As the excitement builds up and your son or daughter spends their days daydreaming about their upcoming gap trip, it may be up to you to bring them back down to reality and seriously consider what needs organising before they leave. Travel preparation and careful planning are essential for a smooth-running gap year!
Ensuring that your son or daughter has adequate travel insurance is a great way to prepare them for their gap year. They will need a policy which fully covers them for all the activities they will be doing on their travels.
More often than not, gap year travellers underestimate how much their trip will cost and how much money they will need while they are out there. Because of this, it may be an idea to help them go through their financing and work out what needs to be paid for in advance and what can be bought when they're out there. Make a generous estimate of how much spending money they will need to take, and ensure they have the means to cover their costs. This will help your child prepare for the realities of their gap year.
It's worth looking at the different payment methods that your child could use while they are abroad. One of the best options is to use a prepaid travel card, which can be loaded with money prior to their departure date and also topped up by you at home if they do happen to run out of money while they are there. The cheapest most popular pre-paid card is issued by Caxton FX, but there are lots to choose from. Make sure that you are aware that some are fee-free, but some can charge quite high withdrawal charges, so shop around.
Another way to help your child prepare for their gap year is to advise them on health and safety. For example, remind your child to keep cards, cash and prepaid cards separately so that if one is stolen or lost they still have other methods of payment. With a few precautions your child can make sure they stay safe as well as keeping their belongings safe.
It's worth showing your son or daughter some cooking basics, to help them prepare for their gap year. The same can be said for learning how to do their own laundry, if they don't already: Get them familiar with a sink and some washing up detergent, and if they run out overseas, shampoo and soap will work just the same. On a gap year, getting the right kit is important, as making sure your son or daughter has a warm coat and sturdy shoes could keep them safe and protected when they are travelling.
It's much better to be overprepared than underprepared during a gap-year, especially in unfamiliar and far-away destinations, but remember that a lot of travellers will find that they do not stick directly to their original plans. A gap year will be one of the most rewarding and incredible experiences of their life, and with careful planning and preparation they can truly get the most out of their travels.