[Annie has smuggled Molly onto the ship which she and Daddy Warbucks are leaving for England on] Miss Hannigan
: [running onto the dock as the ship departs]
Stowaway! Stowaway! Warbucks
: Isn't that Miss Hannigan? Annie
: Why yes, it is. She's coming to see us off. Miss Hannigan
: Stop that ship! Stowaway! Warbucks
: What's that she's saying? Annie
: I think she's saying... [thinks]
..."Stay awhile! Stay awhile!"
—Annie: A Royal Adventure!
In fiction, children have a habit of hiding on ships, airplanes, spaceships, etc., whenever they decide to go on an adventure
When they are discovered, the adults are frequently unable to leave them behind, for some reason or other.
Anime and Manga
- Spridle and Chim Chim of Speed Racer.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, Kyon's little sister hides in his travel bag to go with him on a vacation. Of course, she is instantly discovered, but in the anime version, they ultimately allow her to go with them.
- Thorfinn in Vinland Saga.
- Ed from Cowboy Bebop isn't exactly a stowaway (blackmailing the crew by taking remote control of the piloting), but fits the trope in terms of how most of the crew regard and treat her: yet another unwelcome/annoying passenger and the final straw for the "No women, no pets, no kids" policy.
- Gruelle in Bodacious Space Pirates.
- In Violine, Violine stows away on an oil tanker.
- In Stowaway to the Moon, a pre-teen boy stows away on an Apollo mission.
- Russell in Up, though accidentally.
- Malcolm's daughter in The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
- The Incredibles - the kids stow away on the jet when Helen goes to rescue Bob. By the time she finds out they are there, it's too late - their plane is shot down.
- The Cat from Outer Space
- The film version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has a little girl stow away on the ship to be with her father.
- The Shirley Temple film titled Stowaway. It's by accident—Heartwarming Orphan Shirley dives into the trunk of a rich guy's car to escape the rain, then falls asleep, and manages to sleep through the car being hauled onto the boat that the rich guy is sailing away on.
- The Shirley Temple film titled Bright Eyes, in which Shirley's godfather is an airline pilot, which of course leads to Shirley stowing away on his plane.
- In Interstellar, the hero refuses to take his daughter with him to the mysterious location, so she hides under a blanket in his car. By the time he notice her, it's too late to send her back and both continue the journey together.
- Arthur C. Clarke's Dolphin Island: A cargo hover ship makes an emergency landing in the United States and a teenager named Johnny Clinton stows away aboard it. A few hours later it crashes into the Pacific Ocean and Johnny is rescued by dolphins, who take him to safety on an inhabited island.
- Arkady Darell in Second Foundation. At the end, we learn that she probably wasn't acting entirely of her own volition.
- Deconstructed in The Cold Equations. Marilyn is a twenty-something year old girl who wants to join her brother in creating new space colonies. When the ship she's stationed on makes a stop by the planet he's on, she hides on the ship that's sent to land. The pilot is forced to send her out the airlock, because they don't have enough fuel to land with an extra person on board.
- The boy in My Father's Dragon does this to get to the island of the animals.
- Esk in Equal Rites.
- Joan Nixon's 1968 children's book The Mystery of the Secret Stowaway centers around one of these.
- This is how Adric got on the TARDIS in Doctor Who. Many fans would not have objected to him being Thrown Out the Airlock, though.
- And Zoe. It seems to be a mathematician thing.
- Lupus is a stowaway on Marcus Flavius's ship on the TV adaption of The Secrets of Vesuvius.
- The Power Rangers Lost Galaxy episode "Homesick" features a young Child Prodigy named Matthew, who stowed away on board of Terra Venture, but got home sick and tries to hack the ship's controls to make it fly back to Earth. When he is caught, he is told that going home is no option and he is put in the care of Damon (the Green Ranger). When Matthew helps stop Furio from accessing Terra Venture's control base, the gratefull rangers give him a ride back to Earth in the Astro Megaship.
- In the Thunderbirds episode "Security Hazard", a young boy named Chip stows away on Thunderbird 2.
- This is how Sothe originally joins your party in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance. He's stowed away on your party's ship when they sail to Begnion.
- A Side Quest in Knights of the Old Republic involves a girl who had been kidnapped by the Mandalorians, escaped, and stowed away on the Ebon Hawk. Your options are to tell her to leave, learn to communicate with her (she speaks a garbled form of Mandalorian which appears to consist of one line over and over) and reunite her with her family, or wait until she leaves on her own.
- In Sam & Max: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak, Sam and Max's great-grandfathers Sameth and Maximus discover that Baby Amelia Earhart has stowed away in their luggage on the Disorient Express.
- A 17 year old Lara Croft does this in Tomb Raider Chronicles.
- In Skies of Arcadia, Marco stows away on the Delphinus because he's tired of living in Lower Valua. He winds up becoming the first official non-playable member of Vyse's crew.
- Maribel attempts to stow away on her father's fishing boat at the start of Dragon Quest VII. The Hero has to blow her cover and get her kicked off the boat, setting the scene for her to join the real adventure later.
- In Infinite Space, Katida Lanco sneaks onboard the player's ship after being rescued. Unfortunately, she suffers from a medical condition that makes long-term space travel almost impossible.
- Meracle of Star Ocean The Last Hope is one in her Back Story. She is from a primitive world, and snuck on board a visiting space ship because it smelled good. That is the start to the chain of events that leads her to join the party.
- Kira Carsen's backstory in Star Wars: The Old Republic has her escaping Korriban by stowing away on a slave transport when she was 10.
- In Project Million, Mikey Insanity stows away in LC's suitcase in order to get to Florida.
- Jade of Jackie Chan Adventures does this. A lot.
- As does Penny in Inspector Gadget, though she always hides herself from her Uncle (and often gets caught by the villains instead).
- Lampshaded in the Jonny Quest TOS episode "Terror Island". When Race Bannon arrives at the island by boat, he says that the boys (Jonny and Hadji) can come out now. When they ask how he knew they were there, Race says that they've pulled the "stowaway bit" so often that he's come to expect it.
- In one episode of The Simpsons, Bart hides in a fishing boat that gets in a storm and Homer discovers him just before the Giant Wall of Watery Doom gets in the ship.
- Iceman (who is around 14 in this continuity), in an episode of X-Men: Evolution, stows away in the X-Jet so he can fight with the X-Men vets. It works partially - he managed to hitch his ride, but Professor X knew he was there all along.
- It was also an excuse to have a team made up of the Original Five X-Men from the comic books for an episode. Mythology Gag for the win!
- Another episode Grim Reminder, have Shadowcat and Nightcrawler, worried about Wolverine, stow away on the X-Jet when he goes back to the site of Weapon X.
- That's not as much stowing away as being taken accidentally - Kitty was looking for a quiet place to write her parents an e-mail, and Kurt just showed up to mess about with her.
- Adult version (well... Man Child version) on Archer; Pam and Cheryl stow away on a space flight, largely as an excuse to put the comic relief characters in the episode even though it's implausible enough that the main cast are there...
- In the four-part The Smurfs episode "Smurfquest", Sassette stows away while Papa, Grandpa, Handy, Hefty and Greedy Smurf go on a quest to recover elements in order to renew their long-life stone. They're none too pleased, but she comes in handy after all.
- Bernice from Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose.
- In the Defenders of the Earth episode "Diamonds are a Ming's Best Friend", Rick, LJ and Jedda head off to Africa to try and prevent the Ice Robots from robbing a diamond mine. (The episode's plot involves Ming using diamonds to create supposedly invincible Crystal Soldiers) Kshin is told to stay behind to "co-ordinate things", but, determined to prove he can handle himself just as well as the three teens, he (along with Zuffy) stows away on their shuttle craft.
- In 1999 a 17 year old boy stowed away on flight from Boston to London, allegedly because he wanted to impress the Israeli intelligence service, resulting in a huge embarrassment for Airport Security and British Airways. There was no official word on whether the Mosad was impressed or not.
- In 2010 a 16 year stowaway fell out of the wheel well of a US Airways jet as it made its final approach into Boston (what is it about Boston?) The exact cause of death was never determined, but he would have died from hypoxia even if the landing gear hadn't crushed him.
- The Shackleton Arctic expedition (1914-17) saw a young, unqualified friend of one of the crew stow away. He ultimately proved his worth, hanging on a lot better than several of the trained sailors; he survived along with the rest, although he lost all of his toes to frostbite.