Every November, teenagers across Australia finish school and technically become adults. This life milestone is ritually celebrated with ‘Schoolies’: a mass departure to Fiji and the Gold Coast for a week of sun, sand and a lot of alcohol.
It’s naturally a time that parents worry about their offspring heading off for the first time without adult supervision, and suddenly the parents are dealing with that ‘first day of school’ separation anxiety that their kids experienced not so many years ago. After realising that they were receiving a lot of calls at this time of year from worried parents, Travel Insurance Direct have come to their rescue and produced a ‘Schoolies Survival Kit’ to arm the kids with, and enlisted the help of a parenting expert to dispense advice on relaying any fears they have.
Travel Insurance Direct’s top priority for their customers is that they are safe and prepared, so The Schoolies Survival Kit makes sure the teenagers are too. The kit, free from the Travel Insurance Direct website, contains lip balm to stave off ‘pash rash’ (the unsightly red blemishes that appear around the mouth after a lot of kissing), condoms, a kit to test if a drink has been spiked, and helpline details from 1800 RESPESCT.
Sydney-based registered psychologist and parenting expert Jocelyn Brewer says “many parents fear that young people get caught up in the proverbial ‘heat of the moment’ and make snap choices or decisions that may result in harm, or regret. These can range from getting tattoos, having a few too many drinks or hooking up with someone that they might not be so happy to see afterwards. They also see the media reports of what happens at Schoolies and they want to protect their teenager from the potential risks when the fun goes awry.”
As a way of alleviating those fears, Jocelyn recommends “having calm, open and honest conversations with their teenagers ahead of Schoolies, even about awkward topics like sex and drugs. Also have a communication plan, but be realistic and don’t expect a blow-by-blow account of their holiday. A text a day should be manageable for both the parents and kids.”
Not all Schoolies trips are spent sunbaking and drinking though, Schoolies tour operator Unleashed Travel have reported that their newest offering, the 22 day Winter Wonderland has grown 80% since it was first run last year. The Winter Wonderland Tour visits London, Paris, the Alps, Florence, Rome and Prague (among other places) where the Schoolies soak up the culture of Europe, visit art museums, take in Gothic architecture and see the Vatican.
Jot Lyans from ‘Unleashed Travel’ says “our Winter Wonderland tour has proved to be hugely popular – there’s a huge amount of kids wanting to travel to a new continent and learn whilst they’re away. Whilst Fiji is still our most popular destination, we’re seeing that more and more students taking up our optional day of volunteering whilst they’re there. They are socially aware and get a lot out of volunteering and experiencing local culture and ways of life.
Jocelyn adds “Parents should have information about where their kids are staying and who they are with, but ultimately, they can help keep themselves worry-free by trusting that their relationship with their child is a strong one that will withstand a few nights of partying!”
Is your teenager going on Schoolies? Visit https://www.travelinsurancedirect.com.au/schoolies for the latest advice on their destination of choice and to get a free survival kit.