Advice for parents of Gap Year Travellers

Taking a gap year is an incredible opportunity for any young person. The timing of the trip coincides with them being able to grow and develop as a young individual. It’s an exciting and rewarding prospect for your son or daughter going on a gap year but it can also be extremely worrying for the parents.

We get many people sharing their concerns about their children going travelling. It’s only natural to be concerned. Will your children be safe? What is the support network available to them? How will they cope financially abroad? Will they have everything they need and will they be properly prepared prior to travelling?

Whilst concern is natural, don’t worry they will be in good hands with Xtreme Gap Year. The following section covers many of the frequently asked questions and worries that parents can have. Also if you would like a no obligations chat about your son or daughters trip feel free to get in touch with one of our travel consultants.

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Health and safety

The safety of our travellers is our main priority when creating and managing trips. Xtreme Gap Year was founded in 2008, over that time we have sent tens of thousands of travellers abroad. We pride ourselves on being up to provide superb pre-travel advice and support. On our programs we offer in country orientations, a support network 2nd to none and we carry out comprehensive risk assessments on a continuing basis.

Whilst we are not in a place to advise on health matters, we will provide your kids with all of the resources they need to do their own research prior to travelling. We recommend that all of our travellers visits their GP or travel clinic 8 weeks prior to their departure to check up on any vaccinations or see if they need any medications for that particular country.

Funding the trip and money

Gap years can be trip of a lifetime events. But they do require financing and providing our support network can often mean booking a trip with Xtreme Gap Year is more expensive than simply jumping on a flight and going backpacking alone. Many of our travellers self fund their gap years, whilst others are fortunate enough to have a loan from the bank of mum and dad. However the trip is funded, with each and every customer we want to ensure that their expectations for what they can spend are realistic.

For this reason we request for payment 12 weeks prior to the trip departure. Which still leaves them a full 3 months to save the spending money and flights and ensures that they are financially covered whilst they are away.

How you can help them with their budgeting

For many this can be the 1st time they have planned and managed their own finances. Parents can assist in this by setting them on the path to saving up for their gap year by gifting them Xtreme Gap Year vouchers.

You can purchase vouchers worth £200 (you can purchase more than one voucher if necessary) to be redeemed against any Xtreme Gap Year trip. It makes the perfect gift for your son or daughter and gives them that 1st step to help planning their gap year. Our research has shown, Year travellers who start planning their gap year trip in good time managed to save up more, and have the funds in place to in role on more fulfilling trips.

What should your kids budget for their trip?

We are aware that many of our clients are first-time travellers, and simply don’t know how much money they would require. We are well placed to advise which trips would be appropriate for their budgets.

What if your son or daughter is not good with money?

If your son or daughter is a disaster at budgeting, we have other trips which include food, accommodation and activities meaning they do not need much spending money at all and you know they are all going to be looked after exceptionally well during the trip.

How to get them ready for the trip

So the departure date is approaching. You will want to get your son or daughter prepared for their travels. Much of the work is taking care of through our experienced travel advisers at Xtreme Gap Year. We provide detailed predeparture pack’s which will walk them through the process of preparing for the trip.

Travel insurance

It’s very important that your son or daughter has travel insurance included. Which is why we recommend certain companies at the time of booking to make sure they are adequately covered.

Setting their expectations of financing.

In our experience our clients usually drastically underestimate how much money they will spend. This is usually result when our experienced travel consultants are talking to them about their trip prior to booking.

It’s best to make an estimate of how much money they will need, and have a bit in reserve as well.

Making payments whilst they are travelling

It’s definitely worth considering how to manage money whilst they are travelling. One of our preferred options is for a prepaid travel card which can be loaded with cash at any time via Internet banking or app. The prepaid travel card, provides currency transfers at highly competitive rates. This is way better than withdrawing money from an ATM, and travellers cheques in most places are no longer used.

Making sure they remain safe whilst they travel.

Common sense is key, but on most of our group trips we have a policy where no one is ever left alone. Most of our trips fully guided, however when there is free time in weekends it’s not unusual for groups to go out socialising together. We make it clear that no one is to ever be left alone at any point. And that our customers to buddy up, and be responsible young adults looking out for each other. This system has kept our travellers safe since our inception and to date we have never had any incidents with any of our travellers. That is a statistic we are highly proud of.

Communication

Travelling the world has become a lot easier. Communication now is hardly an issue in any of our destinations. You would be surprised at the Internet speeds in developing countries which often exceed those in the UK.

Sim cards can also be purchased in most destinations as well.

Managing your expectations

Often the parents are more nervous than their sons or daughters about travel. But remember this is an amazing opportunity for your kids. Home sickness, and culture shock are very real possibilities. So remember to remain supportive should you get a call in the 1st couple of days with your kids worried.

In 99% of cases, home sickness and culture shock fades very quickly usually within the 1st 3 days. Please remember to be supportive of your kids travels, and remember this is their 1st venture into the world it will be a life changing experience for them.

Emergencies

On rare occasions emergencies may happen. This is not just part of taking a gap year, it can happen walking down the street in your hometown. It’s good to know that you have peace of mind that your sons and daughters are in good hands. We have a fantastic support network available to them. With reps based locally, and in contact 24 7. Your son or daughter and yourselves will be provided with an emergency contact number which is available 24 hours a day should there be any issues.

How to start planning the trip

So here’s the big question where to start. By far the best way is to talk to someone who knows. We strongly recommend scheduling a talk with one of our travel advisers on Skype. Whether it’s just with your son or daughter or whether you want to be involved as well is entirely up to you.

We have all travelled, we know the destinations inside out and helping thousands of young travellers prepare for their gap year we are able to offer you some fantastic advice. For a no obligation chat please contact us to arrange a time for a chat. It’s the 1st step in planning a safe, fun affordable adventure.

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