Many parents are keen to encourage their teens to explore new experiences as part of their transition towards becoming an independent adult and packing them off on an overseas gap year trip is a popular option.
If you are thinking of helping your teen to experience a gap year adventure there are a number of financial factors as well as safety issues that you want to get right before you wave them off.
It’s Down to You to Pay
Although the basic principle of a gap year is that it is seen as a rite of passage and a route towards emotional and financial independence where you no longer need the constant support of your parents on a daily basis, the reality can still be somewhat different.
It seems that parents are still funding the lion’s share of their kid’s gap year travel plans and a fair percentage of us with kids of this age will be helping to provide the financial support they need.
About 10% of parents end up paying more than $6,000 towards their trip and there are plenty below that percentage who provide some level of support, which takes some planning.
If you need some help with funding these gap year plans one of your key decisions beforehand will be choosing the right personal loan, but — however you intend on paying for the trip — you need to work out a budget that reflects their expected costs and needs while they are away.
Keeping In Touch
One of the biggest concerns that troubles parents of gap year students is how they will be able to stay in contact with them as they travel through remote destinations and different parts of the world where Wi-Fi isn’t always an available option.
Think about how your teens will be able to pay for their communication requirements if they remember to get in touch with you while they are away exploring a different part of the planet.
The idea of a gap year is that it is designed to encourage independence and some program organizers even suggest that teens resist the temptation to keep phoning home. However, you want to ensure they have enough money to afford to stay in touch when they want to, so consider the idea of funding a phone contract that gives them roaming options.
Even if you are going to pay some of their travel and accommodation costs while they are away, there are some additional funding options that could help ease the financial burden.
Some teens are more ready to handle their own money than others at this stage of their development so you will need to try and work out whether organizing a credit card could be a suitable option or putting a weekly or monthly allowance into their bank.
As well as the financial support you are able to provide them while they are away there are also grants and scholarships that could be worth applying for as a way of covering a good percentage of their travel costs.
It can be hard saying goodbye when they leave home on a gap year but at least if you have taken care of the funding for the trip, it should be one less thing to worry about.