For any parent, the idea of their teenager going overseas without them for the first time can be daunting and nerve-wracking. But whether your teen is skipping Gold Coast schoolies and opting for Fiji instead, or taking a gap year before Uni to explore the UK and Europe, there are a few things you can do to help prepare them – and you – for their solo departure.
A quick Google search will arm you with packing lists, dos and don'ts, and more, but as the FXperts, we wanted to focus on tips for your teen's travel money options and money safety.
These days, there are quite a few options available to travellers when it comes to taking money overseas, including:
We always recommend arranging some foreign currency cash before departing, so when your teen lands at their destination, they have money on-hand for a quick meal, public transport from the airport, and anything else they may need in the first few days. This is especially handy in case they have problems finding an ATM, exchanging money, or using their cards.
Our other recommendation would be to consider a prepaid travel money card, like our Travel Money Nz Cash Passport. A Cash Passport is a modern version of travellers cheques (with lots of great features), and will allow your teen to preload the card with the currency they need on their trip, or with Australian dollars if the currency isn't supported by the card.
While overseas, they can use their card to withdraw money or pay for purchases instore or online, like they would with their regular debit card.
There are a host of other benefits to having a Cash Passport, including the fact that it’s part of the Travel Money Nz app that can include travel insurance, a Global SIM, and travel itinerary.
We're all for multiple travel money options; the more backups your teen has, the better. If an emergency strikes, having a debit or credit card on hand will be, well, handy.
But we do suggest confirming what fees will be associated with using their card overseas by enquiring with their bank. Each time they use their bank card to withdraw money, they will likely be charged an overseas ATM fee by the Aussie bank, a fee from the local ATM owner, and a foreign currency conversion fee. If they use the card to pay for transactions in a store or online, there may be a conversion fee and a transaction fee charged.
If your teen is going to be using their bank card overseas, they should advise the bank of where they are going, and when, before they depart. If the bank is unaware that they are overseas and they see foreign transactions on the card, they may act first and ask questions later, essentially cancelling the card to prevent fraudulent activity. If this happens, your teen could find themselves stranded overseas without access to any cash if they only have this one travel money option.
Travel insurance, in our eyes, is a no brainer. It can offer you peace of mind to know your teen will be well taken care of should they have a medical emergency, their luggage gets lost or stolen, or their travel plans are changed for any reason.
We recommend speaking to one of our FXperts to find the right travel insurance cover for your teen, and for their specific holiday activities; you can never be too safe.
Obviously, the best way to know they are OK is to hear it from the horse’s mouth, but using an Aussie mobile overseas can quickly add up to a massive roaming bill, eating away at the money they have for more fun things on their trip.
If your teen gets an eligible travel insurance policy through Cover-More, they will also get a free Global SIM that can help them stay in touch with you in an affordable way. With low call and data rates for over 190 countries, they'll have no reason to not call, Skype or Whatsapp you at least once a week!
And if they still "forget", the SIM comes with a UK based phone number that you can jot down to call or text them on while they’re away.
The Government's SAFETRAVEL website is a really useful tool to get medical and safety advice for each destination your teen may be travelling to.
It provides useful information on safety when it comes to money and valuables while travelling in each country. It’s also a good starting place to educate your teen on the different laws and customs of the country they’re travelling to, as they’ll be subject to the laws of the country they’re in. The laws on drinking and the laws on driving will be of particular importance to a teen overseas. Now really isn't the time to have your head in the sand when it comes to teen activities.
You can also register their overseas travel plans, so in the event of an emergency involving your teen, you can be contacted, or vice versa; if there’s an emergency at home while they’re away, your teen can be alerted.
Finally, it's a good idea to scan or photocopy all of your teen’s important documents and cards, including their passport, travel documents, bank cards, travel money cards and insurance documents. Then you can keep a copy, and you can give them a copy in case anything happens to the original documents or cards.
Your teen's first overseas trip sans parents is an exciting time for them. It marks a newfound freedom and a milestone in their independence. But for the parent, it can be an overwhelming period of sleepless nights. Helping your teen manage their travel funds while overseas will give you one less thing to worry about.
If you’d like to further explore the option of a Cash Passport or a Cover-More travel insurance policy for your teen, talk to one of our FXperts today.
The Multi-currency Cash Passport™ (“Cash Passport”) is an unsecured debt security issued by Travelex Card Services Limited, a member of the Travelex group. Cash Passport is not guaranteed by any member of the Travelex group or any other entity. Before you make a decision to acquire a Cash Passport, we recommend you to read the Product Disclosure Statement which is available free of charge at www.cashpassport.co.nz. MasterCard® and the MasterCard Brand Mark are registered trademarks of MasterCard International Incorporated. *Lock in your exchange rates mean the exchange rate is locked in for the initial load only. The exchange rates for subsequent reloads will be set at the prevailing exchange rate at the time of the transaction. Some ATM operators may charge an additional withdrawal fee.
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