Tips for When Your Teen Travels Overseas

February 21, 2012

With spring time only a few months away, many parents are gearing up for the gutsy decision to green-light a child’s request to join in on a class trip to travel overseas. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young adults too exciting to pass up for families that can afford the cost, but that doesn’t mean it’s not without its inherent risks. In order to put your parental mind at ease, and therefore ensure that your child has the safest travel overseas experience possible, make sure to commit to the following before the trip commences:

Get them a credit card: To lower the risk of unrecoverable theft or misplacement of cash, opt for a no foreign transaction fee credit card that you can pay off when your child returns from their trip. Unless such a card includes cash back rewards, however, it’s probably still a smart idea to have your child withdraw small amounts of currency for casual spending.

Get them a prepaid phone: While emails and Facebook messages work when it comes to touching base with a traveling teenager, increase your peace of mind by making sure your child has a way to call you in case of an emergency, and vice versa. It may never be used, but knowing immediate communication is possible makes a big difference as a parent.

Get them an outlet adapter: Whether it’s the must-have hairdryer or the PSP, few bring-along electronics will work after a few days without being charged. Power outlets are different depending on where you are overseas, so invest in a universal adapter to keep this problem from arising during an international trip.

Get them checked out: The last thing you want is for a health problem to arise when your child is half a world away. Before they set off on their trip, teens should always undergo a routine physical. If the trip is through a school, then proof of such an exam is a likely requirement.

Get them educated: Even if your child is a third-year French student, how much does he or she really know about the country’s culture and customs? Not only that, but how much do they know about the rules and regulations regarding traveling in and out of the country? Have your teen read a Wikipedia article or two, or make them visit the State Department’s site on safe overseas travel, before agreeing to pay for a trip overseas.

Get them a good backpack: Chances are your teenager will be asked to carry their belongings with them as they go – especially if several destinations are in the works. Invest in a quality backpack, something that won’t tear from the weight of a weeks worth of travel needs. The last thing you or your child wants is a trip-spoiling tearing of the only piece of luggage they have.

The potential conflicts and complexities of international travel should always be sorted before departure. This is especially the case when teens are doing the traveling. When it comes to the safety and happiness of our children, nothing should get in the way. With a little forethought and practical planning, you can ensure that your child has the best overseas travel experience possible.

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