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Would you let a very responsible, mature 17 year old go to Europe with friends?


Would you let a responsible 17 year old young man go to Europe with friends?  

  1. 1. Would you let a responsible 17 year old young man go to Europe with friends?

    • Yes
      163
    • No
      135


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My ds is really responsible. He never gives us any problems, is doing great in college, and treats us very well (respectful and just fun to be around). The ages are anywhere from 17-22. This is a co-ed trip and his girlfriend will be going. These teens will be functioning as responsible adults.

 

So would you let your son go?

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I would seriously look at the others who are going. Has anyone traveled a great deal? What languages do they speak? Who is really good at reading a map? Europe is still quite expensive; will they have enough money? Are the other people going to be living the same life-style he is - are they backpacking or staying in nice places? I would want my son to wait a bit. I would want him to do a US trip first.

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I would seriously look at the others who are going. Has anyone traveled a great deal? What languages do they speak? Who is really good at reading a map? Europe is still quite expensive; will they have enough money? Are the other people going to be living the same life-style he is - are they backpacking or staying in nice places? I would want my son to wait a bit. I would want him to do a US trip first.

 

Those are good questions! I have a lot of research to do still. My ds has been out of the country already. The reason I would let him, if I do, is because I don't know when another opportunity like this would come up for him. Keep the comments and questions coming. :)

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If I felt comfortable & honest describing my 17-y-o as mature & responsible, I would say yes. One of my brothers is 17, and I could see him being mature enough to handle a trip to Europe with friends. When my oldest brother was that age, no way... but you know your child best, and if you think he can handle it, I say go for it! What an opportunity!

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No, not if it's just with friends. If it were with some adults, yes. If it were with an organisation of some sort, yes (like a gap year organisation, a humanitarian group, mission trip, etc).

 

ETA: this is partly because there are sometimes things you just can't do unless you're a particular age (like in the US, renting a car, or getting a hotel room). I don't know what kind of issues would come up in Europe because of age.

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GREAT QUESTIONS... and yes, if answers to these type of questions met your approval....tell him to have fun for me!!! And send postcards!!!:001_smile:

I would seriously look at the others who are going. Has anyone traveled a great deal? What languages do they speak? Who is really good at reading a map? Europe is still quite expensive; will they have enough money? Are the other people going to be living the same life-style he is - are they backpacking or staying in nice places? I would want my son to wait a bit. I would want him to do a US trip first.
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If he were a responsible adult, yes, I'd let my son go.

Does that mean no if he's 17, but yes if he's 18? Or do you consider him to be an adult based on behavior and not age? There are people over 18 that I would consider not to be adults yet, although legally they are. But I wouldn't consider a 17 year old to be, even if they act like one. I'd consider them to be responsible, mature teenagers.

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I'd let him travel, but I'd think long and hard about where.

 

I am spooked about international politics lately.

 

I know exactly what you mean. This is just something that was brought up, no commitment or information yet. At this point it is just conjecture. :D

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Yes. Now, my dd is turning 17 this year (!!) and I would not let her go on this trip, as she is neither exceptionally mature nor responsible. But a young adult like the one you described, yes, absolutely.

 

When I was 22 I went to live in Europe for a while with my then-boyfriend. I took a solo trip to England, and a friend of mine in the States told my dad about it. My father called me up in the country I was living in and told me that if I did not stop "gallivanting" around the world irresponsibly (i.e., alone), he would have then-bf's parents pack me on a plane and send me home. I told him, "Dad, if I worked for the company you work for, and they sent me on an international business trip like they do you, would you expect them to send along a babysitter?" Not very relevant to this topic, I know, but fun to relate nonetheless. :)

 

Tara

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My ds is really responsible. He never gives us any problems, is doing great in college, and treats us very well (respectful and just fun to be around). The ages are anywhere from 17-22. This is a co-ed trip and his girlfriend will be going. These teens will be functioning as responsible adults.

 

So would you let your son go?

 

Would there be any kind of a safety net, like friends or family that they would be staying with?

 

When I was on a college trip to Europe, a small group of us managed to miss our return flights after leaving the main tour group to return a few days early. This meant a couple train trips and then having to buy one way tickets back to the US at the airport (which I couldn't pay for on my credit card, btw and had to have a classmate pay for).

 

When we were living in Europe, I had my wallet stolen when I left my backpack unattended. This was way out in the countryside and required me to make a police report in another language. On another occasion, I had my passport lifted (which I didn't discover until the next afternoon at the border). On another trip, I almost missed my flight because I (and a couple other people) misread a train schedule. On another trip, dh and I almost spent the night in a train station because we had assumed that lodging would be available on a holiday weekend. On another occasion, dh left his ATM card in the machine and had it sucked back in (had to wait a couple days to visit the bank and get it back).*

 

I would say that I was a pretty low key, responsible person. But bad things still happen. How would these problems be handled? Would there be anyone local who could provide assistance?

 

*You're probably thinking that your ds will be fine as long as my family isn't traveling anywhere nearby. We've done a lot of overseas travel, so we've had ample opportunity to mess things up.

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ETA: this is partly because there are sometimes things you just can't do unless you're a particular age (like in the US, renting a car, or getting a hotel room). I don't know what kind of issues would come up in Europe because of age.

 

The age of consent and the drinking are all lower in Europe, from what I've been told, so this might not be as much a barrier as it would be in the US. On the other hand, they might be legally able to do things there that they couldn't do here, and might take advantage of that.

 

And with all the stuff going on over there politically, riots/protests/etc. at this point I would say "no." I like the backpacking across America idea someone brought up.

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I have a ds that is 17yo ds who is very mature and responsible. I would not let hiim go until he was a bit older for some of the same reasons already mentioned - age limitations on renting cars/hotel rooms, things are iffy for Americans everywhere these days, and if problems did arise I would be too far away to be of any help to him.

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Would there be any kind of a safety net, like friends or family that they would be staying with?

 

 

 

I think I would consider a trip that was to a country to stay with a family differently than one that was open ended (like get a Eurail Pass and bummel around). Even if the family is used as a staging area for frequent daytripping or longer trips about, it gives them someone to contact if things go wrong.

 

I would even think better of a distantly connected base station (a church group, a distant relative, a friend of a professor) than just winging it. I have winged it. It wasn't always flawless and some of the recovery actions were difficult (walking through a small city on a holiday evening hoping to find a hotel with open beds, knowing the train station was now shut for the night or that the last bus had made its run) or expensive (buying a new plane ticket).

 

A base station also gives them somewhere to stash larger bags, do laundry and sleep soundly/get a good meal. Carrying everything in a pack with you does get tiresome. I also think that you can really learn a lot by integrating into a family atmosphere. (I remember being stunned to realize that German 4 year olds actually spoke German. I think it hadn't come home to me before that moment that German wasn't something just concocted by my high school teachers.)

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My ds is really responsible. He never gives us any problems, is doing great in college, and treats us very well (respectful and just fun to be around). The ages are anywhere from 17-22. This is a co-ed trip and his girlfriend will be going. These teens will be functioning as responsible adults.

 

So would you let your son go?

 

No.

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Yes and I will probably be doing just that in a few years. My oldest has had a desire to just GO for years now. She has a journal of all the places she wants to visit and none are in the US. I can't hang on to her forever and if she is responsible enough at 17 I would let her go. (But it wouldn't be easy:glare:)

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If I trusted the others in the group, knew where they were planning on going, and felt some safety about those locations, I would agree. My dh, OTOH, would not I'm sure.

 

My dh and I both have wanderlust and have at times wandered around the country, him much more than me. WE've already had discussions about ds wanting to do the same. DH concludes he will go with ds the first time and then allow.

 

So in his line of thinking he would want to travel to Europe as a family first before he allowed ds.

 

I would have loved to have done something like that at 17. Alas my friends weren't that adventurous in their thinking.

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No, not if it's just with friends. If it were with some adults, yes. If it were with an organisation of some sort, yes (like a gap year organisation, a humanitarian group, mission trip, etc).

 

ETA: this is partly because there are sometimes things you just can't do unless you're a particular age (like in the US, renting a car, or getting a hotel room). I don't know what kind of issues would come up in Europe because of age.

 

:iagree:

 

The age of consent and the drinking are all lower in Europe, from what I've been told, so this might not be as much a barrier as it would be in the US. On the other hand, they might be legally able to do things there that they couldn't do here, and might take advantage of that.

 

And with all the stuff going on over there politically, riots/protests/etc. at this point I would say "no." I like the backpacking across America idea someone brought up.

 

:iagree:

 

...I would want my son to wait a bit. I would want him to do a US trip first.

 

:iagree:

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not with a group of friends, the blind leading the blind and all that...

 

1) my first question is what's the purpose, to hang with friends and see the sites? No, not at his age.

 

If he were going as part of a group with experienced adults who knew the ropes, could add to the learning, had BTDT, AND spoke the language enough to function well, no would change to yes in a heartbeat. Even then, I'd want to know about the temperament of the adults: a belligerant or overtired adult can escalate a bad situation very quickly!

 

2) What about safety? Too many things can go wrong, particularly with the world in its current state, given that none are mature adults. They're more like adult-lings. :) Seriously, I can only think of one or two young adults that I know that have *real* common sense, calm, and problem-solving skills, and my kids run a a "great" group of kids--young adults that I think very highly of. Very few of them have the real-world experience that comes with navigating unfamiliar situations; they just haven't had enough exposure.

 

I was on an overseas trip with a bunch of them two summers ago, and--Oy--some of the common sense gaps became apparent. It's a rare skill, a form of problem-solving, learning to take what you know from a familiar environment and figuring out how to get yourself unjammed when you are in an unfamiliar environment.

 

Dd is going on a short summer study program this summer to a location she has dreampt of for years, but it will be with a group that includes adults and an experienced teacher.

 

LBNL, watch Taken. (or don't....ugh!!!)

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Interesting question. I live here in Europe and I take my teens a lot of places. It is really not that expensive - we read Rick Steve's books and solicit A LOT of advice online before we go.

There are some seedy places we have passed through and it makes me nervous to think of my children going through without me.

Having said that, I would allow them to travel with friend *IF* they had a passion for it. My 20 year old daughter loves to travel but will not even do the organized tours without me. My boys have no passion at all for travel. The key for me is whether or not there is a passion. I allowed my daughter to skydive when she was a teen because she had a very strong passion for it.

Also, do you trust the other kids? Are they good kids or 'Eddie Haskels'? There is a childhood friend of my daughters that I would not hesitate for her to travel with because the girl is as sweet and honorable as can be - I have watched her grow up into adulthood. And there are girls I KNOW would put my daughter in danger by being oblivious to dangers.

If you allow him to go, I think it will be an amazing experience. It really is not that expensive. We just went to Prague for two days and hotel and train were minimal. I know here in Germany, we can get tickets to Paris for 29E if we buy up to 90 days in advance - the key is lots of research.

 

Let us know what you decide!

Edited by 5KidzRUs
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We didn't need to drive as we took trains. I don't know if hotels would have been a problem had we been one year younger. It was a good trip and I would definitely let a child of mine do something similar. We spoke French but no other European language. We were fine.

 

I wouldn't be too worried about political instability. It's a long way, politically, from Western Europe to the Middle East or North Africa.

 

Laura

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I wouldn't. My minor children will not be traveling internationally without me at all. I wouldn't even let them go on a cruise with my mom to attend my brother's wedding in Jamaica. (Now, they're no where near 17, but, still... I won't even let them travel with family!)

 

Plus, like others said, it's a bit like the blind leading the blind with the ages you said are going.

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I just spent yesterday looking at options for ds16 to study abroad, so I would say yes in the right circumstance. These are a few things I was thinking about yesterday as I was considering the options: We live in a largish city, so he is used to city streets and public transportation. I have seen how he deals with navigation and that he does ask for help when he needs it. He is dependable and will stand up for himself against a person if he doesn't agree with them, but is also good at going with the flow. He is good with money, has foresight and saves money for a 'rainy day/emergency'. He comes to me if he has a problem. He is good at communication.

 

BUT there would be some huge questions/answers that would have to meet my criteria.

 

 

I would feel different if my child was barely 17 or almost 18 also. My ds16 will turn 17 this summer. I would not let him go this year, but in a year/year and a half-yes.

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I'm really surprised how many are calling them "kids." Some of these "kids" are 22. 22 is not a kid. At 22 I was married and working and responsible. We moved to Europe when I was 23. Dh and I traveled all over Europe and managed to survive. 22 is an adult (whether we like it or not). And how big of a difference is there between 17 and 18 anyway? Legally, at 18, he could go if he wanted to (and had the funds) and there would be nothing any parent could do about it.

If I thought Indy was responsible enough and I trusted the group he was going with, I'd let him. I'd be worried of course, and make sure he had an international phone (so he could call me or I could call him daily), and that I knew his itinerary, but I'd let him go. I'd probably be less worried about him traveling in Europe than I would if he were traveling in the US. I feel far safer in Europe than I do in the US. Of course there are pickpockets and bad things happen, but they happen in American too. He just needs to know how to be careful (especially with his money and passport).

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Depends. My only concern would be that technically, he's still a minor and it sounds like there won't be any adults.

 

My 17 yo is traveling to Peru this summer, but in a group organized by the Oregon Zoo. I have zero problems with that, obviously, since she's going. :)

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My daughter went to London last spring, when she was 15. It was a college-sponsored trip, but she was one of only two minors. They stayed in apartments in groups of three or four and were left to explore on their own many days.

 

Granted, she did have at least nominal adult supervision, but she was also younger than your son.

 

If you feel he's mature and you trust the other people with whom he would be travelling, I'd certainly understand why you would let him go. And I don't think it would be crazy.

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I didn't answer the pole because I don't have any male children that age. Ordinarily, I pretty much consider my children adults by age 17. They have all left home at age 17 so far and they all move far away from home to go to college, work or get married. However, I think I would be uncomfortable letting a young woman go overseas by herself or even with a friend or group of friends. My dd is considering a semester abroad with college though and I am comfortable with that. Of course, I woud't really have an say at that point as she will be 18 by then but I will probably worry just a little bit less.

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No, not if it's just with friends. If it were with some adults, yes. If it were with an organisation of some sort, yes (like a gap year organisation, a humanitarian group, mission trip, etc).

 

ETA: this is partly because there are sometimes things you just can't do unless you're a particular age (like in the US, renting a car, or getting a hotel room). I don't know what kind of issues would come up in Europe because of age.

 

I lived in Europe 10 years ago as a 20-year old college student. I was amazed by the number of 16 and 17 year olds from different countries who were traveling alone. I spent one afternoon traveling across France with a 16-year old girl from Brazil.

 

Didn't seem to slow her down. :)

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ETA: this is partly because there are sometimes things you just can't do unless you're a particular age (like in the US, renting a car, or getting a hotel room). I don't know what kind of issues would come up in Europe because of age.

 

You don't need a car to get around in Europe.

European teenagers travel all the time within Europe, without adult chaperones.

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