Children and young people travelling alone

Issues you may wish to consider, such as policies travel companies may have on children travelling alone and things you could do to help your child prepare for a trip abroad

Children travelling alone

Is your child ready to go on a long journey alone? While there may be further arrangements that you or your child will want to consider for their safety, here are some of the key issues to think about.

Ferries

Check with individual ferry companies about their policy on children travelling unaccompanied.

Flights

Before booking flights, you should check with the airline what their policy is on children travelling unaccompanied.

Considerations for younger children:

  • write your telephone number, address and the contact details of who the child is meeting
  • give them toys and games to play in their carry-on luggage

For all children:

  • some countries' immigration departments require additional documents for all children travelling into, out of or transiting their country - the extra documents that you may require varies depending on the country, so make sure you have everything before the travel date                                                        
    IATA Travel Centre can advise you on what documents are required for each country
  • passports for children under 16 are only valid for five years, make sure their passport is valid before they travel and that you have obtained any visas necessary for the journey (check with the Embassy of the country to which they are travelling or travelling through)
  • make sure they have a photocopy (or two) of their passport that is kept away from their actual passport - you could keep a copy too that could be faxed anywhere around the world if necessary
  • give your child a copy of their travel arrangements (including return flight details)
  • make sure that your contact details are written in your child's passport
  • make sure they have the name, address and telephone number of the person they are meant to meet at the airport - advise them to go with no one else
  • make sure that your child also has the address of the nearest British Embassy or Consulate in case they need to contact someone urgently
  • give your child some money to phone you if they need to before they leave the airport — make sure they know the country code

You should also make sure the person collecting your child knows their flight details.

Important

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website is well worth visiting for further details that should be considered before travelling (not every country has this information published on the website).

Young people on holiday alone

Thousands of teenagers go on holiday without their parents every year and have a great and perfectly safe time.

Preparation before leaving

While there may be further arrangements that you or your child will want to consider for their safety, below are some key things you should make sure your child does before leaving:

  • check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Travel Advice website (link below) and make sure your child knows the address of the nearest British Embassy or Consulate in case of emergency
  • arrange travel insurance and check that the cover is suitable
  • read a good guidebook to educate them about their destination and its local laws and customs
  • make sure they have a valid passport and necessary visas
  • check what vaccinations are needed at least six weeks before going
  • make sure the travel agent being used is an ABTA member and, if flying, make sure the holiday package is ATOL protected
  • make copies of their passport, insurance policy plus 24-hour emergency number and travel documents - and make sure that copies are left with family and friends
  • take enough money for the trip and some back-up funds, for example, travellers cheques, sterling or US dollars
  • leave a copy of the itinerary and a way of contacting them with family and friends

More useful links

 

 

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email:
rating@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about property valuation, email:
valuation@lpsni.gov.uk

For queries or advice about land registry, email:
CustomerInformation.LandRegistration@finance-ni.gov.uk

For mapping queries, email:
Mapping.Helpdesk@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.