Do you, or someone you know personally, have a ZERO credit score like Dave Ramsey talks about? - Page 6 - Mothering Forums
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#151 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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I don't know if I just lived in a different dimension, but I've traveled to Europe using American Express Traveler's Checks, and don't recall them being a problem at all. I was 19 at the time, a little older than 16 but not by much - and I was on my own, not with a tour group helping me out. For sure, my memories of Eastern Europe are all about the trip, and not at all about the traveler's checks (heck, I almost don't remember anything at all about using them other than how fancy they looked). I'm really trying to figure out exactly what is such a major hassle that one would actually feel sorry for a girl going on a trip to Europe and having traveler's checks. That's just really a strong way of wording it, and I don't think it's called for.


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#152 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 02:43 PM
 
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I don't think traveler's checks will be a problem; even though there will be places that don't accept them (certain restaurants, for example), as long as there are banks, she can cash them there. That is what we have done: write out traveler's checks to a bank, and gotten cash for food, etc.

The pre-paid visa is a great idea; however, I don't see how that is much different than a debit card with a visa logo (for those who travel but don't have credit cards). They are ran the same way, I assume.

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#153 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 03:21 PM
 
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When was this?  I too traveled as a teen and young adult and that was in the eighties and early 90's.  TC were an accepted mode of payment.  However I can attest that in the last 10-15 years they have become more and more obsolete.  Heck- last year in Barbados I witnessed 2 American tourists have to go back to cruise ship and exchange their TC their and you can use US currency on the island!  The service fee was 25% so they (intelligently) decided to go back and get cash where the the fee was 5% to cash them. Needless to say they were pissed- they had left their CC on the ship so they wouldn't lose them. 

 

I also think velo has valid point- Has the OP actually asked her daughter what she wants and explained the options?  If she has funded a large chunk of her trip and has worked hard for some spending money I wonder how she will feel about throwing a large amount of her hard earned cash away on service fees and/or the disappointment of not being able to buy a treasured memento because the place doesn't take TC. She could easily take a portion of her  hard earned cash and apply it to prepaid Visa card. No credit check needed. 
 

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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I don't know if I just lived in a different dimension, but I've traveled to Europe using American Express Traveler's Checks, and don't recall them being a problem at all. I was 19 at the time, a little older than 16 but not by much - and I was on my own, not with a tour group helping me out. For sure, my memories of Eastern Europe are all about the trip, and not at all about the traveler's checks (heck, I almost don't remember anything at all about using them other than how fancy they looked). I'm really trying to figure out exactly what is such a major hassle that one would actually feel sorry for a girl going on a trip to Europe and having traveler's checks. That's just really a strong way of wording it, and I don't think it's called for.



 


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#154 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 03:47 PM
 
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It was in the 90's that I used traveler's checks. It's possible things have changed, I don't know. I still think it's over the top to feel "sorry" for a kid having traveler's checks. Advice is one thing, and I don't claim to know everything about money and traveling, but false pity like this isn't helping anyone, just driving wedges.


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#155 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 03:52 PM
 
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Originally Posted by laohaire View Post

I don't know if I just lived in a different dimension, but I've traveled to Europe using American Express Traveler's Checks, and don't recall them being a problem at all. I was 19 at the time, a little older than 16 but not by much - and I was on my own, not with a tour group helping me out. For sure, my memories of Eastern Europe are all about the trip, and not at all about the traveler's checks (heck, I almost don't remember anything at all about using them other than how fancy they looked). I'm really trying to figure out exactly what is such a major hassle that one would actually feel sorry for a girl going on a trip to Europe and having traveler's checks. That's just really a strong way of wording it, and I don't think it's called for.


ETA: read you other post and now know you were there in the 90's.  A lot has changed since then and "90's" could mean 20 years or it could mean 11 years.  Depending on that, it's probably changed a lot more even. My mother visited us in 2005 when we lived in Germany and it was nearly IMPOSSIBLE to use traveler's checks except to go to the AmEx office and cash them.  When she did use them, they hit her with a hefty fee.  If this girl is paying with her own money and her mother is forcing her to use a means of currency that is going to cost her in fees and hardship, then yes, I feel sorry for her because I think even at 15 a person should have some say in the matter when it come to their money.  And I didn't say I "pity" her. 

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#156 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 04:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post

I don't think traveler's checks will be a problem; even though there will be places that don't accept them (certain restaurants, for example), as long as there are banks, she can cash them there. That is what we have done: write out traveler's checks to a bank, and gotten cash for food, etc.

The pre-paid visa is a great idea; however, I don't see how that is much different than a debit card with a visa logo (for those who travel but don't have credit cards). They are ran the same way, I assume.


I have done all the things being discussed here (traveled underage, with traveler's checks, with a tour group). Realistically, if this is a multi-city tour - getting into a bank is going to be a challenge. The tours are very packed, and banks keep bank hours. When you are tied to 24 other people it is hard to pop off to the bank. Heck it is hard to even pop off at the souvenir stand. It's not going to be impossible, but it will require researching what banks are going to be nearby to their POIs and then having a good relationship with at least one of the chaperones. While there are ATMs sprinkled everywhere these days, actual banks don't tend to be near tourist attractions. If this is the plan, some of this research should be done now to help her find out which banks have the most favorable fees, and which are located closest to the hotels they'll be staying in and the attractions they will be visiting.

 

Another possibility to look into is whether or not the tour company itself has TC cashing service. Some do, for a high fee, and it might not be available on a daily basis. Sometimes it is only available at the beginning of the trip.

 

It can be done. Especially if she cashes enough for 2-3 days at a time (at least $100). If you know any of the other parents that are chaperoning, you might want to enlist their help ahead of time.

 

If other people, who don't mind the use of credit cards want to travel to Europe you can purchase prepaid CC in Euros - locking in your rate, and avoiding transaction fees.

 

 

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#157 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 04:22 PM
 
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I have done all the things being discussed here (traveled underage, with traveler's checks, with a tour group). Realistically, if this is a multi-city tour - getting into a bank is going to be a challenge. The tours are very packed, and banks keep bank hours. When you are tied to 24 other people it is hard to pop off to the bank. Heck it is hard to even pop off at the souvenir stand. It's not going to be impossible, but it will require researching what banks are going to be nearby to their POIs and then having a good relationship with at least one of the chaperones. While there are ATMs sprinkled everywhere these days, actual banks don't tend to be near tourist attractions. If this is the plan, some of this research should be done now to help her find out which banks have the most favorable fees, and which are located closest to the hotels they'll be staying in and the attractions they will be visiting.

 

Another possibility to look into is whether or not the tour company itself has TC cashing service. Some do, for a high fee, and it might not be available on a daily basis. Sometimes it is only available at the beginning of the trip.

 

It can be done. Especially if she cashes enough for 2-3 days at a time (at least $100). If you know any of the other parents that are chaperoning, you might want to enlist their help ahead of time.

 

If other people, who don't mind the use of credit cards want to travel to Europe you can purchase prepaid CC in Euros - locking in your rate, and avoiding transaction fees.

 

 



Good point about traveling in a group.  That makes sense that it would be hard to stop the tour and drop by a bank just for one person.  I'd probably make sure my kid had access to cash, traveler's checks, and a pre-paid visa - but if my family didn't have credit cards, as it is now, I doubt I would apply for one just for my teen to travel abroad.  Who knows by then, though, I may be open to it in the years to come. Good to know there are prepaid Euro CC's.


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#158 of 172 Old 03-28-2011, 05:10 PM
 
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I have done all the things being discussed here (traveled underage, with traveler's checks, with a tour group). Realistically, if this is a multi-city tour - getting into a bank is going to be a challenge. The tours are very packed, and banks keep bank hours. When you are tied to 24 other people it is hard to pop off to the bank. Heck it is hard to even pop off at the souvenir stand. It's not going to be impossible, but it will require researching what banks are going to be nearby to their POIs and then having a good relationship with at least one of the chaperones. While there are ATMs sprinkled everywhere these days, actual banks don't tend to be near tourist attractions. If this is the plan, some of this research should be done now to help her find out which banks have the most favorable fees, and which are located closest to the hotels they'll be staying in and the attractions they will be visiting.

 

Another possibility to look into is whether or not the tour company itself has TC cashing service. Some do, for a high fee, and it might not be available on a daily basis. Sometimes it is only available at the beginning of the trip.

 

It can be done. Especially if she cashes enough for 2-3 days at a time (at least $100). If you know any of the other parents that are chaperoning, you might want to enlist their help ahead of time.

 

If other people, who don't mind the use of credit cards want to travel to Europe you can purchase prepaid CC in Euros - locking in your rate, and avoiding transaction fees.

 

 


 

You've made some really great points.  I think that if the DD will use TC as a main form of payment it will be worth it to contact the hotels she'll be staying at to find out if they offer TC cashing services on site.  That would probably be the easiest solution. 

 

Have you discussed this with any of the other parents or chaperones?  How are others handling the issue?  If she is the only one with TC to cash she will have a harder time (breaking away from the group, timing, etc) than if several need the service.  And if she is the only one, as a chaperone I would be a bit annoyed at having to be responsible for finding cashing options if you haven't done your homework in advance.  I'd probably end up taking them and giving the girl cash just for convenience and cashing the darn things when I got home.

 

And yeah, you can get a credit card replaced in 24 hours in a major city.  Even my small bank will overnight a replacement VISA debit card if needed.  But the thing is, you can talk your way into a hotel with the cc number and letting the front desk or concierge call the cc company for authorization of the charge.  You can't do that with cash or TC.

 

HappySmilieLady, I kow you don't agree with a lot of what is being said.  However, I hope you take some time to think about the logistics of overseas travel and discuss the options with your DD as well as the chaperones so that you are all on the same page and know what to expect in regards to TC.  Some of the posters here have made some very good points that deserve consideration.

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#159 of 172 Old 03-29-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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OK. I think I might have missed something here, but why can't the daughter just travel with her normal bank ATM card. As long as it has the maestro or cirrus logo on it then you can use it anywhere in the world. I have travelled extensively and have never had a problem. In fact, I've never come across an ATM that wouldn't take it. Though you might want to change your PIN to a 4 digit one if it is longer because French machines didn't like my mum's 6 digit pin.

 

Traveller's Cheques really are a relic.


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#160 of 172 Old 03-29-2011, 03:17 PM
 
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 And if she is the only one, as a chaperone I would be a bit annoyed at having to be responsible for finding cashing options if you haven't done your homework in advance.  I'd probably end up taking them and giving the girl cash just for convenience and cashing the darn things when I got home.

 

I see this concern as a pretty big one, tbh. If some of the chaperones have traveled extensively, it might be okay, but I'd imagine many of the parents are excited about the trip, too. Now, someone has to go with this one child to find a bank every couple of days, assuming the hotel won't cash them. That has so much potential to make your daughter an inconvenience, and really, I don't think that's fair to either her or the chaperone.
 

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OK. I think I might have missed something here, but why can't the daughter just travel with her normal bank ATM card. As long as it has the maestro or cirrus logo on it then you can use it anywhere in the world. I have travelled extensively and have never had a problem. In fact, I've never come across an ATM that wouldn't take it. Though you might want to change your PIN to a 4 digit one if it is longer because French machines didn't like my mum's 6 digit pin.

 

Traveller's Cheques really are a relic.

The OP's daughter doesn't have a checking account. OP keeps saying "if we get one before then," so apparently there's some hold up in getting one. I agree, though, that it would be a simple solution to the problem.
 

 


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#161 of 172 Old 03-30-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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I see this concern as a pretty big one, tbh. If some of the chaperones have traveled extensively, it might be okay, but I'd imagine many of the parents are excited about the trip, too. Now, someone has to go with this one child to find a bank every couple of days, assuming the hotel won't cash them. That has so much potential to make your daughter an inconvenience, and really, I don't think that's fair to either her or the chaperone.
 

The OP's daughter doesn't have a checking account. OP keeps saying "if we get one before then," so apparently there's some hold up in getting one. I agree, though, that it would be a simple solution to the problem.
 

 


What hold up could there possibly be? It takes minutes to open one. I was even able to open one when I was a foreign student in the US (and therefore more of a terrorist risk, I suppose, LOL).

 


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#162 of 172 Old 03-30-2011, 08:53 PM
 
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Wow, I am really kinda surprised that so many people are so adamant that travellers checks are the debil! 

 

The reality is that I am not so much against anything mentioned other than giving a teenager a credit card, ESPECIALLY since this trip is like 12 days.  I have no issues with prepaid cards or debit cards or any of that.  Why doesn't she have a checking account yet?  Well, it's never come up before.  Really.  She just pays cash for everything and she's never asked for a checking account or debit card.  It's actually something that's only just occured to me that she might benefit from since she turned 15 in December, but honestly it's just not been top priority.  There's not been a need.  Nothing more than that.  We have been a little more focused on issues getting her passport and getting signatures from the other person on the birth certificate.

 

I just don't think traveller's checks are so evil and awful just because others find credit cards to be easier.  And the fact that they can be replaced in 24 hours if lost is a big deal.  I don't know who said their bank overnights a debit card...mine doesn't, I know from experience.  And I have a hard time imagining any bank internationally overnighting a debit card for free out of the goodness of their hearts. 

 

 

 

Really, we are talking about travellers checks, not self printed currency or something.  And I am not talking about trying to use the travellers check at a merchant....crap it was difficult to do that 15 years ago with them.  Just keeping the cash for later in the trip in that form at the beginning of the trip, to be cashed at a later time, to hedge against losing them. 

 

 

 

 

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#163 of 172 Old 03-30-2011, 09:03 PM
 
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And I aplogize I totally didn't mean to draw this thread so far off topic.  Just meant to show that there are other options for international travel besides the almighty credit gods.

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#164 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 04:59 AM
 
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I actually think, happysmileylady, that your situation is absolutely on topic.  The topic is about utilizing credit and your dd is a perfect example where it makes sense, but because of your rabid aversion, she is likely going to be the one that will "pay" the price.  This, IME, is an example where people who refuse to utilize credit responsibly (*not debt... this is not about spending money you don't have, but the means of spending money you do*) hurt themselves in the end because of a distorted mindset about not using cash.  Many people here have told you the following things:

 

- it will be difficult to cash the traveler's checks

- she will pay a hefty fee to use them

- they are not widely accepted anymore

- she will have to cash them at banks (and in Europe they can be hard to find and are open odd hours)

- she will have to separate from her group to get cash frequently and have a chaperon along

- she's probably going to figure out that it's best to just cash them all in at once and keep the cash handy, anyway

- other forms of currency can also be replaced quickly

- traveler's checks are not necessarily replaced in 24 hours.  It can take up to 3 days

- the chaperons will have to deal with the issues, not you

 

I cannot wrap my head around why you are so opposed to using something like a pre-paid visa - it's no different than using a traveler's check, except it's accepted almost everywhere!  You said that your dd was the most responsible 15 year old you know.  You said she is responsible with money.  Why do you insist that she is going to lose her money when she's over there, then?  That seems to be your one and only reason for using traveler's checks - they can be replaced.  If she's so responsible, she can be trusted with a debit card or pre-paid visa.  Let her decide.

 

ETA:  I just got off the phone with another parent from dd's school.  (She attends an International language-immersion school.)  My friend's son is about to go on the 5th grade trip abroad with the class.  When I asked my friend about traveler's checks, she said that they are not allowed to bring them because of the difficulty using them and the time that it takes just to convert to cash.  You might want to first check if she is even allowed to bring them.

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#165 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 06:07 AM
 
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.... I don't know who said their bank overnights a debit card...mine doesn't, I know from experience.  And I have a hard time imagining any bank internationally overnighting a debit card for free out of the goodness of their hearts. ..... 


 

That was me.  My debit card was accidentally cancelled because the bank sent it to my old address and it was returned.  I had just moved and hadn't filled out the change of address yet.  It was declined at my vet's before I knew there was a problem.  Bad timing all around.

 

My bank talked to my vet's office on the phone to apologize and explained it was not my fault.  They had a new ATM card if I wanted to come pick it up that day and overnighted a new debit card at their expense.

 

Our main bank is a small, privately owned bank.  Sometimes it pays to not use a huge corporation sometimes because you do get personal service.  I have no doubt that if a situation came up on vacation they would get a new card to us ASAP.  We would incur a shipping charge but really, that cost is justified to have access to money if something happened.  But, again, I'd contact AMEX first because I think they'd respond quicker, especially after hours and/or out of the country.
 

 

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#166 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 06:28 AM
 
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I cannot wrap my head around why you are so opposed to using something like a pre-paid visa - it's no different than using a traveler's check, except it's accepted almost everywhere!  You said that your dd was the most responsible 15 year old you know.  You said she is responsible with money.  Why do you insist that she is going to lose her money when she's over there, then?  That seems to be your one and only reason for using traveler's checks - they can be replaced.  If she's so responsible, she can be trusted with a debit card or pre-paid visa.  Let her decide.

 

ETA:  I just got off the phone with another parent from dd's school.  (She attends an International language-immersion school.)  My friend's son is about to go on the 5th grade trip abroad with the class.  When I asked my friend about traveler's checks, she said that they are not allowed to bring them because of the difficulty using them and the time that it takes just to convert to cash.  You might want to first check if she is even allowed to bring them.



Actually if you had read the post

 

 

 

 

Quote:

The reality is that I am not so much against anything mentioned other than giving a teenager a credit card, ESPECIALLY since this trip is like 12 days.  I have no issues with prepaid cards or debit cards or any of that

 

I genuinely don't have issues with prepaid cards.  Or debit cards.  That is mostly what I have used when I have traveled.  I was actually in Nassau Bahamas on 9/11/01.  Without a credit card even.  And I still managed to make it home without accruing debt.

 

And in actuallity, I am not nearly so pro travellers checks as others here seem to be so rabidly adament that they are the DEBIL!  I mean really, somone posted that they felt sorry that a 15 year old who is traveling to Spain, France and Italy for the first time, and going on vacation without mom and dad for the first time, because while on that trip she would have to deal with the (in reality minor) inconvience of having to cash a travelers check a few times in 12 days.  Go ahead and pity her, I am sure she will have a good time regardless.  Its a travelers check, not counterfit cash. 

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#167 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 06:35 AM
 
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That was me that said that.  I don't pity her and I never said that.  I feel sorry for the situation she'll be in if you force her to use traveler's checks.  It's not going to be a *minor* inconvenience and it's not going to inconvenience only her, but her chaperons as well.  It is going to cost her a lot more money because you insist that she uses them.  This is based on experience, not supposition.   I hope you do let her have a debit card or pre-paid visa.  Make sure the pre-paid visa does not state that it can be used domestically only.  There are pre-paid visas that state "for use in the United States only".  Be careful of that.

 

I don't know what "debil" means that you are talking about in your posts, so I'm kind of confused about what your point is there.
 

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I mean really, somone posted that they felt sorry that a 15 year old who is traveling to Spain, France and Italy for the first time, and going on vacation without mom and dad for the first time, because while on that trip she would have to deal with the (in reality minor) inconvience of having to cash a travelers check a few times in 12 days.  Go ahead and pity her, I am sure she will have a good time regardless.  Its a travelers check, not counterfit cash. 



 

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#168 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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Sorry and pity are synonyms.  Feeling sorry for someone is just like feeling pity for them. 

 

Sorry for the confusion.  Debil is a slang term for devil/evil. 

 



 

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That was me that said that.  I don't pity her and I never said that.  I feel sorry for the situation she'll be in if you force her to use traveler's checks.  It's not going to be a *minor* inconvenience and it's not going to inconvenience only her, but her chaperons as well.  It is going to cost her a lot more money because you insist that she uses them.  This is based on experience, not supposition.   I hope you do let her have a debit card or pre-paid visa.  Make sure the pre-paid visa does not state that it can be used domestically only.  There are pre-paid visas that state "for use in the United States only".  Be careful of that.

 

I don't know what "debil" means that you are talking about in your posts, so I'm kind of confused about what your point is there.
 



 



 

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#169 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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Sorry and pity are synonyms.  Feeling sorry for someone is just like feeling pity for them. 

 

Sorry for the confusion.  Debil is a slang term for devil/evil. 

 

Debil is slang for "moronic", actually.

 

If you want to split hairs, then you can say "pity" if you want.  That's fine by me, although I think it doesn't explain what I was saying.  It doesn't matter.  I just wouldn't want to be in your dd's shoes when she goes on this trip... an particularly I wouldn't want to be in her chaperon's shoes.  Ultimately, it's your decision and it looks like nothing will change your mind, so best of luck to your dd on her trip.  I do hope things work out OK for her.

 

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#170 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 12:24 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by happysmileylady View Post

I genuinely don't have issues with prepaid cards.  Or debit cards.  That is mostly what I have used when I have traveled.  I was actually in Nassau Bahamas on 9/11/01.  Without a credit card even.  And I still managed to make it home without accruing debt.

 

And in actuallity, I am not nearly so pro travellers checks as others here seem to be so rabidly adament that they are the DEBIL!  I mean really, somone posted that they felt sorry that a 15 year old who is traveling to Spain, France and Italy for the first time, and going on vacation without mom and dad for the first time, because while on that trip she would have to deal with the (in reality minor) inconvience of having to cash a travelers check a few times in 12 days.  Go ahead and pity her, I am sure she will have a good time regardless.  Its a travelers check, not counterfit cash. 


happysmilylady - when was the last time you travelled internationally using traveller's cheques? For me it was 1994 or so and it was a PITA. In the *extensive* international travelling I have done since then, I cannot imagine having try and cash them.

 

I don't think anyone is suggesting your DD sign up for a 'real' credit card, possibly getting herself into debt. I think the suggestion of a CC is for emergency purposes only. Like a real emergency. My colleague happened to be in Japan during the earthquake and needed to get cash fast.

 

As I see it, here are your DD's realistic options:

 

- Take cash only, stashing most in a money belt to be worn at all times.

- Take a mix of cash and a prepaid debit card/ prepaid credit card - the cards to be used for larger purchases if there are any.

 

I don't think you need worry too much about emergencies as she is being chaperoned and presumably if there was some sort of problem they will be able to take care of it.

 

I think the biggest worry is her being separated from the group somehow and having some *ready* cash to pay for a (possibly very expensive) taxi ride back to where she is staying. If she had traveller's cheques she would have to find somewhere to cash them (very difficult as numerous posters have stated - what if the banks aren't open or are closed for lunch [yes this DOES happen]) and then find a cab.

 

 

 

 

 


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#171 of 172 Old 03-31-2011, 01:39 PM
 
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its less than 2 weeks. i'm sure she will be fine without a cc. honestly if the chaperon has an issue with helping the minor than maybe they shouldn't be going?


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#172 of 172 Old 04-01-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lookatreestar View Post

its less than 2 weeks. i'm sure she will be fine without a cc. honestly if the chaperon has an issue with helping the minor than maybe they shouldn't be going?



This isn't really the issue.  The issue is whether it's a wise use of credit (not incurring debt) to equip a minor child, travelling in a foreign country, with a form of "currency" that is easily accessible, most likely accepted quickly and without question, and provides a measure a safety, versus equipping the child with a more cumbersome, less than easily utilized form of "currency", and one that would be potentially problematic to use during the occassion of an emergency, because...well, the reasons aren't clear, but possibly philosophical, personal views of the use of credit.

 

 

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