Divorce can be a difficult adjustment for all family members, but it can be especially challenging for children. Navigating child travel arrangements between two homes can add another layer of complexity to the situation. And can have both emotional and legal complications.
To make this process easier, parents should plan ahead and clearly communicate with each other to keep their children safe and secure while traveling. This guide will provide tips for divorced families on how to make the process of child travel smoother – read on for all you need to know about documents, unaccompanied minors, and staying stress-free.
Can My Child Travel Alone?
There may be occasions where your child is required to travel alone – this could include traveling between parents in the event of a divorce.
Many airlines provide special rules and regulations for unaccompanied minors. Depending on the airline, a child may be able to travel alone if they are aged between 5 and 11 years old. However, it is important to check with the relevant airline beforehand to ensure that your child meets their criteria.
In addition, you should also confirm any restrictions on unaccompanied minors relating to international flights or long-haul journeys before booking.
It is also important to ensure that any key paperwork is in order, and this can include:
If your child is taking a domestic flight – that is, one within the United States – then they will need to provide valid government-issued photo identification if they are over the age of 18. This can include a driver’s license, passport, green card, or state ID. This requirement does not usually apply to minors under the age of 18, as the majority of airlines will accept ID from the adult traveling with the child – but this is a little different for minors.
While unaccompanied minors under the age of 15 are unlikely to have to show ID< travelers aged 15-17 may be required to show ID such as a passport or Social Security Card.
For international flights, your child may require additional paperwork, such as a visa. Contact the embassy or consulate of the country you are traveling to to confirm the necessary documents.
If your child is flying internationally, they will require a valid passport. Make sure to check that the passport is valid for at least six months after your return date.
It is also important to note that if your child holds dual citizenship, they may need a passport from both countries to travel.
A Notarized Letter
Minors may also require a notarized letter from both parents to travel. This provides authorization for the child to fly alone and should include information such as the names of both parents, who they are traveling with, their contact information, travel dates, and destination. The letter should also be sign by both parents and notarize.
You will need to purchase tickets for your child in advance. Make sure to check the airline’s policy on unaccompanie minors and any additional fees that may be require.
In addition, you may want to consider purchasing an electronic ticket rather than a paper ticket – this will make it easier for your child to pass through security checks without having to worry about carrying around physical tickets.
Unaccompanied Minor Form
Many airlines will also require a complete Unaccompani Minor form, also known as a Child Travel Consent Form, which acts as proof that the child is authorize to travel unaccompanie. Details such as who is dropping off and picking up the child are typically include.
Safety Tips For Child Travel
It is important to ensure that your child is aware of safety tips while traveling, and this can include:
Explain The Importance Of Instructions
Make sure your child understands the importance of following instructions from flight attendants and other airline personnel. They should also be aware that they should not leave their seat without permission and know how to behave in a safe, mature manner.
In addition, your child should also know who to ask for help in case of an emergency, such as a flight attendant or security guard, and be aware of the location of emergency exits.
Your child should also have a few basic necessities in their carry-on bag, such as snacks and entertainment items for the flight. It is also important to ensure that they have any necessary medication with them while traveling.
Remain In Contact
Make sure your child knows how to remain in contact with you during their journey. Let them know how to send and receive messages, as well as how to use their phone in case of an emergency.
Make Sure They Know Where They Are Going
When traveling between parental homes, make sure that your child knows who is meeting them at their destination and how to get there. Give them a contact number in case they run into any problems or delays, and make sure that the other parent is also aware of your child’s travel plans, including their flight number and details.
Child travel can be a stressful experience, particularly for divorce families, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the amount of paperwork and preparations that need to be made. However, with a little bit of planning and preparation, you can ensure that your child has a safe and stress-free journey and make the process of divorce as smooth and painless as possible for everyone involved – even when you and your ex-partner are living a great distance apart.