Essentials

Travelling Without Parents for the First Time? Here Are Some Top Tips

June 10, 2024
Jacob Robinson

A well-earned summer holiday abroad is a rite of passage for students — particularly if you’ve just finished your A-Levels or come off a semester heavy with deadlines. It’s the perfect opportunity to rest and recuperate before the next academic year.

Nonetheless, travelling without your parents for the first time can be a daunting prospect. Hate to admit it — but they know what they’re doing. However crude the stereotype of the ‘Airport dad’ is, it is a character you want in your life when travelling. Here are some first-time travel tips without parents:

Choosing a Destination

Sometimes, we want different things from travelling, whether it be immersing ourselves in a foreign culture, or savoring the vibrant atmosphere of a party holiday. Regardless, choosing a destination for solo trip is the first step in planning a successful holiday. Maybe you want to visit somewhere you’ve already gone with your parents? Or perhaps you want to try somewhere new?

Picking a destination that’s popular amongst fellow students is always a safe bet, particularly as there’s bound to be recommendations of what to do and where to stay online. There are definitely some go-to destinations for a post A-level results blow out. Budapest, Greece, Croatia, Prague and Spain are all very budget-friendly travel destinations for your first trip travelling without parents.

Before you travel, it’s worth checking the FCDO’s travel advice for the country or countries you’re visiting. You can find out about entry requirements, health info and local laws and customs, as well as get email alerts for solo travel advice for where you’re visiting. With email alerts, you get automatically notified of any changes to the advice, ensuring you’ll be well-prepared.

Accommodation Tips for Students: 

The next step is to book safe and affordable accommodation. As students on a tight budget, the price is key. We don’t have the funds to pick somewhere super extravagant, but this doesn’t stop choosing somewhere safe and accessible. It’s beneficial to pick somewhere which is close to public transport links if you’re in a major city, particularly if you’re not planning on having a hire car.

Always book through accommodation sites and never pay outside of the site. Sites like Booking.com and HostelWorld you can sometimes choose, for a cheaper price, to go without the option to cancel and receive a refund. Despite the higher cost, flexibility is always crucial. For example, I recently had an Airbnb host cancel my booking as they wanted to use the apartment for the whole of September. Whilst they gave us enough notice which allowed us to find an alternative, as my Dad nonchalantly reminded me: “it’s just something Airbnb hosts can do.” This is rare but worth noting.

Read the reviews and plan journeys to nearby places you want to visit before booking.

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Importance of Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is single-handedly one of the most important things to remember when booking a holiday — if not the most important thing. You might think it’s a waste of money. But, in an expressly parent phrase, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.” From protecting against lost luggage to providing protection during natural disasters, it offers coverage for a wide range of scenarios. There’s nothing worse than travelling without your parents for the first time and losing some of your prized belongings or misplacing something in a hostel for it to be gone when you get back… Not the one!

From safeguarding against lost luggage to providing protection during natural disasters, it offers coverage for a wide range of scenarios.

Remember to:

· Always declare medical conditions, even if you don’t think they’re necessary to declare. If you go without doing so, it can result in a hefty contribution towards an insurance payout.

· Check exclusions — especially if you’re going on a cruise or even planning on doing sports. A common issue can be something as simple as hiring a quad bike. It’s likely you will need separate or additional cover in these circumstances.

· Check the excess (an agreed amount of money you will pay towards a claim if you need to use your travel insurance).

· Check if you’re covered for flight delays or cancellations. This summer, across Europe, air traffic controllers are going on strike which may result in last-minute flight cancellations.

· Check your policy covers your entire trip, otherwise it can prevent a claim.

· Make a note of the contact details of the insurance company in case you need to make a claim.

The FCDO has more advice on what you should look for in travel insurance.

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General Travel Organisation

The ‘Airport dad’ stereotype really comes in clutch when getting ready to jet off. Equipped with a plastic folder full of all the necessary documents, making sure everyone is on-time (maybe a bit too on-time). This is the attitude you want to adopt, even if it’s a tad extreme.

For a flight within Europe, arrive a minimum of two hours before departure, and three for an international trip. Double check the time check-in closes, luggage weight restrictions; perhaps if you’re feeling paranoid which airport! It’s easy to forget, particularly with low-cost airlines like Ryan air or Easy Jet, that you usually have to check in before you get to the airport, or risk paying a hefty fee. A luggage scale is a cheap investment too to avoid any unwanted surprises.

Once you’re there, remember to stick together as a group. Setting up a WhatsApp group chat, sharing your location with each other and agreeing on a meeting point are some of the simple steps you can take to keep safe when travelling without parents.

All these precautions and organization come with the reward of having peace of mind once you’re at 34,000ft, excited for what a week in the sun (or rain) will bring. Ensuring you are prepared for any unexpected eventualities is crucial in keeping that well-earned break a relaxing one!

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Written by

Jacob Robinson
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