5 Tips To Getting Your Teen Ready For Their Big Trip

Spring Break, Senior Trips, Mission Trips–it’s that time of year where a lot of teens are getting

ready for their first big trip without Mom and Dad! This can be a big first step for kids and

parents alike, and it can feel a little scary to send your kid out into the world.

But while we know we can’t ease every worry, there are steps you can take to ensure your child

is ready to head out and take the world by storm! With these tips, you can rest just a touch

easier as you wait for them to come home and tell you all about their trip.

Make Sure There’s No Health Or Dental Concerns Ahead Of Time

If your kid is heading off to another country, you’ll want to schedule a quick check-up with their

doctor ahead of time, both to make sure that they’re doing just fine and to ensure they’re up to

date on all vaccines. This is especially true if your child’s heading off to a country where certain

vaccines, like malaria or yellow fever, are required for entry. You can also address any potential

concerns or illnesses they may have before they go.

For most kids, their first big trip comes at age 16 or 17, which also happens to be around the

time their wisdom teeth come in. Outside of their twice-yearly dental exams, you might want to

schedule a visit with the dentist to see if there could be any potential issues or complications

with their wisdom teeth (or any other teeth) during their trip, and then rest easy when you get

the OK for them to go!

Make Sure Their Items Are Clearly Marked

You don’t want your teen to lose any essentials as they get ready for their trip. While you

probably don’t want to go emblazoning their name on their shirt and suitcase, it’s not a bad idea

to label smaller items for their trip. You can use a printing company to label anything from

toothbrushes to wallets. If your kids are particularly forgetful (not unusual for this age!), it’s a

good way to ensure they and their fellow travelers know what items belong to them.

If you’re worried about safety–or if your teen is really protesting having their name on their

toothbrush because it’s “lame”–look into other ways to ensure the things they pack are easily

recognizable to them. Find uniquely colored or patterned items, especially if they’re bright and

colorful, or use colored duct-tape to make their items easily visible. The more unique, the

better–and we’re sure your kid will LOVE being able to get creative.

Talk To The People In Charge

You’re not the first parent to be concerned about their child going on a big trip, especially if it’s

to another country. So you’re also not the first to check-in with the teachers or leaders

organizing the trip. Ask them about the itinerary and what sorts of activities your teen will be

doing on the trip. Talk to them about past trips, and get a feel for what you can expect your kid

will experience on this big adventure.

You can also bring your concerns or any special information–such as dietary needs, medical

information, or other things that your child may not want to bring up–to them and ensure they

have the information they need to ensure that your child is safe and cared for even from afar.

This is also a good way to get a gauge on what the adults leading your teen’s trip is like, and

how comfortable you feel with them in charge.

Encourage Your Teen To Have Fun

While your teen may act like they’ve got it all together, you know better than anyone that at the

end of the day, they’re still a kid, and they might be a little nervous about going somewhere far

away on their own. Even if you’re worried, try not to let them know that you are. This is a big,

exciting moment that will allow them to feel like a grown-up, and you should encourage them to

enjoy it!

An excellent idea to encourage them is to get them a travel journal or a scrapbook to keep their

memories from their trip in. You could even splurge and get them a portable printer for photos,

or a modern twist on a polaroid camera, that way they can put together their memories right as

they happen. Then, you can see for yourself all the fun they had while on their trip.

Have A Back-Up Plan, Just In Case

One thing to keep in mind is that, for one reason or another, the trip could fall through. Either

there could be an issue through the group organizing the trip, dangers abroad that make travel

impossible, or even your teen getting cold feet on being so far away from their family. In this

instance, they’ll likely be disappointed, but if you have a plan in place to minimize that

disappointment, you could craft new memories instead.

If you have the funds for it, work with your child to organize a family trip to somewhere exciting.

Find out what activities and experiences they want to have, then plan accordingly. If that’s not

something you can afford, look into exciting getaways closer to home that your teen has never

experienced: find a four-star hotel nearby and organize a weekend getaway, or find activities

like horseback riding or whitewater rafting that are far enough away to make a whole trip out of

it. They’ll still get incredible memories, and it’ll be with the people they love.

It can be nerve-wracking getting ready for your teen’s first big trip. But it’s a great

experience–for them AND for you, since you’ll get to see them spread their wings and make

their way to adulthood in one of the most exciting ways possible. By keeping these tips in mind,

you can worry a little less and focus on getting your teen ready for the chance of a lifetime!