Your son or daughter will need to bear in mind that the legal drinking age in other countries can differ from the UK, so you should research the country or countries they are planning on visiting. In some countries the legal drinking age may be higher or lower than the UK or drinking may be illegal altogether.
However, if you think that your child will drink alcohol while abroad, there are a number of additional precautions they should take:
- be aware of local attitudes to alcohol
- keep an eye on drinks - drugs can be put into ignored drinks
- avoid alcohol while swimming
- don't try to take alcohol into countries where it is prohibited
- public drunkenness is frowned upon wherever you are
Before going abroad, you should try to make sure they understand the importance of the issues below:
- penalties for disobeying drug laws are often severe and include massive fines and long prison sentences in grim conditions, and some countries still have the death penalty
- they should never carry packages through Customs for other people
- advise them not to sit in someone else's vehicle when going through Customs or crossing a border - always get out and walk
- try and make sure they always pack their own luggage and don’t leave it unattended
- if they are driving advise them not to lend their vehicle to anyone else
- they should never give medicines prescribed for them by a doctor to anyone else
- Drugs and your child
- Drugs: what are the risks?
- Get in touch with NI Dacts for drugs and/or alcohol related concerns or queries
You should make sure that they are adequately informed about the dangers of unprotected sex. Not only can this reduce the chance of unwanted pregnancy, it can also significantly reduce the chances of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Travellers overseas should also be aware that cultural attitudes towards relationships differ. Acceptable behaviour in the UK can, in some societies, cause deep offence or misunderstanding in other countries.
- Talking to your child about sex and teenage pregnancy
- Travelling abroad
- Foreign travel advice (GOV.UK website)
Vaccinations and health
If they are travelling abroad to certain countries, you will need to check if they require any vaccinations. Advice on travel vaccinations is available by clicking on the link below or by speaking to your local doctor.
If they fall ill and require medical treatment, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is free and will entitle them to free or reduced-cost treatment in certain European countries. You can apply for the EHIC online.
- Travel health and the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- Travellers (National Travel Health Network and Centre website)(external link)
They should also consider taking out travel insurance. Travel insurance can help you get financial and practical help if something goes wrong on their trip, including illness, theft or accidents.