One of the most exciting parts of travel with children is the opportunity to learn something. It may be exposure to a different culture or way of living, a new language, or perhaps facts about history or science picked up in a museum. When you vacation with your children you have the opportunity to expose them to new ideas and information. Some of these will excite their imagination and others will be very practical in their day to day lives.
Here at RealFamilyTrips.com, our founding family just returned from a Baltic Cruise adventure that found them in 6 different countries using 5 different currencies. When it comes to practical knowledge gained while traveling, learning about foreign currency is among the most valuable.
In this day and age our world is smaller and the notion of trading with other countries is far from limited to major transactions or obscure conditions. With a few clicks of a mouse, anyone in the world can order almost anything from almost anywhere else in the world. Besides this practicality, learning about foreign currency exchange helps children to respect the value of money, exercise math skills, learn basic economics and even history, as the reasons for different currencies in different regions provides a lens through which to view the development of a given region.
While the concepts are simple enough: X dollars are equivalent to Y euros, pounds or other currency; in actuality, it requires research and discipline to manage money while traveling abroad. It is an invaluable lesson to explain to children that a pound is the British “version” of a dollar, however their 5 dollars will not go as far as 5 pounds will. By the same token they may be amazed at simple items costing thousands of yen, but a little conversion will help them to see that the same concept is in place but with different parameters.
All that being said, not all adults fully understand the fluctuations of currency markets (there is a reason some people spend their careers dealing in it!) and the fact is that things change on a daily basis. We can all use a little help. For some assistance understanding currency exchange and making real time calculations we recommend Oanda Currency Converter. Their website has simple, accurate and easy to use tools for converting money in real time, as well as historical rates and other great features. For ease of use while on the go, they also offer mobile apps for all popular device operating systems. Our founding family used the app numerous times each day and found it very helpful!
Converting Money Can Be A Valuable Experience For Children
When traveling in a foreign country children are provided with a great opportunity to learn about the value of money. By giving them a small allowance or letting them bring their own money, and teaching them how far it can go they can really learn “the value of a dollar” while learning the value of a euro, peso or ruble. Let them use a currency converter or otherwise “do the math” themselves and see how practical the information they learn in school is. They can come home from an otherwise relaxing vacation having gained knowledge and practised concepts that will aid them throughout their lives.
If you want to raise the discussion up a notch, you can discuss fees and commissions one will encounter when exchanging funds overseas. Additionally, for teens it may be valuable to educate them on the Various (and most cost effective!) means of exchanging currencies while traveling.
On a side note, collecting foreign currency can be a fun hobby for adults and children alike, and a few coins or small bills may make great souvenirs for children on top of helping them to solidify the notion of differing currencies.
Let the concept of different world currencies be an exciting and educational experience for children when traveling abroad!