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  Qingdao organizes kids' travel  



Winter vacation is the time for some parents to start worrying about transporting the children.

Thanks to a "Little Traveler" plan, which was launched on January 10 in Qingdao, Shandong, children can travel alone easily.

They're off, on their own, to visit grandma, or to spend quality time with a divorced parent in another city.

Jointly launched by the Qingdao airport, railway station and long-distance bus station, the plan has attracted dozens of phone calls daily, Qingdao Daily says.

This is the first time the service has been available at the railway station and bus station.

A stewardess of China Eastern Airlines checks on a young passenger during a flight from Shanghai to Shijiazhuang, captial of Hebei. The girl's parents, natives of Hebei, went to Shanghai to work in 2004. They send the girl back to Hebei for her winter vacation. Since January 2005, more airlines and railways have been offering such services. Zhang Haigang

Some trains, especially those going to big cities such as Beijing and Guangzhou, have special berths or seats for kids who are traveling alone. Reading material and medicine were also prepared for them.

Reservations for "little travelers" have already begun, though the peak travel time for Spring Festival is yet to come.

Parents only need to reach the bus or train station or airport more than an hour before the departure time to fill in appropriate forms, which include telephone numbers and ID card numbers of parents and relatives at both arrival and departure cities.

Special staff workers take care of the kids and guarantee they will be handed to the correct person at the destination.

The Qingdao airport is expected to receive about 100 unaccompanied minors daily during the coming peak travel time later this month and early next month.

The service for "unaccompanied minor," first introduced by airlines, was welcomed by parents, according to www.airnews.cn.

"The service is really convenient and helped me save a lot of money and time," said Dong Haijiang, a businessman in Korla, the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Northwest China, who sends his 8-year-old son to Shenzhen, Guangdong, to see his ex-wife during vacations.

Many airlines accept children aged 5 to 12 to travel alone. Some planes offers two to five seats for unaccompanied minors.

First-time solo travelers have the most fears. Child psychologists offer several tips to prepare children for the anxieties of air travel: Pack their bags with food, drink and essentials to occupy their time, such as reading or games.





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