keep teens safe when they are on overseas trips

Travelling without parental supervision is every kid's dream and every parent's nightmare. Travel safety for teens is a must to shield them from the perils that could befall them without a concerned adult to guide them. There are a few steps that you should do before letting your teen go to a foreign country without you.

1. Travel documents

Teens to know how important their travel documents are to their safety and identity. Losing travel documents like passports, visas, travel itineraries, credit cards, hotel reservations, airline tickets, train tickets, travel insurance, etc. is very bad for a few reasons:
  • Replacing them is a difficult and lengthy process.
  • Replacing them in a foreign country is much harder
  • It could result in a teen getting stranded on the trip.

They must be copied in case of loss or theft. The traveling teen should have a copy, someone traveling with the teen should have a copy as well and the parent should have a copy. A copy of the lost document would greatly reduce the time used to replace it, especially if your country's embassy is closed or short-staffed.

The best way to copy documents for travel is to scan and store them electronically on an email account, an online cloud, a portable device like a laptop or a tablet and a memory stick. Securing them with passwords is also a necessity since they would be valuable to identity thieves. 

2. A packing list

Depending on where the teen is going and how long he/she will be gone, a packing list is essential in preparing for the trip. They must have the essentials needs, pick the right kind of luggage for the trip and even take medications along. It is also important to avoid packing too much for the trip.

The teen is going to have to manage everything packed on the trip alone. The more things you take, the easier it is to lose track of something and the more likely it is that something goes missing.

3. Staying in contact

Keeping in touch with teens is a great way to verify their well-being on a trip. There are many ways one can stay in contact with a teen traveling abroad. A simple method of staying in touch would be via email. Sending an email every so often would keep a parent informed of a teen's health and whereabouts during a trip. Of course, there are chances that the teen simply creates a mailing list to send messages to his/her parents automatically.

Fortunately, some apps allow for real-time communication between a parent and a teen. Skype, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, iMessage/FaceTime and Facebook Messenger are available for a wide range of devices and are excellent for keeping in touch on the go.

Also, it's important to create and stick to a realistic communication schedule. This will help solve the issues associated with trying to contact someone in a different time zone.

4. Handling money

Protecting and managing money is a big task for teens traveling abroad. If lost, the teen is basically stranded with no ability to purchase food, lodging or travel arrangements. A parent would need access to whatever bank or credit card accounts under the teen's control. This will facilitate the monitoring of their expenses and ensure that the accounts haven't been hijacked by unscrupulous parties.

A good idea would be to get the teen a credit card with no foreign transaction fee. This is especially useful if the teen is traveling through different countries, each with their currency. Without the need to exchange currency and suffer extra bank charges, the money would last a lot longer.

Cash is a safer option in smaller purchase situations. If at a restaurant or shopping at a place where the credit or debit card must be taken out of sight, cash is a preferred option. The advantage of using cash is that the teen will not have to expose his/her credit card number or debit card PIN. Hence, his/her finances are protected from theft.

5. Social media

In the age of social media oversharing, doing so while traveling can create dangerous situations for the teens and anyone they're traveling with. The social media posts can even be used in stealing identities and the facilitation of social engineering attacks.

The social media accounts of a traveling teen must be made as secure as possible before traveling. Unsecured internet connections might be the only internet connections available and, proper precautions must be taken. Teens must know not to post travel information, like flight details, online. If such data needs to be shared, which it probably doesn't, he/she can wait until after the trip. Information like that can be used to create elaborate phishing scams or fake kidnapping scenes to demand ransoms from family and friends.

6. Medical insurance

Given the myriad of situations that a teen might encounter when traveling abroad, medical insurance is a necessity to ensure that they are covered while abroad. A good plan's coverage should start when the teen departs his/her home country and cover treatment for any illnesses contracted overseas.

Ideally, the insurance should be purchased before the trip, but one can be still acquired after the trip has begun. It will still cover illness contracted after the policy becomes effective.

7. Tracking location

Even with all the above measures, a parent might still feel the need to keep a closer eye on the teen while he/she is abroad. Apps like Spokeo allow to make a phone number search and see the locations the teen is visiting, also it is good for checking all social media profiles.

With services like reverse phone lookup, parents can check and verify the location of any calls they receive from a teen abroad to ensure that he/she is exactly where he/she is supposed to be. Some reverse number lookup services like Spokeo will provide a detailed dossier on the owner of the number.


Even though parents will want the kids to have a good time while traveling, the importance of travel safety should not be neglected. Use these ideas to keep your teen safe. Hope they are useful for you.

Valerie Malecha is a content writer for Spokeo. Her main interests are traveling, meeting new people and trying something new. She is experienced in marketing, business, travel, and technology topics.