Staying in touch is an essential part of planning a gap year. You never know what might happen, either during your son or daughter's travels, but also back at home. Emergencies can arise at any time, and it's best to have plans in place if an emergency does arise, either abroad or at home.
Staying in regular contact with your son or daughter while they're travelling is the best way of checking in and making sure you know each other are safe and well. Agree on how often you will contact each other and both make the effort to stick to this plan. It's also a good idea to make sure you have a list of the numbers of the hostels and hotels that they are staying at, as well as the contact details of any gap year companies or representatives that they may be travelling with. Emergencies can happen at any time, and the time difference may mean that you're not able to contact your son or daughter directly. Gap 360 has a 24/7 emergency contact line, so our travellers or their parents can speak directly to a member of our team in case of emergency, at any time of the day or night. There are many ways of keeping in touch during a gap year which you can read in our staying in touch advice section.
Making sure that your son or daughter travels responsibly is probably one of your primary concerns. Gap travel is best planned through a gap travel company and at Gap 360 our 24-hour contact number for emergencies means you can rest easy that there is someone on hand to take emergency calls. Travelling with a reputable company also means you will worry less as you will have a better idea of where you child is in the world, the activities they will be doing and the planned itinerary they will be following. On organised gap travel programmes their is usually a tour guide or in-country co-ordinator, so you know your son or daughter has expert support and advice on hand at all times. It will also make it easier to keep in touch and inform them of any unforeseen circumstances which may arise at home.
Worrying is a natural part of any parents experience when their son or daughter is away on the other side of the world, but the world seems smaller now that there is easy access to email, Skype, social media platforms and text messaging as immediate ways of getting in touch. Make sure you agree on regular contact as part of the gap preparation and you'll feel more confident that you can get in touch as and when is needed. You might want to set up third party access to your child's bank account before they leave, so you can make sure they have enough financial back up if they need to fly home at short notice. It might also be worth considering organising a prepaid travel card for your son or daughter to have with them on their travels. Ensuring they have proper and comprehensive gap year travel insurance is also essential, as this may help to cover any unexpected emergency costs.