Becoming legally able to drive is one of the most exciting aspects of being a teenager. You probably remember the special hierarchy that forms based on who has a license, who has access to a car, and who can take people on rides to and from the park, mall, and each other’s houses. One of the primary experiences for almost any responsible teen is the independent road trip, even if it’s just for a weekend to go visiting or see a special event. Of course, if your teen is the one who will be borrowing the car and doing the driving, you can’t help but worry. Will they be safe? Will they be prepared if there’s an emergency? The best way to be sure is to plan the trip out with them and help your teens prepare everything they might need along the way. Here are six simple tips….
1) A Bank Card in Their Name
A major part of most modern teen lives is learning to handle money. For gas, food, expenses, and emergencies, make sure that your teen has a bank card in their name that they know how to manage. They should be able to buy gas, operate an atm, and pay at a restaurant at the very least to cover the usual road trip interactions. Make sure they’re also versed in tipping procedures and know how to report the card stolen or lost if something unfortunate should happen.
2) An Emergency Contact List
Like when anyone takes to the road, there’s always a chance that something will go wrong from a flat tire to terrible weather. If your teens get in over their heads and need adult assistance, make sure they have an emergency contact list with names, numbers, and possibly addresses. This should be written down and stored in a sealed plastic bag just in case. Do not assume that a phone holding the list will survive the trip.
3) Get the Car Serviced
The last thing you want to discover is that your teen had a bad time because your car was in bad repair. You can significantly reduce their chances of car trouble simply by taking the car in for an oil change, tire rotation, and inspection before the trip. If you want to, you can go over the report with your child to give them a better understanding of the vehicle they’ll be driving.
4) Confirm the Packing List
Whatever the event, the packing list should include a phone charger with both a car and wall adapter, their wallet, driver’s licence, and bank card, and a pair of sunglasses for when they realize that road trips sometimes mean driving for two hours into the sun. Besides that, they should probably have an overnight bag, tooth brushing gear, about $20-$50 in small bills (tip friendly), and the usual hygiene products. Do a final check of their bags to make sure all the necessities, especially the phone, wallet, emergency list, and charger, are included.
5) Book their Lodging (and Parking) Ahead of Time
Most hotels, including Airbnb, will not book anyone under the age of 18 so if you want your teens to have a safe place to stop halfway through the trip, you’ll need to book their rooms ahead of time. Then there’s the event itself. If your teens are headed to a concert or some other highly popular event, there’s a high chance that there will be little to nowhere to park in a strange city with parkig policies they’re not familiar with. Rather than subjecting your teens to either eternal parking searching, overpaying for timed lots, or getting towed for making the wrong decision, you can book them a safe parking spot nearby with ParqEx, and even plan the route from the spot to the event and back again with a lunch stop on the way.
6) Set a Check-In Schedule
Before your teen is out the door, make sure they know that you’ll be worried sick if they don’t call you at regularly scheduled times and might be tempted to call a search party for being more than two hours late. Whether you want a call once a day or more often is between you and your child, but make sure they confirm their safety and position at least once every 24 hours.
Fully prepared, your teen should be ready to take on the world and one exciting weekend with their best friends. Armed with a bank card, etiquette training, and a loosely planned itinerary, they will soon be on one of their first big experiments with adult levels of freedom. For more helpful travel related tips, contact us today!