This post was contributed by Nikitas Filosofof.
I am 17, and I’ve already been to 3 countries all by myself – yep, without parents and without my school. I believe that the majority of teens wanting to travel have the “travel” part covered. The actual problem is convincing their parents to allow them to go and making sure their parents are okay with that… (except if you wanna just sneak out, not the best option, but do you.) Realistically, trust is what will get you out of your home into an airplane and give you this view 👇 without teachers or parents sitting next to you.
So, fellow Gen Z’ers or newer gens, here’s how to travel when you are still in your school years:
Before you continue reading, consider that this kind of stuff requires an extreme passion for traveling and a pinch of the Shut Up and Go mindset. I am saying that because the way I did it involves sacrificing your summers and working, in order to pay for tickets. It’s all fun and games until you’re waiting tables in the heat… that can really test you.
Now a little bit more about my story – after coming back from my first trip abroad with my school to The Netherlands, I fell in love with traveling without realizing it. I wanted to do it again, see more places, meet more people, and experience whatever possible.
But coming back to reality was harsh. There was that big wall named “UNDERAGED,” aka there is no way you can go abroad without school or parents.
Yet, I still felt the needed to travel again, but in order to do that trip next year, it would cost me 1,500 EUR, and there was no way of me asking my parents for that kind of money again, regardless of their response.
So what do I do as a 16-year-old boy who’s ready to leave school for summer holidays?
I get to our family house (in a pretty unknown island in Greece) and without knowing any business owner, I knock restaurant and café doors asking if they want help for the summer season.
After 2 weeks, I finally get the call.
“Here we go,” I said.
I was totally hyped to sacrifice my summer vacation in order to get a week abroad (doesn’t sound so wise now, but it did then). Fast forward to my summer job, being 16 and refusing to get advise from anyone on how the world actually works, I end up being overworked because the café took advantage of my incautiousness. They only paid me around 2eur/h for 12+ hour shifts. Fun fact, I was dumb enough to continue working under these circumstances for the whole summer.
So, word of advice: you still deserve to get paid fairly even if you’re young.
What I realize now is that I was so focused on my goal to travel next year with my money that I barely cared how hard it was to get there.
After the season was over, I went back to school. I happily and proudly paid for my trip to Ireland. Oh boy, was that trip a blast. After the trip, my parents were proud enough for me to pay for a WAY cheaper school trip the same year again to Switzerland.
Seeing that my parents trusted me now, I was thinking of taking it to the next level and actually traveling alone for the first time. Knowing that there was no way to get permission to do such a thing at my age, I took initiative:
- I booked a flight to Bulgaria without telling my parents.
- I used friend’s credit card to pay the ticket.
So here I am a month before the trip, chatting with my parents before my trip.
“Hey, I forgot to tell you – I am going to Bulgaria next month with 2 friends.”
As you can imagine, there follows a lot of arguments of whether I should do it or not, but I end up making them think that it’s “ok…” I showed that I am trustworthy and able to work for my goals, and like that, I went to Sofia, Bulgaria.
From that trip, I was able to get my self to solo travel to Barcelona, meet friends in Madrid and visit Italy approximately every month by myself, just because my gf lives there and Ryanair has bus-like prices.
So if you want to do it too, believe me, the key is to build trust with your parents. If money is the problem, you should either work or prove yourself worthy enough to your parents to pay for your trip.
YES there are going to be a lot of awkward/annoying convos with your parents
YES you will need to sacrifice things either for money or to build trust
NO you are NOT going to regret it, and you are gonna have a dope time. Just don’t do anything reckless – you just spent all of this time getting yourself abroad… don’t mess it up.
Understand that this is a big step in your teenage life, but once you accomplish it, you open up yourself to a whole new world. And once you are close to making the decision, just Shut Up and Go and press that BOOK FLIGHT button.
Disclaimer: Don’t blame me if you end up in a bad situation throughout underage traveling or everything that comes along with traveling. I just told you my story, now go create yours, I ain’t no part of it, unless if you invite me…
Best of luck!
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