Solo travels for kids

Solo travels for kids

This one is interesting.

My husband and I have had to ask ourselves these questions, “Would we ever allow our kids to travel alone (while they are still under our roof) and when would we begin to allow them to do this?”

This is why those questions came up.

As a young girl, I was never allowed to travel alone until I turned 17. But I was in a boarding house throughout high school, which I attended between the ages of 12 through 17. Before then, my siblings and I went to camps organised by our church district. Those experiences I believe built a sense of responsibility in me at an early age. It built in me confidence. I had a sense of belonging. I learnt to make friends early. There was no safety net, so I had to learn to take care of myself. Most importantly, I learnt financial management. All these lessons I was exposed to from as early as 10 years old.

Travelling is beautiful. The change of scenery, new sets of people, culture, foods and so many amazing things makes it absolutely endearing. Family travels are even more interesting. It’s an adventure learning places, colours and people through each other’s lenses.

This is something that I absolutely recommend. As adults, travelling is an opportunity to learn new things, discover a new environment, learn a new language, culture and live a way of life that is completely different from what you are used to.

Travelling has a way of expanding your mind to different possibilities beyond what you’ve ever imagined. It shows you the incredible life that is present beyond where you have chosen to build your life. And that makes you think, “if this is possible here, then even more things are and can be possible.”

Every opportunity that I have had to travel (even local ones) has inspired different ideas in me. Travelling inspires creativity. And that’s in adults with so much going on.

Now imagine how much travelling will benefit your kids. The exposure it would give their minds, the boost in their curiosity, the lessons they will learn, the boost in their relationship with you because they appreciate your vote of confidence, their level of maturity and independence,  and the amazing people they will meet.

As parents, what holds us back is the fear for their safety. I mean, wherever they go alone is not your home and that can be really scary.

So, why not do this:

Start by letting them go visit a trusted family member/family friend –While it is not home, at least it is somewhere you know they are probably going to get a feel of home. And they will be with someone you trust, so that should put your mind at ease (a little bit).

You could also allow them to go to camps within your city –Like I said, I went to camps within and outside my city and it was great. You could also start with that. Schools, teens maker labs, and some religious groups organise annual camps for kids. Find whichever you are familiar with one or two of the facilitators and you can trust that your kids are in good hands. They will not only have the time of their lives, they will also learn.

If they are going to camps out of town, travel with them to the city. Lodge in a hotel or AirbnB while they go to the camp ground.That way, you are nearby while they still have their independence.

When they travel alone, give them a phone to travel with and have them call you and send in their location pin to you from time to time.Agree on the time that they have to check in daily (perhaps a call in the morning, a text by noon and a goodnight call at night). They could even send you selfies of themselves in each location they visit, just so you are sure of where they are. Or you can use any ofthese devices to keep tabs on them while they are away.

The truth is, these kids will eventually leave the house. And even if you do not allow them, they will still find a way to sneak out of the house whether you like it or not. Allow them the freedom of choice and exploration. Lay downground rules if you wish and watch them amaze you with how fast they grow.

Now, there is the question of when. When to start allowing our kids to do solo travels.

Well… I will leave that to you. There is no hard and fast rule. They are your kids. It depends on when you feel they are ready for it and when your mind is ready to allow them that level of exploration. I know people who started at 5 (to family members’ places and camps within the city). But again, it is up to you.