Her first trip alone to Europe came with a little anxiety…on my part, not my daughter’s. She’s crisscrossed this country more times than I can remember during the eleven years she’s lived on her own. Not only does she dance professionally, it seems she’s become a career traveler as well.
As a Valentine’s Day gift I decided to invest in the services of a tour guide for my daughter. Upon the recommendation of travel guru Rick Steves, I emailed Doris Ritter.
Being a mom herself, Doris graciously accommodated me and my endless questions. Most of them to do with whether or not American credit cards were accepted in German ATM machines.
A couple of weeks before my daughter’s trip, my husband suggested we get her traveler’s checks. “Traveler’s checks?” I asked. “Are they still being used?” And “Who sells them these days?” Without batting an eyelid, he replied that, of course, travelers checks were still sold and used. Not easily satisfied with his mater-of-fact response, I continued badgering him about the existence of traveler’s checks. Without any evidence to the contrary, I decided I’d better call in the “big guns”…AAA Travel Services.
Upon calling the local AAA office, the nice, young woman informed me that they’d not been selling traveler’s checks for some time. She went on to say that they substituted a travel card which our daughter could use like a debit card. The benefit of using this and not her bank card was that in the event she lost the travel card, her bank accounts would not be compromised. The thief would only be able to access the money we put on the card. There was a nominal fee of $4 for the first card, and another $1 for a second card. In case she lost the first, our daughter could still withdraw funds after reporting the first one stolen.
You might be asking “What’s the concern with using American credit cards abroad?”
It seems European credit cards no longer have magnetic strips; instead they have chips. Because of that our cards cannot be used in their machines. So if a train station is only equipped with machines, you might not be able to purchase a ticket. And you could only get cash from a bank, not an ATM machine. Our concern was that our daughter would be in a bind if she had an emergency and required more euros than was wise for her to carry on her person.
These are things only mothers worry about. Or is it just me?
As it turned out, Doris Ritter cared for my daughter as though she were family. Or at the very least, a good girlfriend. Either way, I was delighted they enjoyed one another’s company, in addition to which my daughter got an insider’s view of Nuremberg where she spent a few days. From there she took a train to Augsburg and visited a friend with whom she had danced in the U.S years before.
Doris and I have exchanged emails since my daughter returned home. Having children in common makes moms the world over friends, even sisters. We all have one wish in common……the desire that our children be happy and safe.
Hugs, Doris…for nurturing my daughter’s love of Germany, and her desire to explore other countries…
…and for putting this mom’s anxieties to rest…