Travel Tips: How Children Can Travel Safely Alone

Here are tips on how parents can prepare their child for a safe trip when traveling alone on an airplane.

When you have a child traveling alone you want to make sure their safety is first priority with everyone involved in their journey. Listed below are some tips on how you can ensure your child's safety while en route. When you have a child traveling alone you need good communication, proper identification and destination information, as well as caring reliable people involved.

Tip #1: Communication is the most important key to safe travel for your children. Before your child travels, sit down and discuss the trip that they are about to take. Address any of their concerns about flying on a plane and discuss the safety of air travel. Make sure your child understands all about his or her own travel itinerary. Tell them what airline they are flying with, what lay over and plane changes they will be making, and who will be meeting them on the other end of travel. Also, discuss with your child what a uniform staff member looks like, and whom they can trust if they are separated from the flight attendant helping them during travel. It is important for your child to understand that they must stay on board the flight until a flight attendant at their destination takes them.

Tip #2: Before going to the airport get familiar with the airlines rules and regulations for children traveling alone. Most have information about what you need to know and what forms need to be filled out for children traveling alone on their websites. You can also call them directly with any questions or concerns. At the airport, airlines require an adult to accompany the child to their departure gate. Be sure that you wait with your child at the gate until a uniformed crewmember comes for the child at pre-boarding. When you meet with the flight attendant that will be accompanying your child make sure you feel comfortable with this person looking after your child. Do they seem attentive and friendly? Listen to your instincts, make sure this person is someone you feel comfortable being responsible for your child, and watch to see that your child seems to respond to the attendant. Also, if your child has a layover or plane change, be sure to double-check his or her itinerary with the attendant to be sure everybody agrees on the child's final destination. Lastly, wait at the terminal until the plane pulls away from the gate to be sure there are no last minute concerns with your child.

Tip #3: To help your child feel safe and comfortable on their flight, pack a backpack full of their favorite snacks and activities to keep them busy during travel. Be sure that the backpack they carry onto the plane has a tag with the child's name and address securely attached. Also, make two copies of your child's travel itinerary and put one copy inside his or her backpack that they will take on the plane, and the other copy in the pocket an item of clothing they are wearing. This way, if the child should ever get separated from the flight attendant responsible for them they will have information to show others who can help them get back to where they are supposed to be. You might want to think about giving your child a calling card or teaching them how to make collect calls so they can always reach you. Because unexpected weather can disrupt flight schedules, you should confirm your unaccompanied child on flights early in the day.

Tip #4: Be sure that you have a very reliable person meeting your child at the other end of their flight. Nothing will make your child feel less safe than being in a strange city without a familiar face to greet them. Pre-flight, send the person greeting them a copy of your child's itinerary so they know exactly when to expect them. After the flight has departed, call the greeter and let them know the child is safely on his or her way to them. Be sure that they will leave for the airport in plenty of time to allow for traffic, etc. Lastly, have the greeter call you as soon as he or she has the child safely in their care.

If you follow the tips provided above, your child is sure to have a smooth and comfortable flight. With good communication and follow up from those involved in your child's travel a safe and happy journey is ensured. These first few years of travel are important to help your child gain independence and open their eyes to the wonders of new places that travel can bring them. Feeling safe during travel today puts your child on a track of many wonderful experiences and the joys of enjoying safe travel for years to come.

© High Speed Ventures 2011