Taking Your Child’s Friend on Vacation With Your Family

Here are planning tips to make your trip is a good one and the friendship—as well as your relationship with your child—survives.


Okay, you’ve had your family meeting and you have agreed to take your child’s friend along on your family vacation. Here are tips to make the trip a good one—some I did from the get-go, others I learned in hindsight.

  • Don’t let your kids work out the details—even if they are older teens. Just because your son’s friend Joey says that he can leave on Saturday at noon doesn’t mean Joey can leave on Saturday at noon (this tip I offer in hindsight). Call and speak to your child’s friend’s parents and get them to okay the dates and details before you make final reservations.
  • Make sure to get up-to-date insurance ID cards for the child you are taking along.  “For international travel, families bringing other kids on a trip must have a notarized letter from both parents saying they are allowed to bring that child out of the country,” explains Deborah Shannon-Orgel of Coronado Travel. “And although not always required, it is recommended to travel with a letter that authorizes guardianship in case of a medical emergency,” she adds.
  • Be up-front about money. Will the friend (or his parents) be responsible for plane or train fares (if you are driving that is a non-issue). Will the friend be responsible to bring along money for activities? What about food? Again, the answers to these questions will depend on the nature of the trip, your finances and other variables but it’s wise to get it all worked out before you leave. Many single parents are not in a position to financially sponsor the vacation of another child, so don’t be shy about asking that the friend or his or her parents help out.
  • Set guidelines about behavior during the trip. I didn’t do this on a recent trip and was surprised when one night while discussing a curfew with my son, his friend started to walk away. He wasn’t being rude, but I think that he thought he was exempt from the talk because he was not my son. I called him over and gently explained that, while on this vacation, I was his mother and he was accountable to me and to my rules. Once that was established, everything was fine.

Themes: Family Travel, Single-Parent Family Travel

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