Travelling with children can be fun, it can also be the most harrowing experience when not planned properly.
With proper planning, however, travelling with children needn’t be a hassle. We, therefore, share these five basic tips for travelling with small children.
Planning your trip
A lot of efforts go into planning a trip. Some of these efforts can be hasty at times. However, when planning a trip with children tagging along, especially when itis your first trip with kids, plan for a slower pace than you might usually attempt. If travelling to more than one place, be realistic about what you can cover with children in tow.
Pack less and do away with unnecessary items. The less you pack, , the more enjoyable and stress-free the holiday
You may also want to check out cheap flights or vacation packages offered by travel companies.
Hotel and Childcare
If the plan is to stay with a relative or friend during your trip then there may be enough hands to help with taking care of your children, depending on their ages. But if the plan is to lodge in a hotel you may want to check for special family deals, from discounted rates to free meals for children. Also, note that most modest hotels provide breakfast, but if breakfast isn’t included, you may ask for ‘complimentary’ ones for the children. Alternatively, you could take along something to snack on for the first day, and buy in a simple breakfast to eat in your room thereafter.
Health is wealth goes the adage. So, when travelling with children it is important to research about the health situation in the country. If your destination is a country with an epidemic, you may need specialist advice on the appropriate medication. You’ll also need to make sure you take enough supplies of insect repellent, clothes to cover everyone up in the evenings and, if the place you’re staying in doesn’t have them, bed-nets impregnated with insecticide in case you are travelling to a malaria endemic country.
Documentation and Visas
If you’re going to need visas for your destination, they may be requirement for children as well as adults and that their fee may be the same as for yours. You may also need to take along extra documentation when travelling with children e.g. adoption papers when the child is adopted; proof of consent from the other parent allowing you to travel with your child when you are the only parent travelling. If the name on your child’s passport is not the same as yours, or if your child bears little resemblance to you, the chances of this being an issue increase.
The standard requirements for authorisation to travel are your child’s birth certificate, your marriage certificate (if applicable) and a signed and attested consent letter from the other parent confirming you can travel with your child. If the other parent is no longer alive, you may need proof.
Designate a meeting point
Always designate a meeting point at every new place you visit. This helps should someone gets separated from the group. In particularly dense crowds, you may also promise a reward as incentive for staying together. Child monitors can be a real help to keep an eye on young children in crowded places such as airports and shopping malls. The parent carries a tracking device – about the size of a TV remote control – while the child wears a watch-like contraption. Should the distance between the child and the tracker exceed the user-defined range, or if the bracelet is removed, an alarm sounds. Furthermore, once the tracker sounds the alarm, you can push a button to set off a bleeper on your child’s bracelet to help you track them down.
If you would like to be met at check-in and helped with the children and the bags all the way to your plane, you can request a ‘meet and assist’ service when booking your flight. This service is generally provided by the airport and not the airline and is depended on staff availability; single parents travelling with more than one child are given priority. Also, check the latest restrictions on hand luggage before travelling. It is advisable you do it during flight booking.
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