Can a 19 year old travel alone
The first vacation without parents: this is important to note
Two weeks hiking with your parents? A week at the seaside with the whole family? Many teenagers imagine their vacation differently: sun, beach, adventure - and above all without parents. But if you are traveling alone for the first time, you cannot simply book into the blue.
There is a wide range of options for young people who want to travel for the first time without their parents: youth trips with tour guides or supervisors, language trips, sports trips, self-organized trips with friends. The differences are particularly clear when it comes to the care: "That's why I have to think about what I want. Can I travel alone or do I need someone to accompany me?", Says Ulrich Gerth. He is chairman of the Federal Conference for Educational Advice (bke).
It's better to start small
Whether young people should travel with an organizer or alone depends on their age, independence and experience. For example, a tour guide only organizes the trip. On vacation itself, he tends to hold back and only care when difficulties arise. A supervisor, on the other hand, also takes care of the program during the day, so the kids are under supervision.
Gerth advises young people who are leaving for the first time without their parents to start small. City trips over a long weekend are good, for example. When it comes to the distance, the rule of thumb is that you can drive there and back in one day so that you can be back home quickly in an emergency. "If that works well, you not only gain the trust of your parents, but also self-confidence."
When are children allowed to drink alcohol on vacation?
A vacation without parents for minors is not regulated by law. "Only the parents can decide that," explains Undine Krebs, lawyer for family law in the German Bar Association. The legal framework for this is defined by the Youth Protection Act. Parents can delegate the duty of supervision to the tour guide or supervisor, for example, the young people are allowed to go to the disco longer than midnight when accompanied.
Adolescents aged 16 and over are allowed to drink alcohol, but not strong drinks. Reliability matters a lot, especially when it comes to alcohol, says educational counselor Gerth. If the parents notice beforehand that the young person only drinks beer or wine in moderation, they are less worried about the holiday. For young people under the age of 16, however, the restricted alcohol ban still applies: "Here, the parents would have to be present as so-called authorized persons," explains Krebs.
Reputable travel providers: parents should pay attention to this
If young people decide to go on an organized trip, parents should consider a few things beforehand. Above all, how the travel companions or supervisors are trained is a decisive criterion for the seriousness of the organizer, says Undine Krebs. The Federal Forum for Children and Youth Travel on the Internet has put together further criteria.
Among other things, the forum specifies the minimum number of carers: "If the average age is 17, there should be one carer for 17 children," explains spokesman Stephan Schiller. Schiller classifies a tour operator who leaves under 18-year-olds unattended on vacation as dubious.
16 years - the ideal age for the first trip alone
In any case, a good youth trip should also offer a colorful program. Whether sport, culture, language: "Young people want something to do, they want to take something with them from their vacation," says Schiller. City and language trips in particular are currently in vogue. When choosing an organized trip, Schiller recommends that young people create their own checklist of what they expect from their vacation.
After taking the first small steps, young people can expand their radius and try to plan a trip themselves: "Organizing something yourself can be a challenge that makes you grow," says Ulrich Gerth. But you shouldn't underestimate the frustration if it goes wrong. Here, too, age plays a major role again. Because minors are not allowed to book a hotel room without their parents. In the case of youth hostels or campsites, lawyer Undine Krebs advises taking a closer look - in case of doubt, parents must book for their children. "Travel into the blue without a destination and fixed routes are not possible."
Traveling alone for the first time at 16 is often strategically better than at 15, says educational advisor Gerth. "16 is the magic limit, you have better chances." Pentecost or tent camps of the congregation are excluded here: "These are completely different categories." Because, depending on the size of the community, everyone knows everyone here, and the destination is usually within reach.
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