Sending your teen on a GLA program means first parting ways at the airport. For many parents of first-time travelers, this experience can be a bit nerve-wracking, especially if your teen has never been far away from home.
Fortunately, many parents have been in your shoes before! Below, we've collected a few of their questions and recollections about their experiences, and hope they help to answer questions you may have about your teen flying solo.
Their First Time Away
It can be tough to imagine your child being away from home for the first time, and it can be even harder when that first trip involves flying to another country! One mother of a new GLA student shared this sentiment when she wrote:
"My daughter is going to Costa Rica in July. This is her first time away. I'm a little nervous. Flying out of New York. Does anyone else have a child going? Any advice for first time travelers from those that have sent their kids before?"
And these parents, having experienced - and overcome - this kind of anxiety before, wrote back:
"I was super nervous, but the kids all bonded immediately and it was the best experience of my son's life. He did the Tanzania trip. You'll never stop worrying - it's natural for a parent. But, let it happen - both of you will never regret it."
"I was too, but GLA does a fabulous job! Within an hour of meeting others my daughter was very happy."
Away at 14, Back at 15
For some parents, age plays a bigger factor, as GLA sends students as young as 14 to our programs. This parent was initially hesitant about her child traveling to Costa Rica solo, so she asked:
"My daughter is interested in joining the Costa Rica Pacific adventure trip, and I'm learning that she may travel alone to the destination. What are other people's thoughts?"
These moms explained that not only did their 14 year-olds do fine on their first Costa Rica trips, but they had such great experiences, they traveled even farther away the next year:
"My daughter did that program last year at 14 and traveled solo. I was nervous, but all went smoothly and she had the time of her life... And now this year she is going to Thailand."
"Our daughter did the Costa Rica trip at 14 and Peru at 15. She traveled solo both times and did great. And she called once she got through customs, as promised."
Sharing a Suggested Flight
One parent was mainly concerned that her daughter might fly to Guatemala without fellow students, and was surprised (and relieved!) to discover that GLA offered suggested flights, where students who are traveling to the same program have the option to fly together:
"When my 16 year-old daughter suggested taking her first trip to GLA, I was apprehensive. She was a sheltered teenage girl who had never even been to sleep away camp! How could I possibly send her oversees alone?! I immediately got in contact with an experienced GLA advisor. She not only had the answers to all of my questions, but was patient enough to take the time to answer every question in detail to quell my fears. GLA even offered us the option of choosing a flight with other kids going to the same destination. We met them at the airport and they immediately bonded, which made my fear of her flying alone a non-issue. After they arrived, we received a phone call from her telling us she had arrived safely."
Ready for Takeoff
Flying alone or as part of a suggested group flight are not only safe and easy, but commonplace. If you have any questions at all about your teenager flying to a GLA program, feel free to contact us directly, and we'll be happy to provide you with all the details you need to make sure your child's flight is a positive experience for the both of you.