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oct 31

At What Age Can Children Vacation Solo?

Teen traveling in Cuba (Courtesy emeryjl/Flickr)

Some parents permit their children to be independent travelers fairly early, while others don't. At what age is it okay to let children go on distant trips without being accompanied by an adult?

Another way of thinking about this question is, "do you think other people's teenagers should be allowed to fly unsupervised?"

Some teens may not be mature enough to handle the snafus that can happen on a trip. If a flight gets screwed up, for instance, they can't wave a credit card and book a hotel room or rent a car.

But other parents may find their teens to be confident and resilient enough to cope with any problems that might come up on the road. These parents may feel comfortable letting their kids go with friends their own age to go on a cruise, taking an overnight road trip, or even exploring foreign cities—at ages as young as 17.

Airline policies vary. As the New York Times recently reported, "United, Continental, and American allow children to travel alone from the age of 12."

In foreign countries, rules about alcohol consumption are different than in the US. So are customs about mingling with strangers.

What say you? Vote in our poll!

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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