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Safety tips and must-haves for your teen's first parent-free trip

Gain peace of mind with these important tips


With graduation approaching, your teenager might be heading off on their first vacation without their parents. This is undeniably worrying for many parents, but with the right tools and information, you can trust your teen to stay safe.

Preparation is key, so it's important to learn and share safety tips and buy any must-have items for them to take on vacation.

Safety tips for a teen's first parent-free trip

Suggest traveling with a friend

If your teen is thinking about traveling solo, suggest they go with at least one friend, but ideally a small group. There's safety in numbers. Young people are more likely to stay safe and have a good time if they travel with others. Of course, this doesn't mean teens can never travel safely on their own, but it's worth discussing.

Keep a copy of important documents

Someone at home should always keep a scanned copy of your teenager's passport, ID and other important documents. These can include things like boarding passes and travel insurance papers. In the unfortunate event of the originals getting lost or stolen, the situation will be much easier to resolve if you have copies of these documents.

Pay for roaming fees

Your teenager will be much safer on a trip abroad if they can freely call and use the internet on their phone. This means you'll need to pay for roaming charges, but most cell providers offer deals that cover five to 10 days. If their phone doesn't support overseas use, consider buying a cheap prepaid cell phone.

Consider a preloaded credit card

Carrying around too much cash can be a risk. Instead, consider arranging a preloaded credit card for your teen. You can add a set amount of money to the card and should be able to add more remotely in an emergency. Many of these types of cards have no foreign transaction fees or only minimal fees.

Don't drink — but be careful if you do

In an ideal world, your teen won't touch alcohol when they're away on their trip, and you can advise them not to. However, it's important to be realistic. They might choose to drink, especially when visiting countries where the legal drinking age is lower than in the U.S.

It's a good idea to talk about staying safe under the influence. Make sure they know not to swim if they've been drinking and to not drink so much they won't be able to make it back to their accommodation safely.

Talk about sexual health

While it's an uncomfortable conversation to have, it's important to talk about sexual health with teens going on vacation. It's especially important with older teens who have just graduated high school or are in college. You can advise them to keep things platonic with anyone they meet on their trip, but this isn't something you can enforce. Discuss the importance of safe sex so your teen can make informed decisions.

While they shouldn't have to think about this, we live in a flawed world. Make sure your child knows to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. For instance, make sure they know not to leave drinks unattended or walk alone at night. On a related note, talk to your teenager about respecting boundaries and the importance of enthusiastic consent.

Insist on an itinerary

You don't need to know every stop your offspring will make from morning until night. However, you should at least have the addresses of the accommodation they're staying in and the dates they'll be there. This is particularly important if they're heading to multiple locations on their trip.

Must-haves for a teen's first parent-free trip


She’s Birdie Personal Safety Alarm

Setting off an extremely loud siren and a flashing strobe light when activated, this personal safety alarm could be a lifesaver in an emergency situation.

Sold by Amazon

Protect Life Store First-Aid Kit

This compact first-aid kit is a great choice for travel, especially on hikes or at beaches where it may be hard to access first-aid supplies.

Sold by Amazon

Supergoop! Sunnyscreen SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen

Nothing ruins a vacation like getting a terrible sunburn on the first day and spending the rest of the trip sore and itchy. This effective mineral sunscreen will keep your teen's skin protected.

Sold by Walmart

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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