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Teen Travel

There’s a new trend happening… and it’s a scary proposition for parents. Teens traveling alone.

Teenagers are at an age where they like independence.  Not only do they like having their independence, they also like being around people their own age and being away from the watchful eye of mom and dad.  Thus, the question arises as to whether parents should let teenagers (16+) travel someplace alone or with a group of friends?

As parents, most of us would probably respond quickly with “No!” Safety is the biggest issue. While travel can be liberating and eye-opening, it can still be dangerous. After all, what can a parent do if their son or daughter goes missing or runs into a problem? Will they know to go to the embassy? What if there is a medical emergency?  (I’m anxious just typing this.)

We ALL know what the cons to teen travel are… are their any pros?

Confidence: Travel naturally forces you out of your comfort zone, and learning how to overcome challenges on your own is a huge step towards developing self worth and confidence. It also forces you to make decisions, and obliterates the self imposed limits we place on ourselves.

Self Esteem: For every teen who has ever said “I can’t do that“, or “I’m not that type of person“, travel challenges your beliefs about who you are and what you’re capable of. It forces you to face your insecurities and helps you overcome your fears.

Eye opening: Teenagers who are allowed to travel alone or with friends will be able to expand their horizons and learn that there is more to the world than their immediate circle of friends, family, and the general area they grew up in.  In many cases, this can be an eye-opening experience for them, and it can help them discover areas of interest they might not have known about.  It can also allow them to see how other people live their daily life. 

Develop a sense of Self-Reliance and Responsibility:
When a teenager travels independently, they will have to learn to rely upon themselves, and they will soon realize that mom and dad will not always be able to bail them out if problems occur. Teenagers have a great opportunity to show parents they can handle traveling alone.

In writing this article, I’ve had my eyes opened a bit. Every piece of information about teen travel has asked the question “Do you trust your parenting?” And yes, yes I do. I do NOT however, completely trust everyone else. And that’s the issue for me. Perhaps allowing small trips with friends, in places you know are safe is the answer. There is no doubt that it can bolster confidence and improve problem solving skills.

Would you let your teen travel alone? Let’s talk about it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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