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Would You Let Your 12 Year Old Go to England ?

My father in law and new wife want to take my daughter and wife's 15 year old daughter to England for two weeks. In laws are world travelers and know where they are going. However, they are not great supervisors. Ive told them under no circumstance will the girls ever go anywhere without an adult but its bound to happen, such as within the hotel to go get a snack. this is the chance of a life time for my daughter and she may never get to go otherwise. i trust her to make good decisions, she is not a risk taker. But she is also not "street smart". What would you do? Let her go and pray everynight? Follow them? Tell them no?

What can I do next?

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You bet I would. My oldest daughter started traveling right around that age, first to Quebec for 3 weeks, then Sweden for a year, then Holland for 7 months, etc., etc. She is the most well rounded kid I have ever met (really, not just saying that because she is mine).

However, I think the other question is, does SHE want to go? It sounds cool and everything, but 2 weeks is a long time (especially when dealing with jet lag) to be away from mom if she hasn't been before. Be realistic when you discuss that issue with her.

I hope you let her go and I hope she chooses to go! Good luck!

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I'd let her go with relatives. Start teaching her "street smarts" right away. At 12, she needs them at home, too.

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My son wouldn't want to be that far from me for that amount of time.
He's a responsible kid and he's smart and he'd probably be fine.
But he's very attached to me right now (and me to him) and an occasional lock down overnight at taekwondo a few times a year is enough.

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I'd let her go. At 12 yrs old, she's old enough to start acting like a young adult. Most people start hiring kids her age to babysit other younger children for short periods of time. Give her a cell phone and make sure she can make international calls/texts. Have her keep it on her at all times. Not only will she be able to call the grandparents should they get separated, but most phones also have a GPS in them should something happen that she gets lost, she can be more easily found. If you have the finances and the passport--perhaps you could make it a family outing. If not, just remember this IS your FIL...I'm guessing he did an OK job raising your spouse if you're even entertaining the thought of letting her go with ;)

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Yes, let her go. Arm her with a phone card so she can call you every night. Talk with your in-laws about your expectations of supervision and safety. Pray like crazy.
Then let her go and tell her to have a great time and take lots of pictures.

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IF you do let them go (what a great experience!!), tell the girls BUDDY SYSTEM!! They are absolutely not to let each other out of their sight no matter what. I think it's a wonderful opportunity for your daughter. My parents let my baby brother go to Paris on a school trip when he was 11... the chaperones were 1 parent per 12 kids!! I think that your in-laws can (and will) handle 2 just fine... those girls are old enough to know that they need to stay with the grown ups. Have your daughter call as often as possible to calm your nerves. Oh, and might I add, my baby brother, who is now 20, just got back from studying in Morocco for a year, and his experience in Paris has sparked something huge in him. It was really, really good for him! I would asolutely lay out non-negotiable ground rules, and be proud that your little girl is growing up and has such amazing opportunities available to her!! Best wishes :)

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If the girls get along well, and if your child interacts well with her grandfather and step-grandmother, I'd let her go.

BUT, I would do some preparation of my own beforehand.

1. Go to a large metropolitan bank or airport and get her a few coins and some paper currency that she'll see and use over there. Figure out a way to give her a rough estimate of equivalencies. For example, tell her "one of our dollars is equal to two of theirs (or whatever the ratio is). So if a candy bar costs one dollar here, how much would you pay me in the foreign currency?" (Don't worry about the little percents, just a basic whole number estimate. Go online to a UK site and show her the symbol for pounds and whatever else they use, and have her pretend that she's buying something from you. Set up a little pretend snack bar on your kitchen counter but only use signs labeled in British currency and only accept British currency for transactions, just for fun.

Role play: Come up with different scenarios. Like, the other girl wants to sneak out of the hotel, or try going to the pool without anyone knowing, or someone offers her something on the street, or she gets separated from her group and is lost. Actually pretend that it's happening. What should she do? What do the police look like? (google photos). Teach her some basics about safety, staying with her group, not getting distracted by strangers who may be pickpockets, etc. If she and the other girl go around in the hotel, what would be the boundaries (lobby, snack area, restaurant, etc., but not outside, for example).

Buy her one of those travel pouches that can be worn around the neck like a necklace or around her waist like a belt. (Airport gift shops are good places to find a wide variety of these things). Tell her to wear it 100% of the time, underneath clothes (not visible). It should contain her passport unless her grandfather puts it in a safe or assumes responsibility for it, a clearly labeled ID with contact information (both here and there) in permanent marker (I'd laminate it to make it waterproof), some money (not for spending on trinkets but for emergency cab fare or other emergency use).

Go to your cell phone provider and tell them where she'll be traveling and make 100% sure that her phone will work there, and make sure your plan is activated for that. Then teach her the proper way to make an international call, and program it in advance (and remember all the international codes and country codes and area codes) with your phone numbers and her grandparents' phones and the hotel phone. Practice using the phone. I know she probably is like a lot of kids and knows the phone inside and out, but dialing in and to a foreign country often involves extra numbers.

Provide her with a good quality but disposable camera (or 2 or 3). That way she doesn't have to worry about the camera being stolen, and if it got lost or dropped, it's only a few bucks from the store that you've lost. But she can still have a good time taking pictures.

If they know where they're going, have your daughter look up the region or city online and learn something about the cuisine, landmarks, climate, etc.

If she hasn't flown before, take her to the airport just to observe. Point out the security line and show her what to expect.

We've lived overseas, and my son has traveled to several countries with small groups. I think the role playing and practice beforehand for anything that might come up helped him have safe and happy trips every time. Just make sure that you don't come across as nervous. Tell her "just like we pack clothes for a trip, we also have to prepare in other ways. I want you to have a wonderful time, and that can happen if you are prepared, and familiar with the money and phones and some basic information." Act and speak confidently and she'll pick that up from you.

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I'd let them go. You have from now until then to make your daughter aware of what could happen, but you should not think in the negative and be happy they gave grandparents that can give them this opportunity. I travelled all over the place with my gran and gramp from a very young age. They love your children and will not place them in jeopardy I'm sure.

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She should totally go! This would be an amazing trip for her and I think it would give her an excellent opportunity to have this memory with her grandfather and "aunt". The girls will have a blast and even if they do go to the hotel lobby to get a snack, I think it will be okay. I would start talking to her about some of those "street smart" things now b/c you're right, she should know them, regardless of the fact that your FIL and wife aren't 'great supervisors'. It's just smart to have some of those thoughts in the forefront of her mind before any trip. I know it will be scary for you to have her gone and you'll miss her, but I think the right thing is to let her go and encourage her to have the best time ever! Don't let her know how worried you might be, let her go guilt free!

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I'd let her go with relatives. Start teaching her "street smarts" right away. At 12, she needs them at home, too.

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let em go and just make sure that they know to stay together if they go anywhere and just be happy that your daughter gets to go on an amazing trip

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You bet I would. My oldest daughter started traveling right around that age, first to Quebec for 3 weeks, then Sweden for a year, then Holland for 7 months, etc., etc. She is the most well rounded kid I have ever met (really, not just saying that because she is mine).

However, I think the other question is, does SHE want to go? It sounds cool and everything, but 2 weeks is a long time (especially when dealing with jet lag) to be away from mom if she hasn't been before. Be realistic when you discuss that issue with her.

I hope you let her go and I hope she chooses to go! Good luck!

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I would let her go. It would be a great experience for her and the odds of something bad happening to her are pretty slim. Let's face it, unless you are shadowing her 24/7, the very same things that you worry that could happen to her on vacation can happen stateside as well.

She's old enough now that you should be able to talk to her about your concerns and the safety rules that you would like her to follow while she is on vacation. I think there comes a time in every teenagers life where you have to trust that you have raised her well and realize that just because you are fearful of something, that doesn't make it so.

Just because your FIL is a little bit more lax in the supervision department, it doesn't mean that your daughter will necessarily be running wild while she is in England. I trust that you are very capable of teaching her how she is expected to behave while she is on vacation, she will be smart enough to get it. And if you show her that you do trust her, then she will live up to that expectation.

I vote for letting her have this opportunity.

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I wouldn't, but I'm also a total worry wort. With all the terror stuff going on around the world I would be scared to death. However, I realize you can't live your life in fear. My gut would be no. That's me. I bet you'll get lot's of "yes" answers though. Tough choice. Good Luck!

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Let her go! What a terrible opportunity to miss. They'll be with parents/grandparents and each other. Plus, a 15year old and 12 year old should be able to go get a snack at a hotel by themselves. England is a WONDERFUL place and a fantastic place to visit for the first trip overseas (no real language barrier, just enough differences to be really interesting, etc.). Don't deny her the chance of a lifetime! As far as terrorism and all of that, you have no more chance being in an attack there than here. There are nuts everywhere -like Tucson. As far as culture and society -England and the U.S. are very similar. There's nothing going on in England that they think is okay that we would be horrified about.

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Yes, I would grit my teeth and let her go. Do the girls get along well? If so, make sure that they will stay together. Never alone! You are right there could be moments, but lay down some rules and she will have a spectacular time!

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I think you should let your daughter go. Make the rules really clear to her: she sounds like the kind of girl who will follow them.

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I would let her go for sure. If she's the cautious type, you have far less to worry about than if she was more of a daredevil. I would caution her to stay with the older girl along with other street smart cautions. It's time for her to have those anyway!

I also think this could be a big (and positive) confidence booster for your daughter. Personally I don't think England has any more dangers than Dallas.

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Yes, if she is as mature and cautious as you say, she will do great. It will help her mature too.

Sounds like a fun time. I always told our daughter. "I know you know right from wrong. I know you will make me proud and stay safe."

It always worked.

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The summer my daughter turned 16 she had a wonderful opportunity to spend several weeks in Spain with a host family. We arranged for her to have an international cell phone (Verizon -- not very expensive), which we pre-programmed with a bunch of numbers (home, our cells, the numbers of the house & parents she was staying with, other "emergency contact" stuff). She had her own guidebook and map of the city. We opened a bank account here with a debit card for her so she could access money any time she needed to, in case of emergency. We gave her an "emergency use" credit card and talked about when and why to use it. We talked A LOT about what she may encounter, what she might need, how to handle things. She learned how to read a bus schedule, a plane schedule and a boarding pass.

For her dad and for me it was hugely scary. For her, it was an unparalleled growth opportunity -- the trip of a lifetime. We put in her hands everything we could think of so she could take care of herself if necessary, then we put her in God's hands. It was one of the best -- and most difficult -- decisions we've made.

Every family has to find their own way. Good luck finding what will work for yours!

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It really depends on your daughters level of maturity. I have to admit that I would have a hard time letting any of my kids go out of the country without me. I would be worried sick! LOL ~ but I think I am a little bit over-protective with my kids.....

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i would let her go. go over your rules with her and her grandparents and trust that you have taught her well.
sigh. watching 'taken' is not a great suggestion. you want kids to be informed and responsible, not petrified and paranoid.

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My son wouldn't want to be that far from me for that amount of time.
He's a responsible kid and he's smart and he'd probably be fine.
But he's very attached to me right now (and me to him) and an occasional lock down overnight at taekwondo a few times a year is enough.

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England? HECK YA! It's so beautiful and nothing beats travel. It's every bit as safe as here-if not safer, so if you'd let them take her to a different state to stay at a hotel, I'd let them. If you're afraid of an abductor between their room and the hotel vending machine (don't blame you) and you KNOW they won't accompany her, and you wouldn't let them supervise her anywhere in the states (where there is more likely to be an abductor in the hotel halls), then I'd say no to England too. Would I send mine to England with MY in laws? NO WAY. Would I send her with wise world travelers who are alert and responsible? It would be hard, but yeah. Tough call! Good luck!

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Decisions, decisions. I think if it were me I'd have to go with them. Yes, I too have seen the movie "Taken" (a few times actually). And that was the first thing I thought of when I read your situation. It is not America, they don't have the same rules/laws to abide by there. I also have a 12 year old who is very smart and mature, but to travel across the word with out a 'supervising' parent, there is no way I'd leave it up to her to made the right decision. There are times when I am talking with my daughter and she seems so much older that she really is....but come on, think back at when you where 12. When I do that, I think of how young I was and still a "child. No where near being able to make decisions an adult would.

I agree this is a chance of a life time...so take it...make it the most memorable vacation YOU and your daughter took in her young years!

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OMG! Let her go! Let her go! I would have killed for an opportunity like this when i was 12! Use the time between now and her departure to educate her on being 'street smart.' Practice it at home at the local mall, grocery store, library. Teach her that her gut instinct is there for a reason. And if still unsure, arm her with an alarm button (i have one that you pull the pin and it shreaks a deafening alarm - made for a window in hotel rooms, or even a coach whistle.) Remember, in England there's a street cam everywhere so the security there is probably even better than here!

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I would put the 15 year-old and her mother under the microscope, since your 12 year-old will basically be following her around. I would evaluate the maturity and depth of the relationship between your daughter and grandfather. And I would have a cell phone with international capability in your daughter's pocket at all times, so you can call her and she can call you every night. If these folks are world travelers, wouldn't this opportunity present itself again? I would not look at this as a once-in-a-life chance; your daughter has another 88 years to make it happen.

PS - The movie "Taken" is not for 12-yr olds, but you can watch it yourself. I think the move is realistic, but the exception. Like watching "Jaws" before going to the beach.

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I would add to the other posts: How well do you and your daughter know the new wife and the 15-year-old? Since you said "new" wife I figured I'd ask.

Is the teenager responsible, smart, interested in where they're going? Is she the kind who might just try swanning up to the bar in a pub (if she can pass for 18) and try asking for a drink, just for laughs? If the two of them, heaven forbid, get lost, does the older girl have the self-possession to figure out where to ask for directions or help, and does your daughter (sounds like your daughter does)?

Does she have any interests in common with your daughter or not? I think the compatibility between the girls is important here --your daughter will have a great time with a teen who, like her, makes good decisions, isn't a risk taker, and has similar tastes (i.e., both want to see that castle, instead of one wanting the castle and the other wanting the shopping mall, etc.).

But your daughter will be miserable if she and the other girl have barely met before this, don't get along, or are competing for the adults' attention, or if the other girl pressures her to do things while they're on their own that your daughter isn't comfortable doing. Something to consider when making the decision....

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I think a lot depends on the maturity level of your daughter. Based on what you've written it sounds like she's a responsible young lady. That being said, I would let her go. I would also spend a lot of time discussing safety issues with her.

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Yes - if you don't think they'll let them start sight seeing alone (though w/ the 15 year old, that would probably be ok) in bad parts of town, I think little things like a snack in the hotel are fine etc. Going to London won't be much different than if they took her to NYC. Maybe you wouldn't like that either but 12 and 15 are ok ages to have some independent time. And 12 is old enough that she'll remember the trip so it's not a waste of time.

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Have them watch that movie Taken first! Eeks, I would let them go, talk with them together and set rules, make sure their cell phones work there and check in daily. They'll be fine Im sure.

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We were in England this past summer. Let her go... do you know what city they will be staying in? We were in London and some suburbs. They will be fine in the hotel getting snacks. Find out where they are staying and check out the hotel online. My feeling is they would be just fine. Luckily they will be in a country that speaks English. We were also in Northern Iraq this summer and although the area we were in was very safe and calm, I still worried about my 14 year old son getting separated from us in the market and not knowing the language but it was all good. The best experience!

Absolutely not! Your daughter's safety comes first and if you can't trust them to supervise her, then no.

It's easy for someone to say let her go. Only you know the specifics of everything. Follow your gut if you don't want her to go. Or go with her. 12 is still really young. You don't want to think back if something were to happen and remember all of the apprehension you had. Women are great at ignoring the instincts to please others.

ABSOLUTELY!!!! I would not let her miss out on such a great opportunity!

I liked what Elena B had to say.

Also check with fashions in England to see what colors they are wearing. This way she will not stick out like a sore thumb and say American all over her. When we lived in Germany it was highly emphasized that we find and wear clothing that blended in.

Let her look at good websites for England and have her point some points of interests that she might like to visit and have grandpa take her there.

Just know that this is the time that children want to spread their wings a bit and we have to hope and pray what we have taught them has stuck.

May you all have a good travel.

The other S.

If you think your in-laws are complete idiots, then don't allow them to take your daughter. If they are reasonably intelligent and experienced travelers, then I would trust them. It is a wonderful opportunity for your child and will enhance her knowledge of the world way more than reading about it in a book!!!

Let her go. She may not be "street smart" but you say you trust her to make good decisions. So lay it out for her . . . she is not to go ANYWHERE by herself, not even to the hotel lobby, etc. If she wishes to go ANYWHERE she must ask your father-in-law or his wife to accompany her and, if they are unable (or unwilling) then at minimum the 15 year old must go with her. And make sure your in-laws aware of the ground rules you have established.

I use these ground rules at home for my 11 year old. She sees her 16 year old sister being allowed to do things independently and thinks she should have the same rights (like walking around the mall by herself). But I'm OK with her accompanying her sister -- and both of them know that under no circumstance should my 11 year old be left on her own, not for a moment!

When my oldest was 13 I let her go on a trip to Alaska for 2 weeks. She was with a group of about 35-40 kids and 4-5 chaperones. I was definitely nervous, but at the same time I trusted her so I had to learn to "cut the umbilical" cord. And I spoke with her every day.

There is no way I would let my 12 year old daughter out of the country without me. Perhaps it is because I only have the one child....maybe I am being overly protective. Obviously you already have apprehensions about this trip. Go with your gut feelings because they are often our best guide.

I would not let her go, if I were not going myself. Because if something were to happen, I would blame it on myself for letting her go. Going to a foreign country instead of a domestic place is more risky, because of international laws and regulations. I just feel like 12 years old is too young, and she can go sometime in her adult life. It only takes one wrong thing to happen in a second (God forbid) and you might regret that decision. But this is only my opinion. Hope it helps

It sounds like you are very apprehensive about the situation. If you do not feel completely comfortable then DO NOT let her go or if it is an option go with them. Just do not try to talk yourself into feeling comfortable with something you are not. I have discovered that your first reation to a situation is usually the correct one. Good luck.

Look into a cell phone with GPS (like AT&T) and you can go online and see where she is 24/7.
Oh! and ask her to bring me back something from Harrods or the Palace :)


Everyone is saying yes or no, but I don't think you can make that decision until you have more information:
1. What are your inlaws expectations of the trips?
2. Do they expect to take the girls everywhere with them?
3. Or do they expect to leave the girls on their own for day adventures? (leave them at the hotel while the adults go out)?
4. Do they expect to leave them at the hotel alone while the adults go out for the nightlife?
5. Do they expect to be able to drop the girls off at a museum while the adults go and do something else?

If they expect those things, then I think you will know your answer. My son has travelled internationally with my parents (he's 7), but he is ALWAYS with them or with a babysitter (relatives). I would want to leave children (15 or even older) on their own in another country. There are too many unknowns.

Good luck!

My parents didn't let me go to Hawaii to stay with my aunt for 2 weeks when I was around that age. I'll probably never get to go. Go apply for the passport, give her a hug, and let her live!

Did you ever watch Finding Nemo If you never let her DO anything, than she'll never get to do ANYTHING!

Shes going with her grandparents. They are world travelers so I'm sure they know the ins and outs of it all. They wont let anything happen to her. What a wonderful gift they are offering.

I see that a lot of people responded yes. I suggest that you go with your gut feeling. This is your child and you have to do what makes you feel comfortable. You say that your father in law is a world traveler, so I would assume that she would have this opportunity again. Make sure you feel comfortable with the new wife and 15 year old in addition to your father in law.

If you don't trust your inlaws to supervise diligently I wouldn't let my daughter go. But at the same time, it's a WONDERFUL opportunity so if you can swing it at all, buy a ticket and go with! Best of both worlds.

Good grief, let her go! What an awesome opportunity for all of you. Your in-laws will be making irreplaceable memories with their granddaughter, your daughter will benefit hugely by the experience in many ways besides culturally (that you trust her, for instance) and you will learn to start letting go of the apron strings a little bit--it takes years and 12 isn't too early to begin the process. You are making the assumption that your daughter's grandparents will not supervise your daughter. Why? Children often do a better job of "minding" when with their grandparents. I think you're borrowing trouble. Anything can happen anytime and anywhere. Hope you will give your daughter this incredible opportunity. It will enrich her as a person and give her something wonderful to hold onto for the rest of her life.

THe girls are 12 and 15. If they are responsible and mature then yes I would go ahead and let her go.
I doubt she will be abducted. She already knows the language. She and her step aunt will have a great time.

Let her know some of your fears and how to handle herself if she whould get lost, or in a situation where she feels unsure.

I would definately let her go...what an amazing experience! That being said (and maybe I shouldn't offer this tidbit)...you should watch the movie Taken with Liam Neison...if possible with your daughter (you watch it first to see if it is appropriate for your child). It is a scared straight sort of movie about girls traveling alone...kidnapped and put into the sex trade. In fact...have the whole dang family watch it. It is scary but it does make you rethink how you handle yourself as a young girl.

I agree with AG - have them all watch the movie Taken first!

and then yes, I would probably let her go.

Do you know the wife's 15 year old daughter? Is she a level headed, responsible teenager? Your daughter will be under her influence while she is there as the girls will probably do things together. If the 15 year year old is not a risk taker and is well behaved, I would let my daughter go and have a wonderful trip!

I was born and lived in England for 25 years, let her go...she will have a wonderful time...

I would go too.

You said, they are NOT good 'Supervisors."
And, do they know, about age appropriateness?
Europe, has different living/cultural constructs.

Abductions, abroad, also occurs.
My Husband took our daughter to Europe once. He watched her like a hawk... and watched how others watched her. She is a pretty child and very exotic in looks. He... supervised her closely. My Husband knows Europe and speaks the language. My Husband is street smart. A child is not.

If you are not comfortable with it, then say no.

There is also a big difference between a 12 year old and 15 year old.
If you are not sure of them (the adults), then to me, that would garner a "no."

Personally, if my daughter were 12 years old, I would NOT let her go by herself with another Teen, to the hotel restaurant to eat or get a snack.

"Tourists"... stick out like a sore thumb. Locals know that.
Even as something as minor as pick-pocket thieves.

**Typically for international travel of a minor (WITHOUT their parents), you need to get a "Consent to Travel" form for Minors for your child (which can be found online). It has to be signed by the parent, and even notarized. When my daughter went to Europe with my Husband, PER our Travel Agent... we had to have this document. Which my Husband carried on him. And which was required, per traveling.

Has your daughter ever been away from home?
Is she close with your In-Laws and his Wife and the 15 year old?

Do you trust them?

all the best,

Not sure I would at age 12 but my then almost 17 yd old boy did go to China as a student ambassador without me (he was with an experienced chaperone and in the group setting....always at least 3 people and limited unsupervised time).

I can understand about being apprehensive when it comes to sending your child overseas without you. It is a wonderful opportunity and a very generous gift. Since it is for 2 weeks I am assuming it won't be until she is out of school. You have plenty of time to teach her responsibility and go over anything that you think could possibly happen.

I would let her go.

When I was 13, my mom enrolled me in a 3 week program abroad to study English over the summer.
She put me on a train, to go another city where I would catch a boat to go over to England.
Yes, at the time I thought of it as a great adventure, and sure there were adults along on the boat ride over to watch about 30 kids that were all going. The 3 weeks were spent with a host family, but during the day I would catch the bus to go to school or shopping etc myself with another girl also staying with the same host family.
My host family was very poor and did not have a telephone.
I had to call collect to my mom from a phone booth if I wanted to. Of course she had told me to call as often as I wanted to, but it was not that often that I did.(I was on the Isle of Wight and the phone booth was in town - not near the family I lived with)
So, from my perspective as a 13 year old everything was fine, and I have very fond memories from that time.
BUT - I have to say that...If you aren't comfortable with the idea and if you don't completely trust the adults, I wouldn't let her go.

Yes, let her go. It is an opportunity of a lifetime and being with family should make it a special bonding with grandparents. I lived in Germany for 3 years when my son was the age 7-9 years old. He has great memories of Europe. I felt very safe in Europe unlike US where we hear bad things on the news. Europe is much more friendlier with families travelling together. It would be ideal if you can join them but if you can't please let her go. She has a 15 year old that is old enough to supervise. Get an international cell phone to be able to contact her.

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