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View Full Version : Best travel money for 2 teens on a HS band trip


Gerweniel
01-23-2010, 07:44 AM
Hoping to get some suggestions for traveling & meal money for my 17 y/o and 15 y/o traveling to WDW in March with their band. They will be on a 24 hour bus trip to & from Disney, then 4 days at the parks. They will have to pay for all their meals, so there will be a lot of money involved. This will be their 1st trip of this magnitude alone. We've always toured the parks together and I have always carried a mixture of cash, traveler's checks & plastic.

I am concerned that if I give them cash, it will end up lost or their wallets forgotten. Traveler's checks require and ID to cash them and my older son does not have a license yet. Has any fellow DISer's sent their kids with the traveler's ATM cards? Prepaid debit cards?

As a side note, I will be flying there to watch their band performance, but will be staying at a different resort and allowing them to do their own thing.

Any ideas?

momofrrr
01-23-2010, 09:22 AM
I think I would go with the prepaid credit cards or even Disney Gift Cards. I gave those to our kids as stocking stuffers this year and they loved using them. I would probably also send a certain amount of cash and just be sure that they understand how much they have so that they can budget their day. I hope they have a great time. Our band is going to Chicago for their trip this year, in MARCH!!!! We don't do cold very well

jenn-n-okla
01-23-2010, 10:41 AM
I would plan on at least $30/day/kid. I think the pre-paid visa along with some cash is a good plan. AND since you are going to be around there too, it might be a good idea to hook up with them mid trip and give them the second half of their money. Give them enough for half the trip and then mid trip give them the second half. Remind them that there is a good possibility there will be a safe in their room to hide their cash each day. That way they only take what they will need each day and not have the horrible possible reality of loosing it all at once.
I have been on trips at spring break with 60 kids before and that is what we would tell the kids and parents. But as sponsors we also had the kids pay extra for their trip so that spending money was included. We would give them $10 each day in Disney Dollars so that should they loose or not get enough from parents they had at least enough for one meal. Of course that was in the 90's and not in todays outragous priced economy.
I would suggest them taking some prepacked snacks along with them in a backpack each day too. Food really adds up in Disney if you are not on the dining plan.

Gerweniel
01-23-2010, 01:58 PM
Thanks for the replies. The idea of meeting up with them is a good one :lmao:, but I doubt they'll agree. I had not thought of the Disney card idea. Do you know if they are replaceable if lost or stolen?

$30.00 per boy/day was what I was budgeting. The idea of loading cash and cards into one wallet and have it suddenly go missing scares me. We are scraping change together for this trip as it is!

I had hoped the trip organizers were adding at least quick service dining options, but it didn't pan out.

Hannathy
01-23-2010, 02:39 PM
My sister takes her band every other year so has learned a lot of tricks! One thing they do because they have a long bus ride and the kids are responsible for their own food also, is have all the parents put money say $20 in an envelope with their name on it and then she or another leader KEEPS these envelopes until they get on the bus to go home! This way every child has money to buy food because before they would always have a few who had spent all their money and couldn't buy food on the way home. They collect them at the last parent meeting. You may want to pass this suggestion onto your band director.

MSSANDRA
01-23-2010, 03:37 PM
I love the idea of giving the band leader the 20.00. If they do not do that you might have your child do that and put it in the suit case.

I would do a combination of things. I like the idea of a pre-paid debit type card or a disney gift card. Maybe even opening them some type of account and getting a card for that. It so depends on how responsible they are. A littel case is important too!

I really am not sure however that 30.00 is quite enough. Counter service meals can be around 8.00 and teens tend to snack, they need water...That really leave very little play room. I would however have no problem with asking them to use some of there own money. If the card is attached to an account, you could deposit money in case of an emergancy. I would not count on taking the money down just in case something comes up and you would not make it.

It a big step letting kids go on a trip this long.

ncmickeyluvr
01-23-2010, 05:26 PM
I've been on many WDW band trips...both as student and staff. One of my favorite trips was a few years ago. The band president actually added $20 a day per student into the price of the trip. He then got each student a $20 gc for each day of the trip and handed them out every morning at breakfast. It worked great and it eased his mind that the students whose parents didn't come along wouldn't spend all of their money on the first day and then starve.....goodness that sentence was too long!

Tinker'n'Fun
01-23-2010, 07:19 PM
Speak to the band director. We have been on many trips. Each parent is required to put a "days" worth of money in an envelope with the day. Say Monday - Jill Jones. In the morning each child gets there envelope. If they spend it all, so be it, if not they have more for the next day. Go to allears.net and guesstimate how much your child will need for food. The envelopes for the other days are kept in the safe at the hotel. Works well and we have over 150 girls. Your kids should know what meals and which park they will be at prior to the trip so budgeting should be easier this way.

disfan07
01-23-2010, 07:35 PM
The usual for when I was on band trips was that we all had a combination of cash and a debit card.
Thats what I did. I had my own debit card in high school so my mom just added money to my checking account. I think I only took about $50 in cash and My mom put $500 on my debit card for a 4 day trip.

Our band directors would not take money for any of the kids. It was the kids responsibility to keep their money. Neither the chaperones or band directors would keep money and I understand why. In high school, it should be the kids responsibility. I'm kind of surprised that so many band directors take responsibility for the kids money.

Gerweniel
01-23-2010, 08:04 PM
Great suggestions one and all. I don't think the band director & chaperones will be willing to handle money for the students, but I love the idea of the envelope for the trip back.

I agree the boys need to become responsible, but I can see it now, a few turkey legs here & there, some dole whips and mickey bars and they'll be blowing through cash like water. I also may have to revisit the $30.00 per boy/per day, but they'll need to learn restraint also.

For the bus ride down, I'm planning to load up a small collapsible cooler with PB&J's, pretzels, Capri Suns etc. We're looking at the menus on AllEars for the CS places, but even with all my planning, realistically, they'll more than likely end up eating when they are hungry, wherever they are closest to.

I think I will send them with some cash, and order a traveler's Visa debit card from AAA and some Disney Gift cards. Hopefully, they'll keep them in separate areas & the room safe. As much as I want to take care of all the details, I need to let them go and grow.

Thanks for the input!

seashoreCM
01-23-2010, 08:12 PM
Do you have a credit card account that allows multiple cards?

Then have credit cards on your account issued to your kids.

These are not for everyday use; you give your kids the cards for trips only and collect the cards when your kids get back home. To keep the cards from going dormant you might also let your kids use them at least twice a year, for example charge one item in June and one item in December.

The purpose of doing this is to be able to cancel a card if it gets lost or stolen.

MSSANDRA
01-24-2010, 06:39 AM
Do you have a credit card account that allows multiple cards?

Then have credit cards on your account issued to your kids.

These are not for everyday use; you give your kids the cards for trips only and collect the cards when your kids get back home. To keep the cards from going dormant you might also let your kids use them at least twice a year, for example charge one item in June and one item in December.

The purpose of doing this is to be able to cancel a card if it gets lost or stolen.


This is what we have been considreing for our 17 year old on a day to day basis. He is a very dependable 17 year old that by mutual agreement does not have an income. If we say you may only use the card for gas, food when out and about or whatever, that is what he will do. The concern however is if it is lost, your account, which may be much higher that the 500 or so you put in one for the trip, is at risk. Of course you can close that account but depending on your bank, there may still be a loss.

Just something to think about.
We have done prepaid visa's for him and it worked well. We are also looking at opening him his own account and deposit him some money when he needs it and then when he has a job, it is aready in place.

msmayor
01-24-2010, 07:15 AM
My daughter has carried a debit card from USAA that is specifically targeted for teens...it is re-loadable from my bank account, and everything is done on-line.

When she went to WDW for her senior trip, I put a set amount of money on the card for her meals. She had no trouble using it and also had the ability (with a PIN) to make cash withdrawals from an ATM if need be.

What I really love about the card is that if lost or stolen, I DON'T have to worry about losing the money on the card. As long as its reported on a timely basis, fraud charges are reversed. There's virtually no risk to losing the funds.

In addition, if the card is running low on funds, she can call me and ask me to transfer the money...and it is IMMEDIATE. She could be standing on line to pay for something knowing there isn't enough...call me, I hop on the computer and order the transfer and its done. She can pay for her items.

This card has worked particularly well now that she is in college. She has her own debit card attached to her own account that she uses for most everything, but when an expense comes up that we agreed to pay for, I just put the money on her USAA debit card and she uses that.

One final "safety" feature of the card: even if there is $0 money on the card, she is allowed to charge up to $10 of gas from a regular station. This is to ensure that in an emergency, if she's trying to get home and needs gas, she can at least put some in her tank without worrying about whether she has money.

kellyg403
01-24-2010, 07:24 AM
My daughter has carried a debit card from USAA that is specifically targeted for teens...it is re-loadable from my bank account, and everything is done on-line.

When she went to WDW for her senior trip, I put a set amount of money on the card for her meals. She had no trouble using it and also had the ability (with a PIN) to make cash withdrawals from an ATM if need be.

What I really love about the card is that if lost or stolen, I DON'T have to worry about losing the money on the card. As long as its reported on a timely basis, fraud charges are reversed. There's virtually no risk to losing the funds.

In addition, if the card is running low on funds, she can call me and ask me to transfer the money...and it is IMMEDIATE. She could be standing on line to pay for something knowing there isn't enough...call me, I hop on the computer and order the transfer and its done. She can pay for her items.

This card has worked particularly well now that she is in college. She has her own debit card attached to her own account that she uses for most everything, but when an expense comes up that we agreed to pay for, I just put the money on her USAA debit card and she uses that.

One final "safety" feature of the card: even if there is $0 money on the card, she is allowed to charge up to $10 of gas from a regular station. This is to ensure that in an emergency, if she's trying to get home and needs gas, she can at least put some in her tank without worrying about whether she has money.

Wow..never knew that about the USAA card. I have a dd going to college and was debating getting the USAA card for her since it would alleviate the surcharges at ATM's. Cuz, I know my girl...she will not be looking at the Bank the Atm is from..she will be sliding her card.

OP, when dd went on the band trips to WDW, we did the little bit of cash and the rest on Visa gift cards. I was worried about her losing the cash. Our band director nor our chaperones really wanted the responsibility of carrying cash for them..but what a great idea for those of you who were part of that. Because the bus ride is so long, I also did the collapsable cooler for drinks and snacks on the way down.

I agree, I worried ALOT the first time she went at 16. I thought for sure she would lose her money, have nothing to eat on the way home etc. But, she did just fine. Since she knew that was all she had, she was very careful with what she left with. She didn't even buy suveniers until the last day! You will worry and they will do fine once they get there.

Kelly

sk!mom
01-24-2010, 03:46 PM
I would completely trust kids that age to handle money for only 4 days. Won't the 17 year old be heading off to college in a year?

Honestly for only 4 days, I would give them each the budgeted money and let them handle it. If you're really worried about it maybe go with a prepaid Visa for a $100 or so and then maybe $50 in cash. They may run into some places that can't take the Visa.

sk!mom
01-24-2010, 04:01 PM
Speak to the band director. We have been on many trips. Each parent is required to put a "days" worth of money in an envelope with the day. Say Monday - Jill Jones. In the morning each child gets there envelope. If they spend it all, so be it, if not they have more for the next day. Go to allears.net and guesstimate how much your child will need for food. The envelopes for the other days are kept in the safe at the hotel. Works well and we have over 150 girls. Your kids should know what meals and which park they will be at prior to the trip so budgeting should be easier this way.


My DS25 went on many band, orchestra, and church trips from ages 13 - 18 and I've never had a situation like you describe. The students were always in charge of all of there own money. Maybe this was because he went to a large school with a 200 - 300 member band,

My DD13 went on her first parent free trip, Spring Break two years ago when she was in 6th grade and a couple of months away from 12. At the young age of 11, the chaperones expected the students to handle their own money. That was a trip to NYC for 4 days.

I really think these chaperoned but parent free trips are a great learning and maturing experience and it's great for the kids to learn to handle the money on their own.

With both of my kids, on their first couple of trips, I helped them plan before leaving how they would budget their money. My DD13 still always puts her food money in one section of her bag and her spending money in another section. That way she knows that she won't mess up and blow some money that needed to be set aside for food.

My kids always came home with money left over. If I was the OP, I'd give them cash and let them manage. Just talk with them first about how much they can spend each day.

bobcat
01-25-2010, 06:43 AM
We used a combination of Disney gift cards, one for each day as a part of the kids "package" and cash. As boosters we also bought McD's dollars for the bus ride home, this way the kids had money to eat after they had spent all of theirs!

Paypal has a student card similar to the one metioned above. This way you can just add money if needed.

kwitcherkicken99
01-25-2010, 07:17 AM
Gift cards or pre-paid visa would be my vote. That way the kids can track their expenses and they can be replaced if lost or stolen.

I would still send $100 in cash as emergency cash (my dad would always hide $50 in a different pocket in his wallet so he wouldn't spend it).

Good luck!

PinkRhombus
01-25-2010, 11:24 AM
I would, personally, go with a mix of cash, and then, maybe, open up a free checking account with your bank and get a couple of debit cards for it. Link that account to yours online so you can transfer some money into it if need be. It's easier than dealing with those prepaid cards. And you will already have it set up for him when he goes to college next year.

Gerweniel
01-25-2010, 01:01 PM
I would completely trust kids that age to handle money for only 4 days. Won't the 17 year old be heading off to college in a year?

I am concerned about loss, not so much with my 17 y/o, but my 15 y/o. This is their 1st parent free Disney trip and it is 6 days. They haven't carried wallets in the past and certainly not with $250 cash! Also they won't be rooming together.

And yes, my older son will be going to college in the fall of 2011. He is a junior now. There will be many life lessons prior to that. This is one of them. :sunny:

I'm going to check out the PayPal card - what a great idea.

Thanks all! I think it will be just fine and I appreciate your input. Great advice once again from the Dis!

Chereya
01-25-2010, 06:12 PM
I've had some experience with prepaid Visa and Am Ex cards and I do not care to use them because of bad experiences with the nature of how they work. If you have a problem, it can be impossible to rectify. Especially if it is being used as a sole source of funds, it can be a Very bad time for your kids to have problems and not have backup funds.

1 - Once you get close to using up the card, you have to know the exact amount to use it all up. The cash register will simply deny the charge instead up using up what is left on the card and then telling you what the balance is. For example, if you have $1.00 left on the card, and your purchase is $1.01 you will get declined. You'd have to tell the cashier, charge $1 and then I'll pay the balance. Unless you've kept meticulous track of your spending, you won't know that you have exactly $1. Now that's only an example, and many people are willing to just shrug it off or try to use up the remainder of the funds buying a pack of gum but if you're at a higher dollar amount, this can get frustrating.

2 - Wherever you purchase the card from has to properly activate the card or it will have $0 on it. If they didn't properly activate the card, you're in for a lot of hassles with customer service! The credit card company will assume you stole the card from a retail display and are trying to scam some free money. The store you bought it from will insist they did everything correctly and there's no way to track if it was authorized or not. They will assume that you used up the money on the card and are trying to scam some free money. I have been in this situation and it was terrible! You can't even try to cancel the problem card and get your cash back.

I liked what the previous poster described about their USAA checking accounts. I was going to suggest something similar if you use ING. You can set up a joint checking account with yourself and each child. There is automatic overdraft protection that kicks in if you go over the limit of money in the account but they don't need to know that. Each child can have their own debit card tied to the checking account. You can set up an automatic transfer their daily money into the accounts each day. That way they know they have a set amount to use each day and can't blow it all at once, they'll have extra money to use if they don't use up all of their daily amount, you don't have to worry about doling it out daily once you set up the auto-transfers and you can track their purchases from home online. If they do happen to go over the limit, you'd be able to see it online and call to keep them on track with the spending. Or if they really needed money in an emergency, it's there without needing a prior approval or being limited to $10 at a gas station.

KateMW
01-25-2010, 06:15 PM
Your son can get a state issued ID to use and you could get a personalized Amex card from Amex that is prepaid.

bobcat
01-26-2010, 07:20 AM
There was a bonus offer on the paypal card, I think I saw it on slickdeals. It was sponsered by AE and it added $10 to the student card if you signed up by a certain date. I'll look and see if I can find it.

edit: offer ended yesterday

Gerweniel
01-26-2010, 08:54 AM
OH bummer! Thanks for looking though. :thumbsup2