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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Children travelling alone

Is your child ready to go on a long journey alone? While there may be further arrangements that you or your child will want to consider to ensure their safety, here are some of the key issues to think about.

Ferries and trains

Check with individual ferry companies about their policy on children travelling unaccompanied. 

The Eurostar website has information about children travelling alone on its trains.


Before booking flights, you should check with the airline what their policy is on children travelling unaccompanied.

Considerations for younger children:

  • write your telephone number, address and the contact details of who the child is meeting
  • give them toys and games to play in their carry-on luggage

For all children:

  • passports for children under 16 are only valid for 5 years, make sure their passport is valid before they travel and that you have obtained any visas necessary for the journey (check with the Embassy of the country to which they are travelling or travelling through)
  • make sure they have a photocopy (or two) of their passport that is kept away from their actual passport — you could keep a copy too that could be faxed anywhere around the world if necessary
  • give your child a copy of their travel arrangements (including return flight details)
  • ensure that your contact details are written in your child's passport
  • ensure they have the name, address and telephone number of the person they are meant to meet at the airport — advise them to go with no one else
  • ensure that your child also has the address of the nearest British Embassy or Consulate in case they need to contact someone urgently
  • give your child some money to phone you if they need to before they leave the airport — make sure they know the country code

Make sure the person collecting your child knows the flight details.


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's website is well worth visiting for further details that should be considered before travelling (not every country has this information published on the website).

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