Traveling overseas with your kids can provide your children with cherished family memories and give them an appreciation of other cultures. Some countries are easier to manage than others when traveling with youngsters, such as those in Europe that have an advanced infrastructure, political stability, and good diplomatic relations with the U.S.
Nevertheless, when you go abroad with your kids, you need to make sure that you are well-prepared for your stay in order to handle unexpected problems like sickness or lost documents. The following guide provides you with some essential tips for a child-friendly vacation abroad.
Create a Daily Itinerary
One of the keys to success of planning a vacation with children is creating a daily schedule. The last thing you want is for your kids to get bored and start complaining during your trip.
You can begin by asking the proprietor of your holiday home or your hotel concierge for a list of local child-friendly activities. As soon as you make your reservations, send an email directly to them to ask for a list of attractions. Communicating directly with someone in the area will provide you with more accurate, up-to-date information than guidebooks.
You should also check out the website of the local tourist board to get ideas on things to do. Make sure to find out if attractions offer discount admissions for children as well.
You do not have to jam pack each day with activities because there may be some days that you want to spend at the beach or have a leisurely picnic. But doing research beforehand will allow you to plan based on attraction hours and peak days. For example, if you wait until you get to your destination to find out the hours of a local museum, you may discover that on the day you planned to go, the museum is closed or has limited hours.
Stay Up to Date on Visa and Documentation Requirements
Even though the country you travel to may have good relations with the U.S. does not mean that entry requirements for U.S. citizens remain static. Contact the U.S. State Department to find out the latest entry requirements for the country you want to visit. You may need to apply for visas for you and your children.
In addition, make sure that your family's passports are valid and in good condition. The State Department recommends that all passports be valid for at least six months after the planned end of your trip and have at least two blank pages.
If the country you travel to requires visas, you may have to visit the embassy or consulate of that country in the U.S. to process your visa application.
If you have an adopted child, you should bring a copy of your adoption papers in case there is any issue with your custody of the child, especially if you bear little resemblance to your child.
Make at least two copies of all the documents you plan to carry with you, including passports, visas, and adoption papers. Leave one copy with a trustworthy relative at home and carry the other papers in a place separate from the main ones. This will be helpful in case you lose your documents or they get stolen.
Special Needs and Medical Issues
If you are traveling with children who have special needs, make sure to bring an identity bracelet for the child with details of their medical condition and list of allergies.
If you are staying at a hotel, you may want to let them know about your child's condition as well in the event of an emergency so they can help you. Ask the concierge or proprietor to give you the location of the nearest hotel and the name of a local pediatrician as soon as you arrive at your destination. The American embassy in the country you travel to may also have a list of recommended English-speaking medical professionals.
No matter where you travel, heeding these tips can help ease your worries about taking your children overseas. For more information on planning a child-friendly vacation abroad, contact a company like Beach Holidays in France.