If your age "sevenish" child has been invited on a solo vacation, ask yourself these questions.
1. Is the child lukewarm about going? If so, put it off until later.
2. Do you have a good travel plan (ideally, a short, express trip) that the child understands from beginning to end, with all the details in between?
3. Is there a responsible adult guaranteed to meet your child at the other end?
4. Does the child know his or her name, address, phone number? Those of the person meeting the child? A name tag bearing the information can help.
5. Has your child traveled by plane, train, bus before? If so, you can build on the child's prior knowledge in describing the trip; if not, you need to give all the details, perhaps even do a dry run at the station or airport.
6. Does the child know what to do in the event of something unforeseen (the guaranteed "greeter" isn't there; the bus connections are missed)? Remind him or her to ask for the bus terminal or train station manager (airline personnel stay with children until they are met or their connections are made).
7. Does your child know never to leave the bus or train station alone or get off at an interim stop?
8. Can your child read basic words? Use the phone?
9. Are bus or train connections unavoidable? Consider enlisting the help of Travelers Aid Society caseworkers or volunteers.