Updated: Oct 29
Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Traveling internationally with children can be a such a wonderful and rewarding experience, but it can also be challenging. There are so many things to think of and consider especially when traveling with children in various stages of life, hello babies, toddlers and teens. We have been traveling with each of our kids for all of their lives, taking them overseas as young as 4-months old and the benefits of international travel are beyond (but that's for another day and another post).
Here are some things to consider when booking international travel with children:
Passports and Visas: Make sure that all of your children have valid passports and that any required visas are obtained well in advance of your trip, you can find out the requirements for each destination by visiting this site.
It's so important to also be clear on the health and safety requirements of your destination city. Make sure to research and make sure that your children are up-to-date on their vaccinations. Also, consider purchasing travel insurance that includes coverage for medical emergencies. I used to think that travel insurance was a scam, until I had a child who was very ill in a foreign country with a language barrier and now I know how important it is. I will always advocate for the peace of mind that "just in case" insurance provides. I always always go with Yonder Insurance and have loved the ease in subscription of working with them.
Before booking your accommodations, consider the needs of your children when booking. Look for hotels or vacation rentals that have amenities such as a pool, playground, or kid-friendly activities and that are within walking distance of parks, or local kid/family friendly restaurants. Check to see if the hotel has access to nanny or au pair services and if there are activities on site for your children, as well as things you might need like high chairs, cribs etc.
If you travel and have small children and can't carry all the things they need with you - check out Baby Quip - they have gear, both large and small, toys and things for families who love to travel and they are located in 8 countries!
Transportation is always a huge one for my family of five and I am always mindful to consider my options when traveling with my small family. Do extensive research on your transportation options in your destination country, and consider the comfort and safety of your children when making your plans. In most international destinations, public transportation is always going to be most cost effective, but comes with a lot to consider. Think through your children and plan your itinerary with their moods and transportation in mind.
Make a list of food options, whether dinners you will cook, chefs you will hire of restaurants you want to visit at your destination country, and plan ahead for any dietary restrictions or preferences your children may have. Make sure to make reservations where it makes sense as most international destinations make restaurants small and intimate and may not be able to accommodate walk up reservations.
Think through activities ahead of time. What do you want to do when you get there, what excursions are most family friendly? Research kid-friendly activities and attractions in your destination country, and plan ahead to make sure that your children will have plenty to do.
If traveling to a country where English isn't the primary language spoken, or is different from yours, try to learn some basic phrases in that language, download a translation app or consider hiring a translator. We always teach our children a few key words - water, bathroom, hi and bye, thank you, eat, phone, drink, telephone - and then we pick up other phrases when we are on the ground and learning the culture.
Consider the time zone difference when planning your trip, it can be tough for kids (and adults) to adjust to a new time zone. Plan your trip so that you travel through the night and when you land, you wake up and can hit the ground running. This is the best way to acclimate to a time change, especially if its more than 3 hours.
Be Flexible. Be Flexible. Be Flexible. Traveling with kids is a trip all on it's own, but travel on its own, with no kids involved, you face unexpected delays and changes. It’s so important to try to stay flexible and go with the flow. There are so many things at play and the cost of travel is the adventure of it all! Besides, our little ones are watching and learning from us.
By considering these factors and planning ahead, you can help ensure that your international trip with children is an enjoyable and memorable experience for everyone involved. If any of these tips were helpful to you, let me know below or let me know what I missed!
With courage and wisdom, for His glory,