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Traveling Internationally With Kids? Here Are The Tips You Need to Know.

family cruise

I am one of the brave souls that has traveled both domestically and internationally as a parent of babies, and now toddlers. Was it a ton of work? Yes. Was it the same relaxing or adventure-driven experience as my husband and I had before kids? Certainly not. But did we earn some of the most memorable experiences and fondest moments as a family? We absolutely did. I don't regret any of it. When you travel with young children, as much as you can feel like you're doing it for them, it's hard to accept that they probably won't remember much about these early trips. That's okay. As parents, these are the special trips we remember, and will laugh and smile at the photos and videos of for a lifetime. Here are some of my best international family travel tips:

Tip #1 - Book a stay that includes baby gear & equipment on-site.

So many hotels, home rentals, and even cruises will offer tons of important essentials for their smallest travelers. I've booked so many stays that included cribs, pack-and-plays, high chairs, child-proofing installations, strollers, swimming safety gear, mealtime accessories, toys and more! It's always worth it to ask, and sometimes to even choose your accommodations based around this. Lots of peace of mind, money-savings, and lighter packing too!

Tip #2 - If you're flying, research all the benefits the airline gives as a courtesy to young families.

From early boarding, to activity packets, and even bassinets - most airlines offer all kinds of different benefits for families with young children. (Including discounted fares, too!) Another lesser-known fact is that you can often check things like strollers, car seats, or travel cribs at no extra cost. What's more, children are afforded additional carry-on baggage (that doesn't count against your typical allowance) for diapers bags, food, bottles, etc.

Tip #3 - You can usually rent commonly used children's items, and have them delivered right to your destination.

There are companies all over the world that offer baby/toddler items for rent, for both short and longterm stays. So for anything your accommodations don't offer or you aren't able to bring with you, you can typically arrange to have setup and waiting for you when you arrive!

Tip #4 - Prepare any necessary identification & documentation months in advance.

Always research what documentation is required for the whole family before you book your trip. For some reason, we often overlook babies when considering ID requirements, which has literally ruined whole vacations for people I know. Make sure to find out exactly what will be needed for everyone for transit and getting in and out of the country. Some of these items may include: passports, visas, birth certificates, consent forms, or proof of vaccinations. On a cruise we went on last year to Bermuda, we cut it so close with getting passports in time because I didn't realize how far out the wait times had become, or that they would even be needed for the kids at all. I thought a copy of a birth certificate would suffice, only to find out that originals were required - which really sketched me out to bring along. So I ended up having to get a certified copy of both kids' birth certificates through my town, which cost a small fee and had to be snail-mailed to me. Luckily everything got to us in time and the cruise line confirmed this was acceptable in writing, but it was still a lot of stress I could have avoided... and now hopefully you can, too!

Tip #5 - Always pack an emergency kit in your carry-on.

Expect the unexpected when traveling! It's so important to get a small kit together containing emergency essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, bulb syringes, saline spray, medications... even simple things like tissues and sanitizer. (Just don't forget to follow TSA/custom allowances on liquids and such.)

Tip #6 - Only pack what you need for a few days, and buy whatever additional supplies upon arrival to your destination.

Something I did totally wrong before I did it right... just buy what you can when you arrive! Save the room in your luggage (and weight!) and only bring a few days worth of things like diapers, wipes, formula, and snacks. Re-up when you get there, and don't forget to save some extra for the trip back home!

Tip #7 - Pick the best travel times possible if you'll need to adjust to a new timezone.

Children are creatures of habit, with way less flexibility and patience for sleeping and feeding adjustments due to a time change. I feel it's always been worth it to pay a little more if needed in order to keep us as on-schedule as possible. So for some families, that may mean booking long flights overnight, and for others, that may mean ensuring a timely arrival ahead of a nap time after a long day of travel.

Tip #8 - Most airlines allow you to bring food & drinks on board.

You'll have to double check with the current TSA and customs regulations where you're going, but most of the time, you are allowed to bring food and drinks with you on flights! For some reason, I always just assumed you weren't allowed to do this before having kids. Then once I asked, I was shocked that I was able to literally bring an entire lunch for all four of us from home! Not only did it save us time and money (plus getting to avoid all that nasty airport food in exchange for a 3-course meal from our favorite neighborhood Italian cafe!), but it was so convenient to be able to feed the kids (and myself) immediately upon boarding our flight, before even having to put anything away for takeoff. In my experience, full bellies equals more agreeable children, which makes for much less stressed out parents!

Tip #9 - Have kid snacks and entertainment at the ready.

Research, pack, and prepare great options for quick (and clean) snack and entertainment options to keep kids settled and happy during long bouts of travel - especially when they can't freely roam the way they normally would. I can't even count the number of times I've had to unzip a bag urgently and grab the first thing I had ready in order to calm down or distract one of my kids during a tense time (usually when trying to gather luggage, board, disembark, wait in the rental car line... things like that). Here are some of my favorite buys for screen-less travel entertainment, and the best healthy toddler snacks.

Tip #10 - Get familiar with the laws & restrictions for your children wherever you're going, and plan accordingly.

Some places will have rules out the wazoo, and others will surely horrify you with no restrictions at all. It's always best to familiarize yourself with the regulations wherever you'll be - especially when you first arrive. For example, some countries require child restraint systems on public transportation - meaning you'll need to be prepared with what's needed/qualified to abide by local laws and guidelines in order to travel. Ultimately you'll have to decide if baby-wearing might be best, bringing your own car seat from home makes sense, what size stroller is feasible, or if you can work directly with a travel agent + car service to have what you need waiting for you. And always pre-book whatever you can for ease of transit!

Hope this helps & happy travels!

Got another good tip I should include in this article for fellow parents? Shoot me a DM on IG @XtineElise and I'll be sure to add it! :)


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