Family Travel Question:

Q | What documents/information do teens need to travel independently ?

My daughter and son are traveling to Italy by themselves. They are 18 and 15 and flying into Rome (FCO). What documents/information do they need to travel?,

A | Documents for solo teen travellers.

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What a great adventure for your teens. I’ve put together a list of documents and information that I can think of; sorry if there is something I miss. All important cards and documents should be photocopied and carried separately to the original.  Put copies into an A4 ring binder to keep neat and tidy. Also it is really easy to scan all documents, cards and tickets and send to an email address e.g. gmail email account as google documents; then even if everything is lost then those details can be easily retrieved anywhere in the world

  • Firstly and most importantly they will need a valid passport.
  • If they are students then they may need an international student card.
  • If they are staying in hostels then an international hostel card is a good idea.
  • Extra passport photos are required at times.
  • A comprehensive list of their itinerary; accommodation details; flights/trains/buses that are booked.  They should both have a copy of all of these things and keep them separated in case one set gets lost.
  • Your 15 year old child may need written permission to leave the country with someone other than a parent.  I am not familiar with USA laws so I can not comment on this accurately.
  • A comprehensive list of contact details of family and friends in USA for keeping in contact with people and for emergencies.
  • A list of contact details in Italy.
  • A letter from their doctor if they are carrying any prescription medicine.
  • Travel insurance details.
  • Credit card numbers and details on how to contact the credit card company if anything happens to the card.
  • If using travelers checks, then the numbers should be recorded separately to the checks in case they are stolen.
  • Travel with an adequate amount of Euros for when they arrive in Italy preferably in small denomination notes. Remind your children to keep cash in neck pouch under clothes, not over their shirts like I see frequently in Europe.

Hope this list helps you out and your teens have a wonderful time in Italy without you!

2 Responses

  1. Sonja says:

    I am taking 8 teenage Girl Scouts to Switzerland this winter (5 without an accompanying parent) and I have gone around and around with the question of written permission to leave the country. The airline (Swiss Air) says they don’t need documentation. The TSA says they don’t need documentation. It’s been recommended I contact the Swiss Embassy. Really? I don’t know what else to do. I’ll probably just bring a signed permission slip for each girl, I guess.

  2. The United States Customs & Border Patrol and INS are very serious about the transport of minors across international lines, and it is typically the US carriers (cruise ships, planes, etc) that enforce the requirements for the proper paperwork. Any minor under 18 leaving or entering the US should have notarized paperwork from both birth parents or legal guardians assigning responsibility for that minor to another adult.

    Our story explains this in depth and you can download sample forms to fill out. I would strongly suggest that the teens going to Italy and the Girl Scout troop all have documentation with them, since it’s so much easier than risking being turned back at the border. The forms we have include ones that can be used by a group leader as well.

    Don’t forget the Medical Authorization form either — your kids need to have someone over 18 authorized to administer medical care in their guardians’ absence.

    More info here: