Am I too young to travel abroad?

I’m currently 16 years old (17 in August) and want to travel to California for two weeks in July. We have 2nd cousins there who are willing to host me and my parents know who they are and they came to stay with us when my mum was young in the 80s. I sorted my ESTA and am able to fund the flight myself, but my parents insist I’m too young and should at least wait another year. 

I’m not sure what to say. I feel that I‘m very lucky to have family who can cut the cost massively and want to do it at this age, but I also don’t know if they are right.

8 Answers

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  • ron h
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    You may be ready to do the trip, but I think you'd do better to wait till you're 18.  At 18, you don't need parents to see a doctor if you get sick and you can rent a hotel room if you decide to do that. (It's legal to rent a car at 18, but I don't think you'll find a rental co that will rent till you're at least 21)  

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  • Lili
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I flew all over the country between the ages of 13 and 18, by myself, and to France at 16 and England at 17.  If you're staying with family members, you should be fine, though frankly, it doesn't sound as though your family knows these people well.  That sends up the only red flag for me.

    But if they don't want you to go, you can't.  My parents were fine with my traveling, and I didn't need a letter of permission, but since they were paying, I couldn't have gone without their agreement.

    They can keep you off the plane.

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  • drip
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    Your parents can see you off at the airport and your adult cousins can be there when you land.   Your parents can alert the airline you are a minor traveling alone.  The flight attendant will check in with you throughout the flight.   With cell phones you can call your cousins once the plane lands and talk to them until you meet in person  outside of customs.   As long as your adult cousins  will to supervise your stay, I see no problem with your age.  You can be in contact with your parents daily.    Perhaps they do not know your cousins well enough.  Or feel you would be alone too much while in California. Will your cousins be at work all day?  I would not advise you go off on your own site seeing or traveling about. If that is your intent, what until you are at least 18. 

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  • 2 months ago

    You can only travel as a minor with parental consent. So if your parents won't OK it, you can't go yet.

    • ron h
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      That wasn't the question. 

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  • 2 months ago

    You are a minor child & not going anywhere without mommy & daddy accompanying you or else giving their verifiable written permission. If your parents say you are too young, you wait.

    • Lili
      Lv 7
      2 months agoReport

      I did not need a letter of parental consent when I was flying around the US as a teenager.

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  • 2 months ago

    You're too young in your parents' view, and in this case theirs is the only view that matters because you will need their permission, in writing, to enter the US.

    A general answer is that some 16-17 year olds are too young to travel alone, and some are not. I don't know you so I don't know which one you are.

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  • 2 months ago

    Right or not, don't see how you can do it without their permission. And, at 16, most places cost you out as an adult but won't let you BE an adult. It's an odd age to decide to travel on your own. That said, I studied overseas as a Junior in High School and it was a fabulous adventure I treasure decades later. But I definitely was affected by being "too young" to do a lot of things I'd wanted to do. And I had no where near as much money as my plans had in mind! Funding the Flight? Means you'll need your relatives to pick up your tab for everything else. That's a lot to ask.

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    Sam, I agree with your parents. While it's generous of the cousins to offer to host you, your parents don't know these people and haven't seen them in about 35 years. They can't know for sure that they will watch over your safety adequately, or whether they'll let you do whatever you want, stay out all night, leave the house with unsavory people they don't know, etc.

    Sure, they're probably fine and responsible people, but the bottom line is that neither you nor they know these people any more and you're too precious to put at risk.

    In another year or two--or five--you'll be more adult and more likely to be able to properly handle negative situations as or if they arrive even though you're a long way from home.

    In the meantime, be the kind of person who is responsible at home and handles their own problems away from home. This will help convince them you'll be okay so far away when you go in the future.

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