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Infant Travel: Can You Take a Gap Year at the Age of 17?

Wouldn’t you be completely surprised once you’ve met a 17-year-old girl on your way, traveling around the world on her own? We bet you would!

Daisy Oakes has been traveling around Asia for the last 4 months together with her boyfriend Ollie, 19. It’s no wonder she’s always the youngest one in any company. It always makes her smile to see people’s reaction when they find out her age.

Infant Travel: Daisy does the world

Daisy has been dreaming about traveling ever since she was a child. At the age of 16 she was living in cold grey Devon, UK. The situation was not very encouraging. In fact, she was addicted to antidepressants to make her life just a little bit brighter.

Eventually, she decided it was time to travel. She always felt much better on a sunny day, so she decided her dream must be about basking in the sun on a perfect seashore.

She’s been working hard as a waitress and in an office coping with an airline’s complaints for long 9 months. Her mother proved to be the most supportive in her new venture as she knew how much this would mean for her daughter.

Daisy's travel

That said, it doesn’t mean she didn’t worry about her youngest child traveling around the world at such tender age, but she knew her daughter well. She knew that she had always been mature and independent for her age, so she let her go quite easily.

Daisy has always been really close with her mother, so she kept her informed about her plans. Her mother even has a map in the office where she marks her daughter’s current location when she receives a call from her now and then.

How to travel under 18

Daisy and Ollie

When Daisy started planning her trip with her boyfriend, she was well aware that such kind of vacation was not about under-18s. Most of the package tours and insurance policies were aimed at adults, and she could hardly find any articles and blogs on this topic written by people of her age. That’s why they had to book every item of their trip independently. In some parts of their journey they traveled with tour groups.

They planned every little aspect of the upcoming trip using the information they found in the books, maps and on the internet. They set up a strict daily budget of $20 per person. The countries they wanted to go to the most were a priority, of course.

There were a lot of fear and worry at the planning stage: what will happen if they’re stopped at the airport, what to do if they’re not let into hotels, as most of the hotels have 18+ age policy, there was also fear to be banned from different activities they wanted to do on the trip. Daisy was also afraid that it would be hard for her to make new friends as most people tend to travel when they’re much older.

It’s not a big deal, actually

Daisy in India

In reality no one on Daisy’s way ever hindered her, so all the nerves were spent for nought. She’s been allowed to every flight in every airport, she checks herself into hotels without any questions from the managers and she easily gets involved into any activity she wants to.

Of course, some people she meets behave in a patronizing way which can really get on your nerves, but Daisy doesn’t really care. She just rolls her eyes and moves on to the next place of her dream. So if you ask her to summarize her experience, she would say it makes no difference to the experience whether you travel at 17 or 37 y.o.

Ollie

People often ask if her age has ever hindered her on her journey, but in fact, it has never been a problem. Daisy is sure that all the myths surrounding infant travel or 17-year-olds taking a gap year are just mere myths.

The questions she usually asks herself are “Which amazing place shall I venture to next? Which hotel do I choose? Will my money run out? I haven’t got sunburn on my face again, have I?”

But she never doubts that she’s too young for this activity or the other. The only fear she has now is that she won’t know what to do when she gets home, but you can say the same about almost all people, can’t you?

Cute little checklist of a petite traveler

Travel around Vietnam

On her trip, Daisy has done numerous things and visited many countries. Here is her checklist:

  • To motorbike across Vietnam
  • To learn diving in Bali
  • To pal up with elephants in Thailand
  • To recover from dengue fever in Cambodia
  • To see all the strange things in Japan

This is a really encouraging story for all of us. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or retired or if you don’t earn enough money. If you really want to explore all the wonders of the world there can be nothing preventing you from going for it. Need some more stories? Check out the outrageous article about the danger that waits for a careless traveler.

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