Travel

Teenagers mature at different rates. But even if your teenager is very mature and sensible for their age, it might be a good idea to stop and think for a moment when they start talking about going away on holiday with their friends.

ADULTS ON HOLIDAY

Many adults see alcohol as a natural part of going away on holiday. They might start celebrating with a drink at the airport, and once they’ve reached their destination, it’s often time to raise a glass or two on the balcony.

Not everyone does this, of course, but when they’re away, many adults drink both larger amounts and differently to when they’re at home. So it’s hardly surprising if teenagers think about alcohol in connection with travel. Think about how you view alcohol when you’re on holiday and remember that you’re a role model for your child.  

Everyone was drinking like crazy when we went on an All Inclusive. You could just go up to the tap and help yourself to beer. Even the kids were doing it. No one was keeping track.

Sasha, aged 15, Örebro

NO ONE SAYS, ”ENOUGH”

A lot of organised trips are designed to appeal to party-mad youngsters. Alcohol and other drugs may be widely available and there are no adults standing in their way, whether they head for “Bar Street” on Rhodes or to a ski resort in the Alps. And even if your teenager doesn’t drink, travelling without adults is risky.

LANGUAGE COURSES

Most of the big language course travel firms have a total ban on alcohol and narcotics. Anyone caught with drugs will be sent home at their own expense and will not get a refund for the course. But it’s impossible for the organisers to keep an eye on every single teenager, 24/7.

CHARTER TRIPS

There are, alongside the well-known travel firms, a number of companies specialising in travel for young people, where partying and alcohol are often the main attraction. Most of these travel organisers have a lower age limit of 18, but travelling unaccompanied when you’re under 18 is still possible if you can show a signed authorisation from your parents. Think long and hard if your child asks you for one. 

Teenage friends
Photo: Pablo Frisk

When I was abroad, I could walk into the nearest grocery store and buy spirits and cider. Nobody said anything or stopped me.

Amira, aged 15, Gothenburg

TALK ABOUT THE RISKS. Travelling independently can be both exciting and educational. If you’ve agreed that you child can travel, talk about what might happen and how important it is that they take care of themselves. You also need to make it clear to them that different cultures may have a very different attitude towards alcohol and be considerably harder on drunken young people than would be the case at home. 

When you’re abroad, you can just party as much as you want. There’s no one there that you know and who you’d rather didn’t see you in that state.

Saga, aged 16, Örebro

NO, EVERYONE ELSE DOES NOT GET TO GO. There’s nothing odd about saying, ”No” to a teenager who wants to go on holiday with their friends. You are responsible for your child and saying, ”No” is not cruel, even if their friends’ parents have said, “Yes”.

You might also like to think about how often it’s actually true that ”everyone else is allowed to”, or whether that’s just what every teenager says to their hesitant parents. 

More to read about the same topic

When parents are not around

Useful contacts and more info

It can sometimes be good to talk to someone who knows a bit more about teenagers and alcohol, or about anything else, for that matter.

If you want to do more

There’s a lot you can do to support and be there for teenagers. Maybe you can take part in night-time patrols, or make it easier for them to say “no”, or help promote a smarter approach to alcohol in some other way.

Other important topics to read about

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