Sunday Mornings with Rania: Spring Break Safety for Teens
As I’m looking forward to enjoying spring break with my family, I remember that this time of year is when parents often find themselves worried about teens about to head out on a spring break trip with friends. Before your teen leaves, it’s important to talk with them about their safety plan, whether they’re traveling domestically and internationally.
Here are some issues to discuss with them:
- Travel in a group. Everybody in that group must be known to you and your family.
- Ask: Is anyone meeting the group at the destination? In my line of work, “friends-of-friends” is synonymous with “terrible trouble.” When your teen/young adult is far from you – in another state or country – it’s not time to leave them in the hands of someone unknown.
- Gather as much information as possible. Where are they staying? Do they know how to navigate the currency? Do they know where the local U.S. Embassy is located? Do they know whom to call in case of an emergency? How will they be traveling while away – renting a car, Uber, taxi, hotel car service? With each of these topics, parents should do the research with their children. Times have changed – hopping into a cab or Uber here may be second nature; in a foreign country it could be dangerous. Similarly, converting money between currencies here may be easy and safe; in the travel destination at hand, it could create targets for robbery and theft.
- Keep copies of personal information. Make sure they have copies of their passport and credit cards. Copies should stay hidden in their luggage and they should also send copies of their password and credit cards for you to keep at home, just in case. While they’re traveling, they should make sure they know exactly where their passport, credit and debit cards are at all times.
- Going off alone should never be done. This means if you’re about to enter a nightclub or overly populated area, create a meeting space and designate a time that is agreed to by all ahead of time.
- Travel destinations may have different drinking laws. Even if it’s legal for your child to drink in the destination city, the discussion about drinking responsibly must still be had.
- Medical needs: In addition to everything else, make sure your child is healthy enough to travel and knows what health clinic to go to in the event of a medical emergency.
Posted byon 13 Mar 2016
About the author
Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston