Sun, sea, and safety: The parent's guide to surviving your children's first solo holiday
Sending your kids off on their first holiday without supervision is a nerve-wracking time for all parents! But you can rest assured your not-so-little ones will stay safe and well with these essential tips for keeping in touch and preventing problems. After all, it can be hard to pack common sense into a suitcase!
Modern technology has made connecting from abroad easier than ever, so why not use one of the many apps to keep track of your children while they explore the world? For iPhone users, the free app Find My Friends will geo-locate their phone to within a few feet of their current location, while for Android users Familo and GeoZilla offer similar free services. Encourage your offspring to add their friends to the app too so they can find each other easily if anyone gets separated from the group.
As well as encouraging them to check in frequently, packing a kit of essentials is a sure-fire way to put your mind at ease. Here you can include a First Aid kit, details of their bookings and travel insurance, notes on what to do in certain emergency situations, key phone numbers for the country they are in, and even a pre-paid card for emergencies—although don't forget to remind them that accidentally blowing their budget on novelty inflatables doesn’t usually count as an emergency!
Of course, a gaggle of excitable youngsters can have their head in the clouds, so give yourself peace of mind and protect your children with full travel insurance. If you live outside of Europe and they're travelling into the EU, they might need to get themselves a Schengen visa. You can use this checker to confirm and, even if they don't need the visa, you should still help your teen to get Schengen insurance. It covers hospitalisation, provides assistance in the case of injury, and is valid anywhere in the Schengen area.
Preventing painful sunburn and peeling skin with good-quality, high SPF suncream is another key parental worry, so make sure to pack a selection of creams in their luggage—one-day application brands are ideal for forgetful teenagers who might not be vigilant with reapplying. Finally, encourage your children to share the contact details of a few of their friends on the trip, so you can still get hold of them should they have an unfortunate swimming pool-meets-phone disaster.