They’re all grown up, well sort of, and it’s time for them to spread their wings and fly off on their first solo holiday with friends.
Are you worried?
Of course you are! This is only natural, but it’s important to remember that preparation is key, and if you do all the talking, warning, discussing, packing and tip-giving in advance, then you have done all you can – the rest is up to them.
This is possibly the hardest part, trusting them enough to be responsible for their own actions and safety, but this is also what growing up is all about.
So, how can you prepare your beloved teen for his or her first holiday without the parental unit?
Help them pack. They will no doubt have an idea on what they want to take, but they will also no doubt forget half of what they need. It’s important to have an input into the packing stage, because we all know that sensible things, like toiletries, pyjamas, first aid items, will probably be forgotten in favour of speakers, technological gadgets, dresses, shoes and handbags.
Have ‘The Talk’. It’s cringey, and you’ve probably already had it when they were a little younger, but a little refresher discussion about the importance of safe sex really should be given before your teen heads off for a week or two’s holiday with their likeminded friends. It will also put your mind at rest to have them prepared in terms of contraceptives, so if you must, stock them up and pack it for them!
- Make sure you have booked travel insurance for them and put the necessary numbers and paperwork where it needs to be. Explain to your beloved what to do in the event of something going wrong, without also putting the fear of God into them. Explain that it is a worst case scenario and that it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Explain about keeping in touch. Viber, WhatsApp, Facebook, Tango – these are all fantastic ways of keeping in touch for free, so use them! Make sure they have them downloaded onto their phones, and arrange a time every few days or so when they will call home. A message once a day is usually sufficient. Explain about data roaming charges, and to turn off the necessary before getting on the plane, but also explain that if needs be, and in the event of a REAL emergency, its okay to call home with their phone.
Do a little research together. Researching the destination they’re going to be visiting is a good way to help them see what other things they can do on their trip. For instance, if your teen is off to a Spanish beach resort for a week with their friends, then look into what sightseeing tours they could possibly do, or what excursions are available, and encourage them to do this. Instilling a sense of travel and what it really means, rather than going out and simply getting drunk for a week, will help them develop a sense of travel adventure. It’s also a good idea to encourage them to take lots of photographs, to remember their first solo break by.
Letting go and trusting your teenager to be safe and responsible on their first solo break is difficult, but remember, it’s a necessary part of life.