Traveling as a child is probably some of your best childhood memories. As awesome as it is traveling with your family, it can also be extremely challenging, however, the earlier you start traveling with children the easier it becomes.
7 ways to avoid ruining a vacation with children
Plan Time Accordingly
When traveling with children you must allow more time for every adventure including getting through security and boarding the plane. Add additional time to your schedule planning each time the child to adult ratio goes up.
If you decide to stop and buy snacks add time for the decision making.
When traveling with children plan for things to go wrong when planning the time to arrive at the airport, time to board a ship, time for check-in at a hotel, and all your excursions. (Strollers and Diaper bags alone take longer to get through security). This alone potentially could make your trip start off on a bad note if you miss your flight.
A Flexible schedule will allow for adjustment and cause less stress for the entire family.
This is huge: Don’t overpack. Do not pack all the what-ifs we MIGHT need. Do bring familiar items such as electronics and cords (depending on the location you may need an adapter) to help keep family members entertained that not be enjoying what the rest of the family is enjoying. Remember someone must carry everything. Besides, you will want to leave space to bring home your souvenirs.
Planning and Booking Ahead
Book ahead of your travel time all you can, keeping in mind you can’t fill up your day as if it were only 2 of you traveling. Of course, you have your flights booked, but your pre-booking should not stop there. You might be the kind of traveler to choose your hotels and sightseeing along the way. This doesn’t work when traveling with children.
When you arrive in a new place, you will want to go straight to your hotel, drop off bags, and give kids a chance to rest if necessary. The longer the trip to get to the destination the more information this step is.
You can pre-book your transportation, sightseeing, tickets for events, theme parks, restaurant reservations, and more.
Be aware of regulations that if a non-custodial parent, grandparents, family friend, etc. are traveling with your child they have the ability to make medical decisions. Also, a lot of countries require you to travel with a notarized statement from the custodial parent for others to take the child out of the country. Better to have something you don’t need than not have what you do need. This is to prevent people from absconding with children they don’t have custody of.
Also, you should make sure all passports if traveling out of the country are valid. Most countries want passports to be valid for at least 6 months past when you depart their country. Also, passports for young children are only valid for 5 years, not 10. Passports must be in good shape. A passport with rips, food stains, etc. may not be considered valid.
IMPORTANT: Some countries (even Hawaii) may require a valid negative covid test result to enter and not have to quarantine for 14 days. You should check with your local health authorities. Another thing, you should check with health officials if any shots/vaccinations are needed for your destination and if children need them.
Snacks and More Snacks
The worse thing to endure is hungry children or adults. You will want to do everything you can to avoid this to have the most enjoyable vacation. Make sure you pack some snacks that everyone can enjoy if you have extended time between meals. It can be cost-effective to carry your own plus the children may not recognize or like the snacks available depending on your location.
Safety and Secure
It is bad enough when you are in familiar surroundings to lose a child, but there’s nothing worse than that feeling you get when you don’t know exactly where your child is when you are traveling. Keep a close eye on your children. Make sure you know which parent is watching which child or if it is a buddy system with siblings who is with whom. They can wander off so easily and for a parent, it is a nightmare. As a parent, you can be wrapped up in buying something or asking questions in another language and not notice your child wandered off out of pure curiosity.
Even the best parent in the world can lose track of their children. If your children are prone to wandering off or have a handicap that would prevent them from letting someone know they are lost, consider using a small GPS tracker that you can attach to their shoes or belt. The tracker will alert you if our child gets too far away and will let you track them to see exactly where they went.
Kids Need Your Contact Information
If a child gets lost despite your best efforts, you will want to make sure they have your contact information. You will want this information on them.
- Phone number
- Email address
- Where you are staying
Put a note in a pocket of the younger children or pin it inside their clothing, tie a little card to their belt loop or stick it in their shoe. Get creative, but in any case, make sure your child knows where to find it.
Older kids will still need the information because when you get upset you forget phone numbers, etc. Old enough to have a phone, we know those children won’t be without that so put the information in their phone.
Travel with Basic Medicines
Nothing worse than someone getting sick on a trip. Whether your child has an upset stomach from the bumpy bus ride to your destination, or you find a new kind of tree pollen you’re allergic to, you want to be prepared to make the sick family member feel better as quickly as possible.
Take a few over-the-counter medications your family might need. Plus NEVER forget your prescription drugs or medicine you could need if your family member is allergic to something.
Over-the-counter medications may include:
- Headache medicines
- Allergy medicines
- Medicine for upset stomachs
- Motion sickness prevention medication
- Other medication that might apply to your family or the specific trip
Whenever possible, take your medications in their original packaging, especially prescription medications. If you can’t take the original package, take a copy of the prescription from your doctor so you can show exactly what your prescription is and why you have it for border crossings, and if your luggage is searched.
Before your trip, check regulations for your destination and confirm you can enter the country with your medications without filling out additional paperwork or getting special permission.
Be safe. You will want these in a container the children can not get into to prevent any mishaps.
May your trip be filled with so many perfect memories.
You might want to check out this article and see what a pickle has to do with children.
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