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Planning Retirement Online

Increase in 'Grown up gappers' prompts travel safety fears.

                              October 2006



  • 38% of gap year travellers are aged over 55
  • Africa and Latin America are robbery hot-spots with 1 in 6 at risk
  • Travellers urged to carry currency on a pre-pay card

Over half of the Britons who will take a gap year this year will be career breakers or over 50s carrying an average of ?3,000 for each trip. Sadly, the preferred destinations of these travellers are some of the world’s riskiest robbery hotspots, according to International Currency Exchange.

The phenomenon of the “grown up” gapper suggests the traditional idea of extended travels being only for carefree students has faded.

The Gap Year Book: The Definitive Guide to Planning and Taking a Year Out (Lonely Planet Gap Year Guide S.)

Of the 520,000 Britons who will take a gap year abroad this year, some 90,000 take career breaks and 200,000 are aged over 55. They are heading off to more unusual destinations,such as Africa and Latin America where there have been reports of 'horror' stories and growing concern for travellers’ safety. The most recent crime statistics from the United Nations International survey on international crime trends reveals the highest level for theft of personal property committed were in Cambodia and Costa Rica, with 1 in 6 being affected. Even more worrying is that three quarters of the muggings in Argentina, Columbia, Indonesia and South Africa were committed by armed offenders, whereas in Argentina, almost 50% were victims of corruption, in particular at hotels and in shops.

Peter Ibbetson, Senior Director from International Currency Exchange (ICE) comments, “It is essential that travellers are aware of the dangers before jetting off and how these can be avoided. The report highlights the high levels of personal theft and consumer fraud in these hotspots; travellers carrying cash can become prime targets for muggings if they do not take the necessary precautions. International Currency Exchange has designed the Cash2Go prepaid travel card in response to this increasing need for safety when travelling.

“Cash2Go stops the worry of security as it allows travellers to avoid the danger of carrying large sums of cash when travelling to the unknown. The card is pin-protected and can be topped up online from wherever you are in the world. Should your card be stolen, your funds can either be transferred on to a new card or sent to you wherever you are in the world, by telegraphic transfer, so you can continue on your travels hassle-free and with peace of mind. It is vital that you do your homework before you head off on your trip and this begins by researching your destination before you go and planning for your finances and overall personal security. ”

ICE has compiled these top tips to consider before you set off on your ‘gap’ year:

  • If you’re not selling your house, check your mortgage is flexible to ensure you cover the payments, if you are, allow at least 6-8 months to sell
  • Talk to your financial advisor about your pension
  • Set up direct debits to cover all your household bills including your credit card, insurance renewals etc.
  • Open an online bank account – that way you can manage your finances from afar
  • Declare your car SORN whilst you’re away
  • Arrange for international roaming on your phone – for emergencies only due to cost.

Dramatic growth in this market has resulted in the almost sudden, emergence of many specialist companies that cater specifically for the “grown up gapper” such as Gap Year for Grown Ups. Rachael Wood from Gap Year for Grown Ups comments, “The media highlights many 'horror' stories about safety abroad issues and more recently of a woman who went missing in Ecuador. That is a major reason why companies such as ourselves are growing in popularity - we offer a security blanket over purely independent travel. To deal with this issue we have recently introduced a safety course and I am currently looking at other options as this is a serious element that I know holds people back. We also welcome the introduction of products such as Cash2Go that are designed to protect the safety and security of gappers and would recommend the card as necessary travel tool.”

Cash2Go is available online to buy and to reload at .
Cash2Go is a:

  • Pre-paid travel money card
  • Pin-protected providing peace of mind that your funds are safe
  • Accessible through the Maestro network of over 1,000,000 ATM’s worldwide. Greater acceptability than VISA Electron
  • Easily reloadable online or via any ICE or Travelcare branch
  • Competitive on charges compared to other cards in the market – there’s no initial purchase or reload fee


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