Your Teen’s Gap Year: How to Stay in Control

If your child is planning on taking a year out by going on a gap year, you may have mixed emotions. Although going on a gap year is a fantastic opportunity, you may be worried about safety, money and other potential dangers. As a parent, it’s not easy to let go of the reigns, especially if your child has had a sheltered and privileged lifestyle. So, what can you do to stay in control of the situation from a distance?


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Money Transfer Specialist
Before your child begins travelling, you’ll need to discuss finance options. You child may have some savings put away ready to use when he/she leaves or you may be partially funding the trip. There may also be times when you need to transfer money abroad if your child runs low on funds. All of these actions require a currency exchange at some point, and if you’re unprepared you may be faced with exchange charges and poor rates. Hiring a money transfer specialist can help you to pinpoint the best exchange rates and you’ll receive valuable advice on managing money abroad.
Employment
Your child will have to source out employment at some point. Not only to keep the money coming in but also to gain essential working experience that can build character and develop maturity. If you have some time before your child leaves, use the time to research possible job opportunities in the area your child will be staying in. It may be worth your child doing some training before leaving. For example, a ski instructor course qualification would be useful in countries where skiing is a popular sport or pastime. Find out what rules and restrictions there are for foreigners working in the country your child is travelling to.


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Teach Budgeting Skills
There may be times when your child needs to stretch their budget. So, if they’re used to being able to spend what they want, when they want, now is the time to instil some self-discipline. Being frugal with money could help your teen to survive a gap year successfully. It’s a great lesson for the future, because teens get to experience the very real difficulty of managing their finances. It can help to know in advance what the average cost of things are in the country your child will be staying in. Research rent costs, public transport costs, meal costs and anything else you can find.
Create Structure
The idea of letting your teen travel to another country with no plan in place is enough to give any parent a heart attack. But, you also don’t want to micromanage every aspect of their trip. So, the best idea is to sit down and create a plan for the first three months of the year. That way, you know they’re safe and catered for, for at least that amount of time. Then all you need to do is hope they learn the ropes successfully enough to get them through the next nine months.
Saying goodbye to your child is never easy, but you just have to hope they have enough common sense and resourcefulness to get through.

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