By Ann Tatko-Peterson
Monday, October 13th, 2008 at 12:37 pm in Teens.
Is your teen headed abroad for the first time? Patrick Evans of STA Travel — the world’s largest student, youth and budget travel organization — offers five tips for making the experience easier and safer.
1) Establish a Contact Schedule – It can be difficult to reach your child overseas on the spur of the moment, so establish a contact time when they will call or e-mail you. Keep in mind time differences and their schedule when creating a plan. Your child will likely have access to an Internet cafe or an Internet connection at their hostel or hotel, so e-mail may be the easier option.
2) Use a credit card – If your child doesn’t have a credit card, get them one specifically for the trip to take advantage of the better exchange rates credit cards offer. Visa and Mastercard charge a 1-3 percent fee for using their card to pay in a foreign currency, but the fees are offset by the improved exchange rate the companies negotiate. In an emergency, it is easier to use a credit card than trying to complete a wire transfer to your child.
3) Make Copies – Before your child leaves, make copies of all of their important documents and cards they are taking with them. This includes any form of ID, including passport, credit cards, rail passes and any other documents that will be difficult to replace if lost. Copies likely won’t be accepted as equivalent to the real thing, but having copies does make it easier to replace the originals.
4) Get Contact Information – If your child is travelling overseas as part of a study abroad program, get the contact information of the head of the program where they are traveling and the head of the program at their university back home. These will be the first people to contact in an emergency because they will have an itinerary of where the participants should be. You also should make sure they have your contact information.
5) Buy a Student or Youth Discount Card – Student and youth discount cards like ISIC and IYTC offer significant savings all over the world to some of the best museums, historical sites and entertainment venues. The card also allows you to book discounted student-rate airfare and is accepted by many hostels and hotels for discounts and perks like complimentary Internet access. The card also comes with basic insurance and is an internationally recognized ID card. They are available at STATravel.com for $22.