Many parents put off seeing exotic locations because they believe that traveling with children is difficult. It sometimes can be, but it isn’t impossible. I grew up traveling, thanks to my parents, who insisted that I see the world. By the time I was a teen, I’d been to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. However, taking kids overseas does take some planning. Here are five tips for traveling with children to a foreign country.
1. Make sure that your children have all of the necessary documentation and vaccines needed to enter that country. This includes passports, visas, birth certificates, etc. Always make copies of their papers as backup. And arrange for them to get their shots well in advance. Sometimes it takes a while for a medication to take effect and it’s especially important that kids are protected from illnesses.
2. Get your child involved in the planning. Teach your kid a little about the country and its food and customs. Learn a few basic phrases of the language together. Show him pictures and videos of the places that you’ll be visiting. Get her excited about the trip before you go. This will also familiarize your child with the place so it seems less strange and scary when you actually arrive there.
3.Make sure your kid is ready to travel overseas. Some kids are ready at 4, others at 10. Take some shorter trips beforehand to get him or her used to the idea of traveling and then work your way up to more exotic locations. For instance, my parents first took me to Florida and Upstate New York. We then drove across the United States and visited Canada. I didn’t go overseas until I was 9 and we traveled to Europe.
4. Pack a little emergency kit in case your child gets hurt or sick overseas. Some ideas of things to pack include Band-Aids and Pepto Bismol in case he has tummy troubles. I also recommend packing a few toys and activities in case he or she gets bored on flights, and suggest that parents bring some travel-friendly snacks.
5. Plan some kid-friendly activities. Stop at a playground or include a trip to a children’s museum. Seeing ruins or art museums is a great way to educate your child, but chances are, he’ll want to do some kid stuff, too. Also, take a break during the day because traveling can be tiring! Make sure your kid doesn’t overdo it so that he can have a great time.
Naomi Rabinowitz is a lifelong traveler who’s visited every continent except South America and Antarctica (though she plans to get to both eventually!). Read about her travel adventures at http://naomithetraveler.blogspot.com