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Travel Unravelled: Unaccompanied Children

Q: My family is having a week-long reunion in Edmonton and my parents would love to see their grandchildren, but my husband and I can’t attend. Is there a way that I could send my two sons, ages 8 and 10, from Vancouver to the reunion by themselves?
—Stephanie Neal, Vancouver, BC

A: There are a few ways for your children to travel unaccompanied.

The first option is through the Guardian fare program offered by WestJet. Children aren’t allowed to fly alone, but this program enables to you escort them to their destination and then immediately fly back home for only half the price of the normal fare.

With Air Canada’s Unaccompanied Minor service, children 8-17 are eligible to fly alone, but are escorted under the guidance of specially trained staff. For rates and reservations contact 1-888-937-8538 for WestJet and 1-888-247-2262 for Air Canada.

Another possibility is to send them on the train using VIA Rail. There are direct lines between most major Canadian cities, and children ages 8 to 11 can travel these routes without a chaperone, as long as no train transfers are required. For more information visit www.viarail.ca or call 1 888 842-7245.

Greyhound also offers a similar service for kids ages 8-14, but again, they can only travel on trips that don’t require bus transfers. www.greyhound.ca and 1-800-661-8747 have information regarding departures, arrivals and other trip planning details.

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