Todayâ€™s teenagers travelling abroad have many more tools available than the backpacking generations that came before. Countless apps can keep them from getting lost, getting on the wrong train or saying the wrong thing in foreign language. Parents rest a little easier when their young adult children wander off into the wilderness. Before you send them off on teen tours in the wild blue, make sure they have the tools they need.
Mobile Phone Travel Basics
It starts with checking on your phone’s service plan. Some plans charge per kilobyte and will run up a bill into the tens of thousands if you do not configure your plan for international use. When you ask your phone provider about their options, read the fine print.
AT&Tâ€™s International Calling Plan only includes some countries and caps you at 20MB of data use. Most pictures and videos are at least 2MB, so you would run through that very quickly if you were depending on your apps abroad. To safeguard yourself against piling on obscene fees, ask a rep to give you the steps you need to shut off your network service on your device and only access your email from hotel or cafÃ© internet services. You can use all your apps and make Skype phone calls through whatever Wi-Fi is available. You can easily reconnect to your network whenever you would like.
Four Apps for Teen Travelers
Find-ER by Air Ambulance Card
When you arrive in an unfamiliar place, it’s smart to know what to do and where to go should an emergency arise. That’s where Find-ER by Air Ambulance Card comes in. This free iPhone app lets you see where nearby hospitals are on the map and gives you a place to store all your emergency contacts… quite handy when you are thousands of miles from home.
The Lonely Planet
Think of this app as having a local insider in your phone. It gives you more than just maps. It also gives details on local favorites, great secret spots and area travel tips. You can use your city guide offline by downloading it to your phone and not worry about staying near an open Wi-Fi signal. It can also give you directions back to your point of origin. If you cannot speak the local language and need directions, this app is a lifesaver.
The Rail Europe app
This app is just what it sounds like. This digital rail guide enables users to find the train routes they need and book their seats right from their iPhone. It uses geo-location to suggest extra trips that are along the way and enhance your travelling experience. It even goes as far as calculating time and distance to give you realistic options for your adventures. It currently uses over 35 railroads, which makes it a great choice for traveling throughout most of Europe.
If one of the things that are keeping you from letting your teenager from travelling is worrying about not knowing where they are, you will both love this app. It shares geographic location by pinging the user on a map, letting others know exactly where to find him or her. You can choose who can see your location and it works in close to real time. Glympse provides peace of mind for people travelling alone and helps people find one another in huge public spaces.
AdventuresCrossCountry.com has been helping teens find travel opportunities for 29 years. Visit the site for information and tips on teen travel abroad.