When you’re young, you can go anywhere, anytime, and either just hang out or go hang-gliding or anything else ending in “ing” that involves putting your life on the line. You’re free of responsibilities and, as you think about the world over a couple of beers as night draws in, it never really occurs to you that having children is a life-changing event. Only when confronted by the practical reality of two toddlers does it occur to you that hang-gliding with them suspended from your belt might not be a good idea.
So the burning question is where do you go and what do you do when you get there? Let’s start with a fairly obvious problem to avoid. If you’ve been carefully training these little ones to sleep when it gets dark, going too far north into Alaska is a bad idea since the sun tends to stay in the sky more hours than you like. Stay in the southern regions where it goes dark at a sensible time. Now think about how much kit you need to keep the toddlers clean and fed during the driving. In addition to the seating to keep them safe, you need easy access to all the stored essentials without having to stop and dive into a crowded trunk every time you need something. Now think about breast-feeding. You need adequate room and it might be a good idea to have curtains at the windows in the back of the vehicle.
» Read more: Car rental companies and road trips with children
There are some very comprehensive rules protecting European citizens when they travel around Europe. If the airlines fail to comply with these rules, they will be prosecuted and heavy fines are payable. So it’s in your interests to know your rights. Let’s start with the not uncommon situation of overbooked flights. You have paid for your ticket, you told the airline you were coming, and you present yourself at the airport on time only to find there are too many bodies waiting to get on the same flight. If this happens to you, the airline must first call for volunteers to give up their seats in return for agreed compensation. But suppose no one volunteers. Well, the choice falls to you.
If you decide not to travel, you are entitled to a full refund and compensation of up to 600 Euro. The actual amount varies depending on how long the intended flight and how many miles. But if it will still be worth traveling onward, you are entitled to be booked on to the first available flight to your destination. If you are offered a seat upgrade, the airline cannot ask you for the difference in price. If you must now break your journey and catch a connecting flight, all expenses must be met. Food and accommodation may also be necessary. Should the only available seats be in a lower class, you are entitled to a refund of the difference in ticket price.
» Read more: Cheap flights and what to do if refused boarding
When you’re young, it’s very difficult to stay calm when you prove one of the unlucky teens to lose their hair without an acceptable explanation. Somehow, society forgives the young who lose their hair because of chemotherapy for cancer or as a result of some other natural accident. But any other hair loss marks you out as uncool. The really unlucky catch one of the fungal infections like ringworm which leaves swatches of hair on the ground as people walk around. This is deeply humiliating. Then you have the style conscious who put their hair under pressure by pulling it into position. After a while, pulling at the hair makes it fall out. But then come those who can be accused of having weak genes. Teens as young as 14 can be affected by male pattern baldness, according to findings from recent medical research.
When the FDA were reviewing the evidence from the medical trials, it was aware that male pattern baldness was possible among the younger teens, but it decided to limit the prescription license to those aged 18 and over. The decision by the FDA is always a balancing of benefits against risk. Young bodies are still going through the maturing process and the levels of different hormones can be changing quite quickly. To intervene in the balance of hormones in the young is dangerous. The FDA therefore erred on the side of caution. In part, this reflects the nature of the drug. It’s not a cure for the genetic problem. It simply controls the process that would otherwise lead to hair loss. For the moment doctors are not supposed to prescribe Propecia to anyone under the age of 18, but if there had been a specific cure it is possible that the FDA may have reached a different conclusion.
» Read more: Should Propecia be used by teenagers?