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At what age will you let your kids travel alone?

1139 Views 15 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  mamarhu
My daughter is going to NYC this August to stay with her aunt, and great aunt. She's flying on a non stop flight from our city to NYC both ways. She's 10 years old and has traveled by plane with me and my husband several times and once alone within our state one way to see her grandparents. We drove there to pick her up after a couple of days.

She's going for over a week and is so excited. My SIL and aunt in law live in Manhattan in the safest of buildings with a doorman, etc so it is not *where* she is going so much as just the idea that she's going at all, that makes me nervous, kwim?

I know she'll have a fabulous time. The first weekend she's there they're going out on a yacht (another family member's) and then they're going to Fire Island for a few days, and then my MIL is going to be in NYC too and they'll all go to the museums, a play, and do other cool fun stuff. I know she will be just as safe there as she would be here with me. But still!!! I worry and am nervous and think of every bad scenario.

So at what age were you able to relax about your kids being away? And what helped you get through it? I am a wreck but I'm hiding it because I don't want *her* worrying about *me*, you know?
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when they are happily married.....ok , just kidding !

i don't know,i guess it all depends on the maturity level of the kid, kwim?

I have been to the Middle East and several parts of europe several times, but i was always with my parents traveling. ..i think international travelign is a whole other ball park, kwim?

I think that if it's just in the states, maybe 10, i don't know.
my 2dsd just flew alone for the first time. One is 15 the other 13. With most airline you have to pay an additional fee. Delta allows this starting at 5 and is necessary till 15. They require a predetermined adult to accompany the kid(s) to the gate and when they show the boarding ticket the dc is escorted to the plane and offically handed over to the flight attandent. Our girls even had a connection. The staff drove them from one gate to the next via a van on the airstrip. A predetermined adult must then met the dc at the gate when they land.
The girls were embarassed over all the attention but once on the plane said that the staff didn't seem to be checking on them. I'm not sure if the girls age/size made the staff think they didn't need checking on of if the stafff just doesn't check on the kids much. (the 13yr girl is 5'9" and 155 so she is often thought of as mature, though is not.) They had only flown once before this. I don't know how well they could have handled a connection, it ended up being a very close one.
My parents are already taking about sending my dd to them. Even though she has flown alot I know my dd isn't ready at almost 5. She wants me to walk her to the bus stop for K. The dc really need to be able to entertain themselves for the entire flight. Having a sibling was really helpful for the dsd.
My biggest worry would be someone "messing with her" on the plane as I fear supervision is lacking. My dsd didn't even sit near the staff and they had a stranger sitting besides them.
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last summer my little brother came to visit me from south america, he was 12, he told me that they sat all the kids flying alone together and that there was a grownup with them the whole time, when he had to transfer to another plane he was with someone and when he got to the airport here i was able to be there right when he got off the plane, he was fine he really enjoyed it, and same thing for his flight home
i was really worried about how the trip would be for him my first time flying alone was when i was 18 and i was sooo afraid, but he is a pretty laid back relaxed kid
when i have kids it will depend on there age when they fly alone
my little brother has friends that flew alone from south america to the united states alone when they where as young as 8, that seems very young to me though
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My almost 15 yr old and almost 12 yr old ds's have traveled on 1.5 hour non stop flights several times in the past 2 yrs.My ds's travel together so I have that reassurance. My older one is extremly responsible and wise. I would not feel as comfortable having my younger son make a trip alone. They are just two different kids.

My brother in law is a pilot, as is his father. They both feel that non stop flights that are short in duration are not a problem for the most part. they have both seen some very hard situations The concern comes up when children are changing planes and need to make flights. Delays and gate changes can be confusing for some children.

My dp helps me deal with that fine line between being overly fearful and knowing what my children can cope with. Although my boys are getting older I still am consumed in thoughts for their well being...

I agree with lena1984...I'll hopefully stop worrying when they are married
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Thirteen is the age I have let mine travel alone.
I traveled alone at 12. That sounds about right. Totally depends on the maturity level of each of my children, though.
my son started summer camp at 8 or 9 (cant remember right now). he didnt travel alone but was at camp all summer and we visited every weekend. as for air travel he has veen visiting his gm in Fl. for the last few years. i was worried about his first trip (he was 11 i believe) but the airline personnel were very attentive to him.
I flew with my brother when we were 11 and 13 but my brother was a dolt so for all practical purposes i was flying alone. Our plane landed late. as in after our connecting flight was scheduled to take off. there were no adults who checked on us or anything. our connection was Atlanta, they over booked a flight and all the people charged the guy in the booth and started screaming and threatening. it was very disturbing. thankfully we made our connecting flight. we actually had an hour or more to wait. we didn't have food and it was already past my bed timen so i was tired and cranky. we finaly arrived well after midnight (I stioll went to bed at 8:30 7 days a week). I doubt I wil let my dd travel anytime soon although it soudns like they are much more attentive and cautious with children now. I would still make sure it as a direct flight. I know my friends just had trouble getting thier termanally ill son home. he is an adult and could do OK on a flight but if he was stranded with a layover thinsg could get tricky because he needs help eating and with the bathroom (So there is a 4 or 5 hour window|) he got laid over on the way there, flight was almost cancled. everyone was in a total panic. they ended up driving him home. But what if your 11 year old got stuck in denver for 10 hours? That is what totally scares me. getting on a plane in one place and getting off in another and spending time with family is fine but I don't think I wuld let my child travel between hear and there alone until they were old enough and mature enough to deal with al the scary stuff that can happen when they travel. I think i was near 18 before I got on a plane again. and even that made me a nervous wreck. ( no one told me my connecting flight was at another airport. one minute I am going where they direct me and before I knew what had happened I was on a bus heading into Denver . it was exactly where I needed to be but someone could have told me, reassured me my luggage was on its way, etc. . . )

So anyway I don't think I will let my chidlren fly alone.
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well, I think there are two questions here.
At what age did we let our kids vacation without us. (even in another state with family members)
And at what age did we actually let them get there alone by plane unaccompanied.
My daughter took her first trip without me at age 5 when her paternal grandmother took her to visit her father out of state. That did make me a bit of a wreck.
At seven she went to camp for the first time.
She has traveled to other states without me many times, but usually with a trusted friend or relative (or Girl Scout troop)
She is now 13 and hasnt flown alone yet but I would let her.

I assume you know that she can fly as an unaccompanied minor, and gets escorted everywhere, and basically treated like royalty???

My dd is almost 11, and has never traveled without us, other than to guide camp, but I can see in the next year or two her wanting to go to Ireland alone. I think we will allow it.
My DD was 13 when she flew by herself the first time. I was so scared and I know she was too. The flight attendent took very good care of my DD. Everytime my DD flies , I know they will take care of her.She now flies every Summer to visit her dad and his wife.
OP here...I was so surprised to see this thread resurrected, that I thought I would give an 'update'!

dd's trip last summer was a smashing success. She had a fabulous time, nobody was late, she was treated like royalty by the airline and by our extended family she was visiting, and she wants to go again next summer!

Thanks to all who posted in reply last summer. You were right!
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I flew alone when I was 12. The flight was fine, but I was really stressed when we were going to land because it was snowing and they were talking about rerouting my plane to Rhode Island (I was going to Boston). That freaked me out. They decided to land in Boston anyway, but instead of pulling up to a normal gate we had to go down stairs to the gorund and then walk in the airport. We weren't at the place we were supposed to be, so my step-father was not right there waiting for me. I was upset and didn't know what to do. About 15 minutes after I got off the plane my step father found me. I don't think that would happen today though.

When I was 15 I started travelling internationally with teachers and other students from school. I even went off by myself in Paris when I was 15 or 16. I don't know how my mom handled my travelling. I should ask her.

I'm sure you'll be ok.

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My younger brother and I flew to my grandparents' house when we were 6 and 8, I believe. One stop, no changing planes, about 1000 miles. Too far, IMO. My ears started hurting a lot (I had lots of ear issues as a kid) and I cried a lot. My brother didn't like the food and pouted. I also remember being really scared that we would be kidnapped. My parents put cards around our necks with their names and our home address, plus my grandparents' names and their address, and I remember my mom making my dad change his title from "Dr." (which he was) to "Mr.", so people wouldn't think we were rich.

My daughter just turned 13 and is flying from Kansas to California alone later this month. I am a little anxious, but I also think she'll be fine. She does have to change planes once, in Phoenix, but she's a seasoned flier (dozens of trips) and she's been to that airport a lot (we even spent a night there once, which sucked but that's another story) and she has a long layover, and it's all the same airline so I know it will be the same terminal.

On Southwest, kids 12 and over are treated as adults, so no escorts (and no extra $100 fee). At least, that's what they said to me.

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My daughter is 10, and will be flying alone for the first time tomorrow! The flight is less than 2 hours, and like others said,, adults will be with her at both ends. She flew down with my Mom yesterday, and has had visits with my brother and sister. She has called me 5 times since noon yesterday - no problems, but clearly wanting to check in. Harder on me than her, I think!
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