Traveling overseas can be stressful enough as it is, but bringing your children along can require even more planning and precaution. If your next vacation is an international trip, you will need to ensure you have taken the steps necessary to travel with your children legally. Being prepared and knowing what to expect are important in order to have a great overseas experience with your kids. Here are three crucial tips to review when planning your next vacation abroad with your little ones.
Get Their Documents Ready
Your child will need a passport and identification when traveling abroad. These documents can take weeks to receive, so it is important to begin the process of requesting these government-issued documents as soon as possible. Some international travel destinations will consider a child's passport to be expired, even if it has six months remaining before expiration. If your child's passport is close to expiration, you should renew it before attempting to travel abroad. It is always best to research what is needed to enter a country, as well as what is required to be allowed back into the United States.
Another precaution to consider is traveling with your child's vaccine record, simply to show that he or she is up to date. Furthermore, there are also some countries that are dangerous for children to visit because they feature dangerous diseases that they would not encounter in the United States. Doctors can prepare your children for these countries and prevent the contraction of these diseases by offering additional vaccines before traveling. Do your research on your travel destination first before booking your flight or lodging in the country. You may need to take your children to several doctor appointments to get the necessary vaccines to keep them safe.
Bring the Right Things From Home
International travel destinations can make for exciting experiences for children. However, sometimes getting to a faraway place can make a child antsy and nervous. If your trip requires a long flight, you will need to be prepared to keep your child busy and entertained. Bringing his or her favorite games and books from home is a great way to keep a child active and quiet while on public transportation. Consider putting together a small "travel pack" filled with brand new toys, games and books that your child can only have access to while traveling. This will be a great distraction throughout the travel time.
If your trip is a long one, children can sometimes begin to miss the comforts of home. Bringing a comfort item like a teddy bear or pillow can be extremely helpful in this case. One small reminder of home can help a child feel more at ease in a new destination.
Educate Them on the Destination
Culture shock can be extreme for children because they are much more sensitive to their surroundings than adults are. If you are planning to take your child to a destination where a different language is spoken, get him or her used to this language beforehand. Listening to audio educational lessons on this new language while in the car can get your child's ears used to the sound of the language before you arrive in the new country. If your child is old enough, you can also take the time to teach him or her a few basic words like, "Hello," "Goodbye," and "Thank you." Being prepared with a few words in this foreign language can make a child feel more comfortable with the trip altogether.
Learning about different culture and customs can also help your child to feel more secure in your travel destination. Consider any common cultural customs, like bowing or kissing cheeks when greeting. Children who already know a few of the different customs of the destination will be more prepared when they encounter them. Keeping your child on a schedule that resembles the one you have at home is important to keep him or her well-rested and adjusted throughout your trip. However, with different cultures and opportunities at your destination, you will need to be open to a slightly less rigid schedule while on vacation.