in again at the gate, in case the plane configuration has changed.

Layover in U.S. airports. The most useful thing would be for her to have a cell phone, recharged before she leaves London. If anything untoward happens, she can call you for advice. Other than that, the key issues are: 1) be sure to follow airport signs to terminal, concourse, or gate, 2) be early to the gate, not late, and 3) have enough money (or a credit card) to buy a meal and/or to buy food to take on the plane (no food is served on mid- range domestic flights). The credit card is good because it would cover unexpected costs. A minor can get a credit card if her parent co-signs for it (Capital One and CitiBank offer such plans). Otherwise, give her enough U.S. dollars to cover anything unexpected.

Run through these ideas with her initially and then remind her right before the trip. And make sure she knows to keep her passport with her in a safe place, where it can't fall out. Should be wonderful for her! Anonymous traveler

Is your daughter going to London or coming from London? If she is going to London, you need to know that British immigration is very cautious with girls under age 16 travelling alone entering the UK. Make sure that she is carrying a letter from her parents giving her permission to travel and informing them the name of the adult she will be staying with locally and the contact numbers, including cell phone. The person you designate on the letter needs to be waiting at the airport outside customs. Our experience (on several occasions) has been that the immigration agent will call the adult's cell phone and personally escort the girl to this adult waiting in the arrivals area. They are concerned about under age girls either running away or engaging in prostitution. I am not sure if they follow the same procedure for boys under age 16. Pat

Just a quick note of thanks to those that responded to our request for tips on supporting our fourteen-year-old daughter on her air travels this summer. The great news: she is home safely and without incident! I really appreciated both the practical tips and the comforting reassurance that we were doing the right thing to allow her to travel alone from London to Philadelphia via Chicago, and then home through Denver. I took all of advice offered, created a working plan for her, reviewed it with her several times while away, and off she went, traveling safely, asking for advice, and knowing what to expect along the way. It has certainly added to her confidence as a traveler, and changing planes in Denver on the way home turned out to be ''no big deal'' as she ''didn't even have to go through customs.'' And I think that, because I was more relaxed, she felt more assured as well. So thanks to everyone who took the time to write - it was so important to the success of our summer and the future travels of our adventurous daughter. Explorer's mom

travelling alone 18 year old

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Unaccompanied Minors | Rules, Fees, Policies, and Tips for International Travel

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two minors traveling through an airport with luggage and passports

Traveling with kids can be an adventure. However, there may be a time where your child needs to travel without you. Whenever a child under the age of 18 is traveling alone, there are certain rules and procedures you need to follow. When an unaccompanied minor travels internationally, there are even more things to consider.

As a parent of young children and someone who traveled solo internationally as a child, myself, I can attest: planning is everything. Getting the details right can make the difference between a positive experience for your child and a nightmare.

This guide provides the most important details for supporting a child traveling abroad without an adult chaperone.

The Rules and Regulations for Unaccompanied Minor Travel Abroad

Your child needs a passport.

It all starts with a passport. Any American citizen traveling outside of the United States needs a valid U.S. Passport. It doesn't matter what the traveler's age is.

Getting a passport for a minor is not that different from getting a new passport for an adult . That said, if the person who needsa passport is under the age of 16, there are some additional steps that need to be followed. Most of these have to do with establishing parental and/or guardianship rights.

For more on this topic, our Passports for Minors FAQ covers some of the most common questions we have received on the topic over the past two decades.

Your Child Needs Additional Travel Documentation

In addition to a passport, having a notarized minor travel consent form is essential. This official document will ensure the airline and customs officials have access to critical information about your unaccompanied child.

  • the legal identity of the child
  • the legal parent(s) and/or guardian(s) of the child
  • contact information for the child's parent(s) and/or guardian(s)
  • where the child will be staying while abroad
  • contact information for the child and caregivers while abroad

In the event of any confusion or travel itinerary mishap, this document could prove to be the key to keeping your child safe. It gives airline personnel and customs officials the information they need to get the child to whom and to where he or she is supposed to be.

Age Restrictions for Minors Traveling Unaccompanied

teenage girl traveling alone

The U.S. Department of Transportation has some general guidelines for unaccompanied minors flying on planes. Airlines are free to interpret them as they wish, but most follow them pretty closely.

Some of the key guidelines include:

  • Children younger than 5 years old cannot travel alone.
  • Children age 5 through 7 can travel alone, but only on non-stop and through flights. This may not be permitted by all airlines.
  • Children age 8 through 11 can travel alone on any flight where there is a flight attendant. In some cases, minors in this age group may be restricted from certain flights that involve connections.

Again, these policies may be stricter depending upon individual airline policies. Some airlines ban this outright. Others extend this age limit to 14 years of age.

Children age 12 through 17 may be subject to the same or fewer restrictions as the 8 to 11 age group. For domestic flights, most airlines will only provide unaccompanied minor accommodations for this age group upon request. However, international travelers under the age of 18 are usually required to pay an unaccompanied minor fee.

Some carriers will not permit minors of any age to fly abroad unaccompanied.

Follow the links below for the current unaccompanied minor policies for some of the most popular international airlines:

  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • British Airways
  • Delta Airlines
  • Southwest Airlines

Medical Considerations for Unaccompanied Minor Travelers

As a rule, most governments and companies (including airlines) have strict policies about medication. If your child requires medication, be sure to do your due diligence about what documentation and storage rules apply for all the locations your child will be traveling through. Do the same for any of the transportation and accommodation services they will be using to do so.

You should also be sure your child has the proper amount of medication for their trip. Both access to pharmacies and the usefulness of a prescription from an American doctor may vary outside of the country.

You should also consider if your child is able to administer their own medication. It should not be assumed that a flight attendant, customs official, or other adult will be willing or able to do so for your child. If this is an issue, consider reaching out to your child's doctor for advice or potential alternatives.

Airline Accommodations for a Child Traveling Alone

unaccompanied young child travelere pushing airplane call button

As mentioned, for airlines that allow minors to fly solo internationally, there is almost always an unaccompanied minor fee. These can range from $50 to over $200 depending on the airline.

In exchange for this fee, airlines provide some extra assistance for their young travelers:

  • Preferential seating - Many airlines will only seat unaccompanied children in specific seats. These are usually locations that are within easy access of flight attendants, restrooms, and boarding entrances and exits.
  • Extra supervision - Flight attendants are assigned to keep eyes and ears on unaccompanied minors. While they are not full-on chaperones, these airline employees strive to make the experience safe and comfortable for kids flying alone.
  • An escort on and off the plane - In most cases, airlines will assign an employee to receive an unaccompanied child from their caregiver at the boarding gate. An employee will also help the child gather their belongings and get from their plane to their waiting adult.
  • Transfer assistance - For airlines that allow unaccompanied minors on multi-leg flights, there are usually employees tasked with helping children get to their connecting flights.
  • Complementary comfort services - Some airlines include food, drinks, and/or entertainment packages specifically for unaccompanied minor flyers.
  • A parental gate pass - With airport security being what it is, many airports and airlines require parents to get a special gate pass to allow them to escort a child to their flights. Some airlines flat out require this as part of the ticketing process for unaccompanied minors.

Additional Tips for Parents of Unaccompanied Minor Travelers

teenage boy traveling alone with suitcases

You may also be able to register your child's travel itinerary with an embassy for some extra peace of mind in case of a potential emergency.

  • Invest in a GPS tracker. In today's world, you can never be too safe. If your child is outside of your care consider having them carrying a GPS tracker so that you always know where they are. Apple AirTags and the JioBit are two popular, reliable, and affordable choices that work internationally.

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travelling alone 18 year old

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travelling alone 18 year old

How to secure a travel clearance for minors traveling alone abroad?

Are you a minor or below 18 years old who is planning to go abroad without your parents or guardian?

All you have to do is secure a travel clearance from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

A travel clearance is a document issued by the DSWD Field Offices or its attached agency, National Authority for Child Care (NACC), to a minor travelling abroad unaccompanied by any of the parent or those persons having parental authority and legal custody over the child. 

Who needs to secure a Travel Clearance?

  • Filipino minor who is travelling alone using the Philippine passport only for their travel outside the Philippines;
  • Filipino minor travelling with prospective adoptive parent/s for purpose of inter-country adoption;
  • Filipino minor travelling with a person other than his/her parent/s, legal guardian or person exercising parental authority/ legal custody over him/her;
  • Filipino minor who is illegitimate and is travelling with his/her biological father;
  • For married minors, the same requirement applies to that of unmarried minors travelling abroad.

First time applicants need to prepare the following:

  • Duly accomplished application form
  • Birth certificate of minor issued by Philippine Statistics Authority (original and photocopy)
  • As appropriate, PSA issued Marriage Certificate of the parents if legitimate child (original and photocopy).
  • If unmarried parents, PSA issued Certificate of No Marriage (CENOMAR) of the mother issued by Philippine Statistics Authority (original and photocopy).
  • Certificate of No Marriage from the Local Civil Registry if fictitious marriage
  • In case of deceased parent, PSA issued Death Certificate (original and photocopy).
  • Notarized affidavit of consent signed by both parents, or the person exercising parental authority or legal custody over the minor
  • Valid ID of parents with specimen signatures. If parents are working abroad, include copy of their valid passport and visa. If seafarer, copy of the seafarer’s book.
  • Two (2) pieces colored, and latest passport size pictures of minor (white background)
  • Valid passport of the minor’s travelling companion. Notarized affidavit of undertaking if travelling companion is a non-relative of minor.
  • Notarized affidavit of support and certified true copy of any evidence to show financial capability of sponsor.

The DSWD said the application must be submitted/filed manually by the parent/s or legal guardian or a duly authorized representative at DSWD Field Office that has jurisdiction over the residence of minor. It is open from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except holidays). 

The Travel Clearance may be issued within three (3) working days upon submission of the required documents.

Applicants must pay P300 per child with one year validity and P600 per child with two (2) years validity. 

In case of loss of the issued travel clearance, new set of requirements should be submitted to the Field Office and will be issued a new travel clearance. This should not be taken as a renewal of travel clearance but a new application, the DSWD said.

Meanwhile, those who are exempted to secure travel clearance are minors accompanied by the following:

  • Either or both of the minor’s parents, if legitimate minor;
  • The minor’s biological mother, if illegitimate minor;
  • The minor’s father who has been granted sole parental authority or custody by the proper court, if the minor is illegitimate;
  • The minor’s legal guardian;
  • The person, including one of the minor’s parents, who was granted sole parental authority or legal custody by the proper court
  • Minor’s adoptive parents if the minor granted with adoption decree and certificate of finality.

DSWD noted that minors under special circumstances travelling unaccompanied or alone must have the following documents: 

  • Unaccompanied minor certificate from the airlines
  • Waiver from the parents releasing DSWD-NCR from any liability/responsibility in case of untoward incident during the travel of the child.
  • If minor will be visiting a relative abroad, include letter of invitation/support and guarantee from the inviter/sponsor with attached copy of his/her passport and visa.

"No minor below 13 years of age shall be allowed to travel alone," DSWD noted. —AOL, GMA Integrated News

This article How to secure a travel clearance for minors traveling alone abroad? was originally published in GMA News Online .

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How to Fly Your Kid Solo, Free of Stress

An illustration of children flying solo on the airplane.

By Alexander Nazaryan

For many parents and guardians, putting a child on a flight alone may seem terrifying. Belligerent passengers, delays, turbulence: All loom large in a caregiver’s imagination.

Life sometimes leaves no other option. Hudson Crites , 17, of Marshall, Va., was 10 when he started flying unaccompanied to visit his father in Kansas and later Georgia, said his mother, Chelsea Tippett. But the extra attention from airline staff made Hudson “feel special,” Ms. Tippett recalls. Other than a single tarmac delay, he has had no problems.

On rare occasions, children have had troubling experiences. In December, Spirit Airlines accidentally flew a 6-year-old to Orlando, Fla., instead of the intended destination of Fort Myers. Spirit apologized, fired the gate agent responsible and offered reimbursement to the boy’s grandmother for her travel to Orlando. But while the boy was unharmed, his grandmother expressed worry that he had been kidnapped .

If you decide to fly your child unaccompanied, you’ll discover that each airline has its own procedures, fees and routes open to children. While some may find the process complicated, flying alone may be exciting for your child, instilling some independence. Here’s what you need to know.

Before you book, know the process

Regardless of the airline or route, flying an unaccompanied minor differs from an adult or a family catching a flight. Airlines require a trusted pre-authorized adult to be at the departure and arrival gates, and will ask you at booking to provide contact information for those adults. They will also need to present identification at the terminals.

The journey begins at the originating airport’s airline ticket counter. There, airline staff will check your identification and check in the child, perhaps handing them a lanyard or wristband to wear. The agents will provide you with a pass to get through security with your child. You will accompany them to the gate, where you will hand them off to a gate agent. You must stay at the gate until the plane takes off.

In the air, the flight crew will keep watch — but will not babysit, or sit with, your child. If the flight has a connection, a crew member will walk your child off the plane and a gate agent will take him or her to the next gate.

At the arrival airport, the child will be handed off by staff to the authorized guardian or parent who should have already checked in at the ticket counter with proper identification, gone through security with their gate pass and be waiting at the gate.

To learn more about this process, read the Department of Transportation’s online guide, “When Kids Fly Alone,” followed by the website of your selected carrier.

Choosing an airline and paying an extra fee

Before purchasing a ticket, experts advise you to consider an airline’s on-time performance. “Solid on-time performance is hard-earned, and signals a carrier that has tight control of its operation,” said the Ask the Pilot author, Patrick Smith. The Bureau of Transportation Statistics has those numbers.

Booking procedures vary. Delta Air Lines and American Airlines require you to call. United Airlines allows bookings online. JetBlue Airways does online bookings, too, but asks for three printed copies of its forms upon arrival at the airport.

International flights may call for a notarized consent letter describing where the child is traveling, with whom they’ll stay and how long they’ll be there.

On top of the ticket fare, flying an unaccompanied minor can be pricey.

Southwest Airlines charges $100 one way for each child, regardless of distance. Alaska Airlines charges $50 per child if the flight is nonstop; a connection adds $25. On Delta, one $150 fee will cover up to four children, and American’s $150 covers all siblings, with no cap on number. United charges $150 for one child, or two children flying together.

Restrictions: There are plenty

U.S. carriers allow children to fly as unaccompanied minors once they turn 5 and before they turn 18. But regardless of your child’s age, make sure he or she is ready by discussing the trip details and your expectations of their behavior. No policy can replace your judgment.

The low-cost carriers Frontier Airlines and Allegiant Air don’t allow unaccompanied minors, Other airlines have restrictions that, in the broadest terms, differentiate between young children and teenagers. American and Delta restrict children under 8 from routes requiring connections. Both airlines allow children between 8 and 14 to take some connecting flights.

On American, no unaccompanied minor is allowed to take an overnight flight requiring a connection, or a flight that includes a connection on its final leg that also happens to be the last such flight that day (“unless it’s the only flight,” the company adds). Minors are not allowed on code-share flights.

United and Delta have similar rules. Southwest, JetBlue and Spirit don’t allow unaccompanied minors on connecting flights.

JetBlue prohibits minors from flying to Europe, and limits the number of unaccompanied minors in one party to three. Spirit does not allow children on flights to Central or South America. Southwest doesn’t allow children on any international flights. American, United and Delta let minors fly abroad, but restrictions on connections, code-shares and overnights limit options.

American and Delta allow children to opt out of flying as unaccompanied minors once they turn 15 — that is, the child can fly without the assistance of airline personnel. JetBlue ends unaccompanied minor service at 14, while Alaska has an opt-out option at 13. Southwest boasts the lowest opt-out age: 12.

However, you should be able to accompany your child to the gate even if they’re not flying unaccompanied. American requires that you do so for teens between the ages of 15 and 17, even if they’ve opted out.

What to pack

Have a plan to head off your child’s hunger, boredom and thirst. If they are older, make sure they have emergency money and a charged phone.

When her two daughters, then 9 and 11, flew to Denver, Joey Conover of Charlottesville, Va., had a long list for their carry-ons.

“Pack a backpack with iPad, headphones, lightweight book to read, a pad of paper and colored pencils (markers might smear), a small travel game, water bottle (bring empty and fill in airport), snacks, some kind of surprise fidget or animals to play with, hoodie, and a lovey,” she wrote in an email.

“Write your name and phone number on the inside of their arm in Sharpie and put a parent’s business card in a luggage tag on both suitcase and backpack,” Ms. Conover said. (A sheet of paper with all their identification, and their guardian’s contact information, also works. Simply stick in an easy-to-access pocket.)

Open Up Your World

Considering a trip, or just some armchair traveling here are some ideas..

52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

Mumbai:  Spend 36 hours in this fast-changing Indian city  by exploring ancient caves, catching a concert in a former textile mill and feasting on mangoes.

Kyoto:  The Japanese city’s dry gardens offer spots for quiet contemplation  in an increasingly overtouristed destination.

Iceland:  The country markets itself as a destination to see the northern lights. But they can be elusive, as one writer recently found .

Texas:  Canoeing the Rio Grande near Big Bend National Park can be magical. But as the river dries, it’s getting harder to find where a boat will actually float .

13-month-old girl suffered severe injuries in assault by York police officer: affidavit

travelling alone 18 year old

A daycare employee in Dauphin County alerted police to injuries a 13-month-old child suffered that led to the arrest of a York City Police officer , according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Steven K. Cugini, 28, of the first block of Camelot Arms in Springettsbury Township, has been charged with rape of a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child and aggravated assault — attempts to cause serious bodily injury or causes injury with extreme indifference, according to online court records.

He is being held in Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $200,000 bail, according to online court records.

Reported earlier: York police officer charged with sexually assaulting 13-month-old child: state police

State police detail the injuries to the child

State police responded on April 15 to the Halifax YMCA Youth Development Center to check on the welfare of the toddler who had signs of serious injuries when she was dropped off. The director reported the child was not able to put pressure on her left foot, and she had visible bruises to her face and head, the affidavit states.

The trooper who responded to the YMCA reported seeing the following injuries:

  • Severe blackish/purple bruising in the child's buttocks and vaginal area
  • Swelling to the left foot and bruises near the ankle
  • Bruises on the face and behind the toddler's ears
  • Bruises on the chest
  • Abrasions on the child's fingers.

State police conducted interviews and reviewed text messages sent by the child's mother to the YMCA center. The child did not go to the daycare on Friday. The mother said the severe bruising was caused by a hard fall in the tub during bathtime, the affidavit states.

State police allege the mother initially provided misleading statements to investigators and later informed them that she was covering for Cugini. Troopers searched her phone and found text messages where he acknowledged that he was responsible for the child's injuries, the affidavit states.

The mother told troopers that she left the toddler alone with Cugini for about an hour on Friday, the affidavit states. She said he informed her that the family dogs had knocked the child over, causing an injury to the left leg.

The toddler cried throughout the weekend and was not walking on the leg, the affidavit states.

While the mother was preparing dinner on Saturday, Cugini was giving the toddler a bath. The mother heard the child cry loudly as well as repeated pounding, the affidavit states. She went to the bathroom and noticed the door was locked. When Cugini opened it, she noticed his shirt was wet, the affidavit states.

When the mother asked Cugini why the door was locked, he said it was to keep another child out of the bathroom, the affidavit states.

State police interviewed Cugini who acknowledged seeing injuries on the child and said they were caused by the family dog. He told investigators that he gave the toddler a bath on Saturday evening. He claimed the girl had a rash, the affidavit states.

A doctor at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center told investigators that the child's injuries were not caused by the family dogs, a fall in the bathroom or a rash. She said they were evidence of sexual abuse, the affidavit states.

The injuries included a broken tibia and fibula on her left lower leg, the affidavit states.

On Tuesday, Cugini went to the state police barracks in Lykens. During a recorded interview, state police allege Cugini acknowledged that the toddler's injuries occurred while he was caring for the child alone, the affidavit states.

York City Police issue a statement

York City Police Commissioner Michael Muldrow issued a statement on Tuesday evening, saying the department became aware of the charges filed in Dauphin County.

The officer has been suspended as the investigation continues, and the city looks to take appropriate action, it states.

"As everyone knows, I will always be the first to fight and advocate for our people; but they also know (1) how I feel about kids, and (2) that I hold my Officers to the highest of standards (when it comes to representing this Department and engaging with the community)...

"And if these allegations are founded, trust and believe I'll be the first to take swift and definitive action against them," he said.

Mother, 18-year-old daughter accused of traveling across country to give illegal butt injections

A mother and her 18-year-old daughter are accused of traveling across the country to give...

HOUSTON (Gray News) - A mother and her 18-year-old daughter are accused of traveling across the country to give illegal butt injections for $6,000, according to Texas authorities.

Police said 56-year-old Consuelo Maria Dal Bo and her 18-year-old daughter, Isabella Dal Bo were planning on injecting an unlabeled brown liquid into the butt of a customer on Wednesday, KHOU 11 reported.

However, what they didn’t know was that the customer was an undercover officer. Consuelo then gave a Xanax to the officer to relax before the injections. She was paid $6,000 in cash to do the procedure.

The mother-daughter duo was arrested during the sting operation conducted by the FDA and the Houston Police Department.

Officers seized bags of illegal injectables and medical supplies.

Both have been charged with unlawfully practicing medicine without a license. Consuelo was also charged with delivering a controlled substance called Alprazolam.

While out on bond, Consuelo told KHOU 11 that while she isn’t a licensed doctor in the U.S., she did attend medical school in Mexico for three years.

“Believe me, everything I do, I do it with my heart, and everybody who knows me, they know me,” Consuelo Maria said. “I do it because they really need it, and not just because they pay me.”

Prosecutors said the FDA is now in the process of testing the substances.

Counsuelo’s charges could be upgraded depending on the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

Copyright 2024 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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