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How Much Per Diem Should a 14 Year Old be Given on a School Trip to Europe

How Much Per Diem Should a 14 Year Old be Given on a School Trip to Europe

Old Feb 25th, 2009, 11:58 AM
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How Much Per Diem Should a 14 Year Old be Given on a School Trip to Europe

My 14 year old son will be traveling to Europe over Spring Break on a school sponsored trip to England, France and Spain. Transportation, hotels, tours, admission fees, breakfast and dinner, as well as gratuities are included in the package cost. What he will have to pay himself is daily lunch, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and other incidentals.

I'm thinking of giving him $50 a day which is roughly 35 euros. Is this a reasonable amount for him? The tour is pretty busy with very little free time so they will be on the go for most of the day, returning to the hotel in the evening to bathe and sleep. It's been a long time since I've been back to Europe so I'm out of touch with current prices. I want to give him enough to pay for these things without feeling that he has to pinch his pennies, but not too much either since he is 14. I'd appreciate any advice you could provide. Thanks.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 12:03 PM
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I'd say 25€ would be plenty enough to have fun, but not too much fun. Counsel him on how to stretch his money by buying food and drinks in grocery stores - and not buying much of that expensive tourist crap made in China.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 12:15 PM
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My son was on a school sponsored trip in Europe for three weeks this summer and he spent average 35-40 Euros a day for lunch, snacks, and souvenirs, however, he was there during the hot July & August summer time and he said most of his money was spent on water and soda everyday (2-5 Euros for each drink depending where he bought it). He said he had a nice lunch everyday and had enough for drinks and snacks. He took his BA ATM card with him and I was able to monitor all his activities online. Also, it would save you some money to check ahead of time for him to see which banks in each country he is visiting has less ATM charge per transaction(you need to check with your bank here to see their global partners) if he will be using ATM.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 12:30 PM
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To clarify my earlier remarks: carry a day pack, and load it first thing each day with enough hydration for the morning. Most places, we buy a six-pack of 2L Coke or Evian at a time. Stop at a grocery store for lunch, and buy the afternoon's libations at the same time.

Avoid sit-down meals unless, they're a hamburger at Wimpey or the killer salade Niçoise at McD's.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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>>To clarify my earlier remarks: carry a day pack, and load it first thing each day with enough hydration for the morning. Most places, we buy a six-pack of 2L Coke or Evian at a time. Stop at a grocery store for lunch, and buy the afternoon's libations at the same time.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 12:44 PM
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I would err on the side of caution and budget closer to the 35 Euro per day budget. After all, you don't want your son skipping lunch so he can bring home that pretty___ he saw for his sister!
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Having taken two tours of students to Europe, I found that they often do not make wise choices with food or souvenirs. And not being the parent, you can only guide them so far with strong suggestions. (Interestingly enough,the older boys (17s) listened to me more than any other age group)...so I would not give anything over the tour company's suggestion, But I would definitely put in a package of granola bars, peanut butter crackers, peanuts and the like. My granola bar stash saved many a student especially toward the end when many were flat out broke!! i also would read up on souvenirs where he is going and talk about what might be good.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 01:03 PM
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Thanks everyone for your responses, I really appreciate your help. It sounds as if 35 euros a day will be adequate. I do want him to have fun, but as Robespierre points out, not too much fun.

We're planning on giving him some euros in cash to carry initially, the rest on a pre-paid Visa card to access at ATM's along the way. We are strongly suggesting good budgeting to him. But this is to a teen who I give $20 to go out with friends and he comes home with nothing in his wallet. Thankfully we can always add to his Visa account if necessary, although he doesn't know this.

kybourbon, his tour company is EF Educational Tours. Hopefully they provide decent meals for the kids.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 01:56 PM
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Doesn't the tour have guidelines for this?
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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I have to say, that there is no way my nieces or nephews would be given anything LIKE that much money a day.

My 15 year old pal, Laura, was let loose last Easter with some school chums in Montmartre. My recollection is that they had an allowance of 7 for lunch, and most of the kids went to Macdonalds. Laura's lot, chipped a couple of euros each and went to a proper cafe, and had a proper plat de jour lunch of less than 10.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 02:08 PM
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I would definitely give him the larger amount and have him read some of the posters who have replied to your question.These were good hints about how to maximize your money.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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"most of his money was spent on water and soda everyday" - no reason you shouldn't drink tap water in Europe! Take a water bottle, fill from the tap, save lots of money, and don't clutter the earth up with plastic bottles.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 03:06 PM
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Honestly - unless he slurps cokes by the gallon, I don't see how he'd have a chance to spend anywhere near 35 a day. If he buys a lot of souvenirs - he'll have to find a way to carry them.

He will of course want to buy some things - but my guess is he's taking a back pack or rolling duffel. So mere space limitations will help w/ the souvenir budget. He won't have free time for long, leisurely lunches.

So give him what ever you want and can afford -- but if he spends 35 a day I'd be asking what "else" he bought . . . . .
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 03:07 PM
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I think kybourbon was spot on. If that trip is really that packed with visits of museums and sights, your son will not have the opportunity to wander around for an hour to look for an inexpensive bistro. He will be mostly likely stuck with museum cafeterias, snack bars near major sights, and vending machines. And at the major tourist locations you will always pay a premium for everything.
I'd just tell him not to withdraw too much Sterling on his last days in England, so he is not stuck with too many GBP once he gets into the Euro zone.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 03:08 PM
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There ought to recommendations as to how much the kids should have from the person who organized the group. Ask them.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 03:22 PM
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Our 35 euro per day allowance is on the lower end of the suggested range. I thought the higher end sounded like too much (55 plus), but as I said, I have no idea of prices and the current dollar exchange isn't very favorable.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 03:50 PM
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I agree with Cowboy1968 and kybourbon. This trip will not be done on his schedule. They will not rearrange the day just so he can buy soda at the store or buy a baguette and cheese for lunch. Err on the side of caution and give him at least the EUR 35.
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Old Feb 25th, 2009, 04:13 PM
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EF provides the least of any of the student tour companies unless your school has booked a private tour consisting of their group only. I'm pretty sure they don't guarantee any more than continental breakfast (bread and juice or even Tang or coffee). Boys will be especially hungry because the food is limited.

EF will also stop in the middle of nowhere for lunch and they will have no choice, but to eat there (the restaurants provide incentives to the guides for these types of stops). For most lunches (which they have to pay for) they will be in a touristy area and not allowed to wander off so will experience high prices then also.

Dinner will be provided, but since they cater to kids, it will usually be french fries or some other kind of potatoes and a meat.

If you haven't already bought a Visa Travel Card, don't. They charge you to load it with money (about 7%), they charge to withdraw the money plus they give a lousy exchange rate. Get him an ATM card that has low to no fees (such as at your credit union). If he's too young for his own account (under 18), open a joint account with him. Have him try it before he leaves so he know how to work it. Notify the bank of the days (and countries) he will be in Europe so they won't freeze it. If they do and you are on the account, you can take care of it.
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 05:13 AM
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Be sure to warn him that Coke is VERY expensive. Develop a taste for the local soda brands.
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Old Feb 26th, 2009, 05:40 AM
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Be sure to warn him that Coke is VERY expensive. Develop a taste for the local soda brands.

Huh? I've never found this to be the case. Water is probably cheaper, but I've never seen much price differential between Coke and any local brands - most of which are made by the same local bottling company making the Coke or Pepsi.

Coke is more expensive in Europe than in the US, but not to any greater degree than most other things.
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