Determining if Your Child is Ready to Fly to Camp Alone

Sending your kid to camp or to visit a relative?

Whether it’s flying to camp or going to family, a child flying alone is something you can’t take lightly. Not all kids are ready for the experience, and you need the extra peace of mind.

Children flying alone are what the industry calls unaccompanied minors.  But at what age can a child fly alone? What are their options? How can you prepare them for it?

In this article, we’ll see how young can a child fly alone. We’ll also learn all the things you’d need to keep them safe.

Are you ready? Here’s what you need to know.

Do They Understand Airline Policies?

The first thing you check before sending your child to fly is the airline. Many airlines have different policies when it comes to unaccompanied minors. You want to confirm the rules and regulations before getting a ticket. Try to book a morning flight to make logistics easier for your child.

There are no set rules on how young a child can be to fly alone, but most kids get permission by age eight for domestic flights and around 11 years old on international flights. It’s important to check with the airline regarding their policies and the age range allowed. Make sure you clarify the rules of the airlines first. They should be compatible with the needs of your child to give you peace of mind. Contact your air carrier well in advance to inform them your child is coming.

When kids can fly alone, you should also inform the carrier as soon as your child is at the airport. In international airports, only ticketed passengers may enter the secure zone, so your child must navigate security and gate check-in on their own. Domestically, children must have an adult accompany past security and wait with them until boarding. The adult must then stay at the gate until the plane departs the runway.

Prepare both their clothes and their luggage. Make sure to pack light. A child alone must carry their own bags, sometimes for some distance. Limit electronics to a mobile phone with pre-programmed numbers for emergencies, if possible. Where you can, write out the details and make sure everything is obvious for the carrier.

Provide all the information about your child, from their emergency contacts to who will drop them off and who will pick them up in some important places. 1) with the child, 2) with the airline, 3) with the responsible adults on either end.

Are They Responsible Enough?

The next factor to help you determine the best age to travel alone is their sense of responsibility. If your child understands how to be responsible, this helps the entire process.

One good way to determine if they are responsible enough is their demeanor. Can they spend a few hours to a day of travel without making a fuss? Their tolerance determines how long a trip they can handle without supervision.

Can they carry their essentials like mobile phones, tickets, passports, and identification? Can they travel without losing their wallet or baggage? Are they able to spend money within a restricted budget?  How young can a child fly alone to summer adventure camp relies on their maturity and this is something you can’t necessarily measure with age.

Are They Independent Enough?

You also need to measure how well your kids do on their own. Independence is a good measure of how they can take care of situations. Can they find things to do for a few hours? Can they behave without problems while flying? Can they talk to adults without issue if they need help?

Confidence and assertiveness are the answer when checking how young to fly alone. They need to be able to ask questions when necessary. If your child can feel secure with what they’re doing, they can fly alone. For children who are shy or who lack self-assurance,  it is another story.

They might need extra care to fly. If there is a plane change or layover, is your child able to understand how to make a connection?

Can They Operate a Mobile Phone?

Another factor to determine when kids can fly alone is their capability to operate a mobile phone.  Some mobile phones also work as an entertainment device for long flights. Make sure your child knows how to use airplane mode and earphones.

Your child must know how to call you or other designated adults in an emergency.  If you need to install a new SIM card when you change countries, make sure your child can do that, too.  You can reduce the amount of worry that your child and the flight staff need to do.

The best age to travel alone is when your child can both take instructions and handle themselves. Knowing how to call you or their designated pickup is vital. How young can a child fly alone depends on their adaptability.

Can They Manage Around the Airport?

Airports tend to be difficult even for older people due to their size. Boarding areas, gates, and ticket numbers take a while to memorize. Can an 8-year-old fly alone if they understand how to get to the plane’s gate?


Knowing how to read signs is a crucial skill. Listening skills plus good reading skills means they know how to pay attention. If you can teach them how to read airline information, much better.

Teach them how to read departure bulletins. Show them how boarding works. Teach them what to do if their luggage is overweight.

A good understanding of rules helps a lot. Let them go over their itinerary many times. If you can, it’s better to show how to videos of how to move around in airports.

At What Age Can a Child Fly Alone?

At what age can a child fly alone? This depends on many different factors for the child. Their independence, relative maturity, and ability to understand instructions are some crucial details. Pali Adventures welcomes independent young international travelers and U.S. unaccompanied minors every summer.

We provide transportation services to and from Ontario International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport. A staff member meets arriving unaccompanied campers at their gate. At the end of the camp session, a staff member will escort them back to their departure gate at the airport.  

If you think your child is at the best age to travel alone, they are ready for Pali Adventures.

Pali Adventures provides the best summer camps in California. With many fun activities to participate in, this is a summer adventure they will never forget. Fly in and enjoy the summer adventures of a lifetime. From making new friends to developing better skills, Pali Adventures can give it to you. Call us today.