Child travelling overseas

Our child 16 years old is travelling to Europe with 20-30 other students from his high school for 12 days on a foreign exchange trip. We wanted to gather any urgent or last minute information that we should consider. The couple questions I have:

Communication (he has an iphone 15)

  • Do I need a SIM card in order to get a hold of him while overseas
  • Can I contact our wireless provider to “enable” us to talk for the 12 days he is out of the country
  • I know there are apps that let you communicate via texting and/or video, but we would rather have the option to get a hold of him in an emergency (or vice versa)

Any other advice would be appreciated.

Concerned parents

Does he have a passport and is he fully up to date on immunizations?

Thank you for your response. Yes, he has a passport, but we were not notified about immunizations. I assume the immunization requirements are the same criteria as his high school. The teacher organizing this trip has done it for the past 16+ years.

Might be a good idea to check with his primary care doctor to see if they recommend anything as it relates to immunizations.

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We did this for our kid who went to Italy and Australia recently. My husband went online at T-Mobile and paid $50 for their international data pass that gave her 30 days of 15G and unlimited calling (and face-timing). We set the start date based on her flight schedule. Didn’t need the 30 days but the next lower option was 10 days and that wasn’t enough. There are data limits, so you have to watch how long you talk and don’t go over the limit. Same SIM card, same phone, didn’t have to change anything there.

I hope your son has fun!

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Will do - great suggestion!

A visa from ETIAS is needed… not sure when it starts but take a look

ETIAS - European Union (

oh wait, not until 2025.

where are they going?

they can get a sim card at the airport where they land and get a much better deal on data only

Hey Lisa,

That is a great idea. I hope Verizon has something similar.

As far as money, we were planning on sending him with both american dollars and euros. He has a credit card linked to ours (which he could use in an emergency). Do you have any thoughts on using cash vs. credit cards while overseas?

Should we get him a separate credit card and/or debit card? I always thought debit cards were more risky (in case they are stolen/compromised). This question really applies for any situation (not just overseas travel).


They leave June/July 2024

i apologize, I don’t know much about SIM cards / travelling internationally.

Can we (or our child) install the SIM card ourself? if we go the SIM card route, I assume we have to notify our carrier in order to “activate” the SIM card? What costs are associated with that (1) voice and (2) data?

I can call our carrier.

When your child arrives in Europe many of the convenience stores in the airports will sell prepaid sim cards. Or train stations, city centres. They have to install themselves.

It’s prepaid data. 6 GB for $20? Something like that. If they search on Reddit people will tell them which terminal in which airport in which city to get the best deal!

Pack them a plastic bag and a paper clip so they can remove the card from the sled and have a place to keep their USA card.

If the phone is eSim capable you don’t need to do this. It can be loaded from an EU carrier right now, that is my understanding.

Don’t involve the US carrier in any of this you will overpay.

My kid is older (now in grad school) and has her own bank acct & credit card. What annoyed her was the foreign transaction fees every time she used her credit card. So maybe your son should use cash for souvenirs & snacks and save the credit card for bigger costs. See what the teachers/program suggest. They might want the kids to bring their own cash to minimize trips to ATMs.

Beware that some countries don’t use Euros: UK, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, etc.

It’s always a ripoff to buy foreign currency here in the US.

Airport ATM in the country. Some European countries barely use money any longer. I’ve never spent my Kroner in Norway everything got put on the card. This was ten years ago, too.

Be sure to set travel alerts for all credit and debit cards online describing dates of travel and countries.

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