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Is your child ready to travel alone? Read on for Heather Greenwood Davis's expert tips. (Photograph by Blaise Hayward, Getty Images)

Can My Child Fly Solo?

National Geographic Traveler columnist Heather Greenwood Davis is the magazine’s family travel advocate, guru, and soothsayer.

Here’s her latest advice:

Reader Question: Can my child fly on her own to visit her grandparents in Dallas?

My Answer: Airline rules for unaccompanied minors vary, but most allow children ages 5 through 14 to fly alone domestically on direct flights. has a search engine that allows you to see the “minors” policy for a host of airlines. Expect to pay an extra fee ($100 to $150) on top of the airfare.

Kids flying alone for the first time may have some anxiety. Prepare by knowing what to expect at departure and arrival (whether family can escort her to and from the gate depends on the airline).

Her carry-ons should include a phone and contact information for those she’s meeting; a few snacks will tide her over until she lands.

Heather Greenwood Davis pens the “Traveling With Kids” column for National Geographic Traveler magazine (this exchange appeared in the February 2014 issue)Follow Heather on Twitter @GreenwoodDavis

Do you have a burning question related to family travel? Ask it in the comments section below for a chance to appear in Traveler magazine.

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