Having kids doesn’t mean that your days of traveling are over. With family-friendly destinations dotting the globe, your first job is pinpointing where you want to go. The next hurdle is figuring out the best and safest way to get there so you can enjoy your trip once you arrive. It is a vacation, after all! Here are some tips to help with prepping.
Get Your Docs in Order
Planning can be the most overwhelming part a vacation, especially if you’re traveling abroad. Passports and backup forms of identification are especially important, but if yours have expired, be prepared to wait for up to six weeks to receive your renewed credentials. Don’t wait until the last minute or you’re setting yourself up for a world of stress.
Also consider an identity protection service to help keep your personal information safe while you travel. The last thing you want is to come home and find your identity has been stolen. Enrolling in a service to monitor your accounts both domestically and internationally will eliminate that stress.
Finally, talk with your pediatrician about necessary vaccines for traveling to make sure that your kids are current on their preventive care. Your pediatrician may have some additional advice for keeping your children healthy during your travels (foods to avoid, quick car remedies, and air or sea sickness among others).
Packing for a trip with the kids means fitting a lot of extras in your luggage. If traveling domestically, you have some latitude with leave-behinds as you can buy diapers, formula or baby food, and anything else you may have forgotten at your destination. If traveling abroad or to a remote location, you have to make the most of your limited packing room. If you are flying, check with the airline about any fees that you may incur from checking a car seat or stroller. Rather than dragging bulky items like that, consider renting baby gear once you arrive at your destination to minimize the headache of strollers, cribs, car seats and so on.
How are you going to get through the security checkpoint with all of the sippy cups, snacks and carry-ons let alone keeping your child happy during the flight? The TSA has relaxed its screening rules for kids; children under 12 can keep their shoes on and, depending on the circumstance, you can keep certain liquids in a sippy cup or bottle (such as formula and breast milk). Before arriving at the airport, explain to your kids what they should expect and make sure they understand acceptable behavior, especially when going through a security checkpoint—there are few things worse than an unruly child in an airport.
Once you’re in your seat, get organized while you can move around a little more freely. Put snacks and toys within arm’s length to keep your child calm and entertained should temperamental moments erupt. The FAA reports that the safest way for a child to travel in the air is fastened into a safety restraint system, which is recommended as babies are more comfortable traveling in a car seat anyway.
Once you reach your destination, all of the planning and packing will be a distant memory. Enjoy your trip and make fun, long lasting memories with your family.