Everyone wants what's best for their kids. From choosing the very best stroller to finding toys that keep them stimulated and working on their cognitive skills, all the way into adulthood. Despite the importance of materialistic things, if your child has a desire to travel the world and experience new cultures, then you may wonder how you can encourage their interests and curiosity.
You can choose to take a gap year at any point in your life. However, taking a gap year is a particularly popular option for those between college and university. It gives young adults the perfect opportunity to see a bit of the world and travel before they settle down into a career or take their studies further. So, if you're the parent of a child who has plans to see the world, how can you help them reach their goals?
Read on for 11 ways you can help your kids see the world.
Junior ISAs are a great gift that you can top up as often as you like. Opening one while your child is still young allows you to build their funds as they grow. So, when they're 18 and gain access to their ISA, they can then use the money to fund their gap year adventures.
You can’t be expected to fund all their travels, so encouraging your child to get a job as soon as they're old enough is a step in the right direction. It will give them a sense of responsibility and teach them that to get something they want, they have to be committed and work hard for it. They don’t have to use all their wages to fund their travels. But putting a little aside each month will also help them grasp the importance of saving and patience.
Birthdays and Christmases are the perfect opportunities to give your child's gap year fund a little boost. Instead of gifting them gadgets and materialistic things, you can gift them money for their trip, or even purchase gear and accessories that they can use when travelling. Encourage relatives to do the same!
If this is the first time your child has needed to finance something of this magnitude, then give them a helping hand. Help them figure out how much their trip will cost and work together to figure out a budget and savings plan.
Teens and socialising usually involves spending money, whether that’s going to the cinema, shopping at the mall, or buying the latest online game. Encourage them to find free ways to socialise, like walks in the park or listening to music at home, so they can save the money for their travels instead.
Many teens dream of passing their driving test and owning their own vehicle, but if your teen wants to travel overseas, then they can’t always have both. Encourage them to take public transport or carpool with friends and family to get to school and work.
Maybe they have their heart set on travelling on particular dates or a certain time of the year. Peak times on airlines are incredibly expensive, so encourage them to be flexible with their dates instead. Whether it’s flying out on Friday 13th or leaving in late summer rather than during peak season, show them that there are savings to be made and they’re much more likely to turn their travel dreams into a reality if they’re flexible!
Even if your teen manages to get the funds together to head overseas, they might be concerned about their adventures coming to a close too early. In order to give them as much longevity abroad as possible, you could help them take steps to find work in their chosen country. From bar work to working in hotels and resorts, fruit and flower picking, even lifeguarding at swimming pools or working on cruise ships. There are plenty of working options for travellers out there.
Flying on a budget airline might mean it takes longer for them to get to their destination, and it might mean that they don’t get as much leg room or baggage allowance as on other airlines. But at least, they’ll be able to go overseas at a lower cost by finding cheaper flights!
Unless your teen is looking for a spiritually enlightening solo travel experience, then they might be interested in travelling with their friends or a family member of the same age, like a cousin or a sibling. Travelling solo is expensive, but if the cost is split between two or more people, then it quickly becomes much more affordable. What could be better than hitting the road with their closest friends for a couple of months?
Don’t let them give up on their travel dream just because it seems so far out of reach. Encourage them every step of the way. And when they question whether or not it’s worth it, remind them why they wanted to go travelling in the first place.
If you have kids who are eager to travel and see the world, we hope you found these tips useful to help encourage them and give them the support they need to achieve their dream.
Do you have a teen who wants to take a gap year? Let us know in a comment below!
Hey, I'm Camille! I'm a 30-something "ex-French" girl turned world explorer. In 2013, I quit my life to travel the world - and I haven’t stopped since! I have lived in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, and Colombia, and have visited 50+ countries as a location-independent travel writer and affiliate marketer. I like sleeping in hammocks, riding scooters, eating all the foods, and scaring my mother trying adventure sports! I now share this journey with my nomadic boyfriend Mr B, with whom I recently bought a home base in the mountains of Bansko, Bulgaria.