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Money Options for Teenager traveling to Italy and Greece on school trip.

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May 23rd, 2011, 08:23 AM
  #1
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Money Options for Teenager traveling to Italy and Greece on school trip.

Was hoping to get some suggestions from the seasoned travelers on this board. My 17 year old daughter will be traveling to Europe (Italy and Greece) in the next few weeks. We have gotten her some Euros and she will be bringing a credit card (with her name on it) for emergencies. I am told that travelers cheques are "old school" and no longer used. What then are the the best options? She does not have an ATM card, and I don't want her taking all cash for fear that it will all get stolen with no chance for recoupment. Should I send her with one of those Visa Gift cards? And if so, are those widely accepted? Can she take it to the bank and get euros like she would with ATM card? Can the money on the gift card be replaced if it is stolen? Better ideas? Thanks in advance.
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May 23rd, 2011, 08:35 AM
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Gift cards CANNOT be used for cash transactions or cash withdrawals.

Simply open her an account at your bank and put the money in her new account. She should use her new ATM card - it really is the best way by far. At 17, she is probably ready for here first checking account anyway.
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May 23rd, 2011, 08:36 AM
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I suggest getting her an ATM card attached to a checking account. She will get the best exchange rate using the ATM card and not have to worry about carrying too much cash.

Be sure to notify the cc and ATM banks of her travel dates prior to leaving home. There is an 800 number on the back of each card to call for this notification. Also, make sure she notes the cc and ATM card number info and international toll free number (found on the back of each card) in a separate place from the cards, just in case they are lost.
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May 23rd, 2011, 08:41 AM
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I presumed you have not looked at fee schedules for these Visa gift cards. I think they are marketed to those who cannot get ATM cards with better terms.

You did not mention her own ATM(debit) card: why not?

I have sent my daughters abroad with their own Debit cards linked to checking accounts. Age restrictions? All I had to do was to make them joint owners of my checking accounts created just for this purpose separate from my normal checking account. Another benefit of this arrangement was that I could load the account as needed basis.

Where I live, the minors can have a savings account linked ATM card but not a checking account or a debit card. However, in my experience, ATM cards linked to a savings account, even if that is the only account linked to the card, did not work at foreign ATM machines.
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May 23rd, 2011, 09:04 AM
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greg,

Good point. I meant a joint account - with both a parent and the daughters name on it.
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May 23rd, 2011, 10:19 AM
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Tell your daughter to open an account and get an ATM card as soon as possible.
She should have at least used it once or twice before the trip just to gain some basic experience.

Surely she'll be off to university soon and will be handling her own finances on a daily basis. This will only help her gain some experience beforehand.

My daughter was very keen to open her own account last year. We deposit her small allowance into her account monthly ($25) plus she gets a monthly check from a part time job for $30 a month. She is managing her money well and she's 13.
I admit my son took longer to get on track BUT he didn't open an account until he was 16
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May 23rd, 2011, 10:51 AM
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A Visa Travel Card is what I've used with my teenagers when they've gone abroad for school trips. AAA provides a really good product and if you're a member, the fees are reasonable. The travel card can be used at ATMs and at any retailer accepting Visa. You can reload the card if your daughter should run out of money (what are the odds!?). You can register the card online and keep track of the draw-down as well. They have excellent customer service -- the first time I send my daughter to Spain with a travel card, she couldn't use it at first. We hadn't properly activated it before she left. It was a breeze to get it settled through customer service though. For a travel card, or a debit card, make sure it works before she leaves!
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May 23rd, 2011, 11:38 AM
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The VISA (and other) gift cards are a rip-off, whether from AAA or anywhere else. Get her an ATM card in both your names. You can easily keep track of that online, too, and it's the least expensive of all the options.
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May 23rd, 2011, 12:09 PM
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I endorse the idea of an ATM card. However, have it linked to an account with a limited balance -- whatever you feel comfortable with.

The idea of a 17-year-old with an ATM linked to an account with a lot of cash would make me uncomfortable. Ditto with a credit card.

I guess you'll have to decide what limit you're comfortable with.
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May 23rd, 2011, 12:16 PM
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Won't she be gong to college next year? How is she supposed to do that without a checking account and an ATM card? Simply open one now - so she can access the cash she needs in the simplest way at the least cost.

(Our daughters got checking accounts/ATM cards the year before they went to college so they got used to using them and had established a pattern for the bank before they went to school. Every "kid" should have this - as part of learning how to manage money.)
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May 23rd, 2011, 01:48 PM
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Make sure there is no overdraft privileges on the account as you don't want to give access to any other accounts. You also need to notify the bank and credit card that she is traveling so they won't freeze the account/card. Her ATM card needs to have a four number pin.
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May 23rd, 2011, 01:59 PM
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Make sure you have her notify her bank where her new account is located that she will be traveling in Europe and the dates. Otherwise the card could be frozen.
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May 23rd, 2011, 06:38 PM
  #13
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Thanks for all the great responses. Have already checked with my bank and they tell me we can open the account and get the ATM card the same day. As many have already mentioned, this will be great practice for when she leaves for college.
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May 23rd, 2011, 10:26 PM
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You need a checkings account.

While I have read accounts of people who state they got money from a U.S. savings account at European ATMs, many, including myself, had not been able to get funds from savings account.
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