Moving abroad or going on a long trip is undoubtedly one of the most exciting experiences; especially if you’ve never had such an experience before. However, if your child is the one to adventure abroad, you may have sleepless nights. No matter how old your child is, whether he is a young graduate, or if he is one of the 60 thousand people who participate in the Erasmus program every year, it is natural to worry.
We took a look at the typical fears of parents whose children are traveling or living abroad, and what you can do remotely to make sure your kids are as happy, healthy and safe as possible.
Dealing with common anxieties
Worrying about their children is something all parents experience, no matter how old they are. Even if we are aware of the benefits of traveling abroad, such as increased self-confidence, maturity and independence, we cannot help but consider the potential risks. Some of the common fears among parents are that their child will be robbed, injured or in financial difficulties. Also, emotional worries can be a cause for anxiety in some parents; especially if their children are at risk of facing social isolation in a country with a different culture or language.
First, you need to be realistic about your concerns and avoid thinking about disaster scenarios. Many countries are safe, if not safer than your home country. If unsure, review the Global Peace Index and local crime statistics. For example, you can find out that Slovenia is statistically safer than Australia. It’s also helpful to remind yourself that, depending on the region your child goes to, unusual situations such as kidnappings or acts of terrorism are very rare. If you haven’t created your itinerary yet, you can start by researching the safest countries in the world.
Prepare in advance
As with many situations we come across in life, the best thing you can do is limit your worries by making the right preparations in advance. Examples of such preparations include ensuring your child stays in a safe place based on local safety and crime statistics and recommendations, or purchasing a panic alarm they can use if threatened. You can also help her get useful training before she sets off, such as combat sports, finance and budget classes, language courses, or even life skills like cooking.
Sit alone with your child and explain your fears to him; so that you can determine the emergency plans together. Research his destination and identify potential risks he may face. Make a note of any emergency services they may need and ways to access them. If he is traveling, repeat this preparation for all the countries he will visit.
Ask your child for the address of their accommodation and the contact information of someone you can contact in an emergency, such as a roommate or a friend they are traveling with. Determine the times you will meet in advance; for example one message a day or a phone call every few days. If that idea pops into your mind, you can use an app from your smartphone that sends you location information to track your location.
If you’re worried about finances, set up an emergency fund. For example, you can take out an additional card from your credit card, provided that it is used in an emergency. Most importantly, encourage your child to live this unique experience to the fullest!
Which insurance should I take out?
Are your children included in your family policy, or will you take out a special travel insurance only for them? Whatever you decide, getting insurance is the right choice. Be sure to give your child the details of the insurance policy and explain the process he or she must follow to make the claim.
What is the value of international health insurance?
International health insurance gives your child the opportunity to explore abroad freely and not be tied down. Regardless of the purpose of the trip, your child will not want to limit themselves by staying in one place. Find an internationally valid insurance option that offers comprehensive coverage and check for areas that are not covered by the policy.
Are there any extra warranties I should consider?
Do your kids love adventure? Make sure that extreme sports or dangerous activities such as skiing or rock climbing are added to the coverage. On the other hand, if you have valuables such as a computer or camera, you may want to take out additional insurance that will cover most of these items.
Will the COVID-19 pandemic affect my insurance?
There may be some restrictions or changes in policies, especially today, where Covid-19 measures vary around the world. Follow recommendations that vary from country to country and review the current policy thoroughly before traveling to be aware of any restrictions.
Also, if you are planning to visit your child abroad, make sure you are covered for any last-minute changes that could be caused by the pandemic-related issues.