Is Ireland safe for two female teenage travelers?
Replies: 15 - Last Post: May 17, 2012 6:00 AM Last Post By: yofletch
May 16, 2012 6:32 AM
Is Ireland safe for two female teenage travelers?Hi everyone,
Thanks in advance for your thoughts here.
My younger sister and I are planning a trip for this summer, and I am currently trying to convince my parents (who are reluctant to let my sister travel, as she is fairly young) that it would be perfectly safe for us to go to Ireland and/or Spain and France for a few weeks. My sister is 16, and it will be her first time traveling without a parent. She's attended a boarding school for the past two years and is fairly independent and level-headed. I am a 19-year-old college student, and have gone traveling a few times with friends/alone in Europe; I went on exchange to Geneva, Switzerland for 5 months when I was 16, visited a friend at his college in Scotland also at age 16, have stayed with relatives in Italy at age 17 and 18, and have visited France, England, Jamaica, the Caribbean, and Bermuda with parents when I was 12, 13, and 14, and am confident that my sister will be fine traveling with me. My parents, while they trust me and know that I am level-headed and responsible, remain wary about letting my sister travel alone with me, as she has not yet traveled without a parent. So, although I feel fairly confident that it is, I just want to get some thoughts and be absolutely sure: is Ireland (and/or France and/or Spain) safe for two young female travelers?
Again, thank you for your responses.
May 16, 2012 7:00 AM
1Yes for anywhere in Ireland you are likely to wind up based on the premise of taking the same precautions you would anywhere else.
If you were to wind in some parts of Limerick or some pubs in rougher parts of Dublin and not realise you should get back out, then you would be at the same risk as if you did that in any part of the world.
May 16, 2012 8:16 AM
May 16, 2012 8:56 AM
3It is likely that I am older than your parents and do appreciate their concern. However I think Ireland is probably safer than most countries. Clearly there are rough areas in most towns or cities but it easy to avoid these. As an example never felt threatened even when travelling through Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles back in the 1980s.
There are age limits within pubs and bars relating to sale of alcohol to under 18s. More details in your lp for Ireland.
You do not indicate where you propose to stay. Hostels are an excellent place to meet people. There are a wide selection within Ireland of differing standards. For convincing parents I would start with those within the Youth Hostel movement, An Oighe in the Republic. Well respected and a safe, comfortable environment and managed by trained staff.
May 16, 2012 8:59 AM
May 16, 2012 9:11 AM
5Spain is probably not a good idea.
Two key pieces of information: which languages do you speak?; and do you have relatives or reliable contacts in any of these countries?
May 16, 2012 9:13 AM
May 16, 2012 9:32 AM
7Well I also started travelling without my parents at the age of 16, but the difference was that I was staying with host families on language exchanges.
I have to tell you honestly that I haven't met many independent travellers (backpackers) as young as 16 and I've plenty of experience on the road. Usually, the youngest people you find in hostels are those who've finished secondary (high) school: so about 18. Of course, you do occasionally meet younger people but they're often travelling in organised groups and so remain quite segregated from the average traveller.
Let me turn the question around a little, because there is just something that is niggling with me. In my experience over the past few years, most hostel dorms in Europe now seem to be mixed - although there are still plenty of hostels that offer female only dorms. The backpacking scene is actually a bit older than you might imagine. Most people will be in their twenties and there are plenty of thirty-somethings and even older out there. Would you be ok for your sixteen year-old sister to be in a dorm with such an age range? There are plenty of hostels that don't allow under 18s and I think they have strong reasons.
As others have mentioned, there is the age problem for nightlife. Be honest with yourself here. What is going to happen when you, as a 19-year-old, meet up with other people your own age? If hostels allow the two of you in, it is going to be on the basis that you act as guardian for your sister and that's all very fine until you are torn between her and the possibilities that life throws your way.
So I guess you see where my thoughts are going...your sister will have plenty of time to get on the road in a couple of years time. If I were you, I'd come without her. You did ask!
Edited by: barryhennessy
Edited by: barryhennessy
May 16, 2012 10:59 AM
May 16, 2012 11:17 AM
9I think I've read your mum's post on the same subject and agree with the consensus it brought.
You might be fine travelling alone at 19, but with your 16yo sister you'll have problems. She shouldn't be left in your care; not because you can't deal with her but because it's a lot of responsibility when you probably just want to have a good time.
Some hostels may not be happy with you being her adult / carer because of the age similarities so look closely at age restrictions. Also, she can't be in pubs unless they are licensed for children so she'll be home alone if you go out with people you meet on the road who want to go for a pint or out to a nightclub for example.
Why not do some travelling in your own country with her first? People don't often think to travel at home, yet some of the best trips I've had have been in England and on my own.
May 16, 2012 12:09 PM
10I took this quote from tourist-review.com
" The green island famous for its culture, whiskey and beer is also one of the safest countries in the world. It has one of the lowest homicide rates in Europe – 0.32 per 100,000 people. The numbers also show that Dublin is far less dangerous than the major cities in Japan, Australia or Canada! "
Ireland is so safe that even Police do not carry guns (except special units) so you be totally fine but obviously a bit of common sense is always required. However I agree with previous comments it might be awkward for you to travel with your younger sister.
Edited by: TomaszJarzabek
May 16, 2012 12:23 PM
11#11: The question of arming the police is totally unrelated to how safe or otherwise Ireland is. It comes down to cultural and historical factors and the relationship between the Irish people and their police force. I don't disagree with your overall assessment of crime levels in Ireland - except in the sense that some parts of Dublin and other cities are much more dangerous than others. I'm just pointing out that crime levels and an unarmed police force are not related.
May 16, 2012 3:18 PM
May 17, 2012 2:02 AM
13In order to just keep it on topic I will keep this short, #12 is right.
Many country pubs, and a large number of city pubs, will allow all ages up until 8pm. It does mean however that your adult activities are curtailed, as others have mentioned. The issue of mixed dorms, if that is how you intend to travel, is another to be considered but in part that depends on the maturity of your 16yo sister.
May 17, 2012 4:15 AM
14Terms and Conditions at An Oige (Irish Youth Hostels Association) include the following.
"Child Protection Act Regulations
Our hostels are all child and family friendly but if you are a family/groups with children 16 years and under, please be aware that these children can not stay in dorms with others who are not in their party in adherence to the Child Protection Act. All bookings must be made by an adult (aged 18 and over) and any party staying at the hostel must be accompanied by at least one supervising adult. For groups of 10 or more there must be a least one supervising adult per 10 students".
Many of the hostels also have twin rooms at a supplement. Refer to the An Oige web site. Dorms within this organisation are single sex. Mixed dorms may be found in Independent hostels depending on the operator's booking policy.
It is ironic that we can tend to be more over protective of the young than in my youth. The youth hostel movement over the last eighty years has done excellent work providing a safe environment to allow young people to explore and travel.
(0 star Hotel)
From US$44.03 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$142.16 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$159.00 per night