Traveling is one of the most life-changing, exciting, and humbling experiences a person can have, no matter where you travel, why you are traveling, or what age you are. That being said, traveling can also be quite overwhelming, especially the preparation.
Gathering everything necessary for an overseas trip is tedious when it is just yourself involved, let alone when you are prepping for your child or another minor to be traveling overseas unaccompanied. The car seat questions will be the least of your worries – queue the headache!
To help relieve some of the nerves and stress you are probably feeling right now, we have detailed two of the most important tips for minors traveling abroad.
These are things that are often overlooked, because they are not necessary steps when traveling alone or with your child, as they are specific to unaccompanied minors.
Have a Formal Consent Letter
Consent letters for traveling minors, while not a legal requirement in Canada, are highly recommended. It will make travelling easier for children both when leaving Canada and entering foreign countries, and when returning to Canada. They also provide relief from various legal troubles that could arise when a minor leaves the country without their parents/guardians.
These consent letters should be detailed and signed by everyone who has custody rights and/or guardian rights over the child. The letters then should be, but are not required to be, certified by an official who has the authority to administer an oath or solemn declaration. Said individuals include: commissioner of oaths, notary public, or a lawyer.
For samples of what these consent letters should look like, see here.
Contact Airlines/Etc. Regarding Unaccompanied Minors Policies
It is imperative to ensure you are fully aware of the policies in place with the airline/train line/or bus company your child will be traveling with. Each different company within each of those categories will more than likely have different rules and procedures in place for unaccompanied minors.
To avoid any last minute mix-ups and ensure a smooth and effortless journey, make sure to contact any travel company your child will be using during the trip. Know the rules and procedures so there are no surprises the day of, and so that you have all the necessary documentation/etc. ready to go where and when they are needed.
As you can see, there are a few extra steps involved when sending a minor abroad without a parent that go beyond just a car seat.
While these extra steps may involve a few extra dollars and a bit more time, they are imperative to giving your child the smoothest journey possible. With a little research, a little common sense, and a lot of preparation, your child will be on their way to safe and happy travels abroad.