There’s nothing wrong with being protective over your children. They are, without question, the most important thing in your life. You don’t want anything to happen to them, and it goes without saying that you really do want the very best in life for them. It would be better to always make sure that they can have the best of everything, but sometimes you have to wait on things.
But is travel one of those things that you need to wait until they’re much older for them to enjoy? Definitely not. It’s one of the most controversial areas of travel. We all value our children very much, and travel is a big unknown. There are a lot of things that can go wrong, and then when you add in the idea of winter travel, people get very nervous. However, we’re not fans of believing that disaster is lurking in every corner. With smart planning, you can really minimize the risk that your children would face if they traveled with you.
Not sure what to do from here? This guide is definitely your friend!
First and foremost, you must make sure that you are actually going to get your trip planned out from start to finish. Yes, last minute trips can be done, but whenever there are small children involved, there’s already enough stress. We don’t think that anyone should try to do a last minute trip with children involved, not without having a lot of experience under their belts to begin with.
You must make sure that you already have all medications accounted for, if they need to be refilled. Children tend to get sick in the winter, and you don’t want to just assume that you’re going to be able to get anything you need to treat them in the host country. Be sure that you not only get letters fro your doctor stating what needs to be taken and when, but also that you talk to customs on both sides to make sure that you aren’t stopped in security for having the liquids in your possession. Controlled substances can be tricky, and narcotics can be downright disbarred — even if you do have the right papers for them. If that’s the case, you will have to have your doctor ship them to a pharmacy there, where they can be held security and picked up by you. Make sure that you have your passport if you have to do that.
Winter travel also means dressing smart — this is not the time to see how few things you can leave with in terms of suitcases. If you have to make sure that you have extra warm clothing for your children, definitely do so. If you know that you will be able to get their sizes in the new country, then you might be able to pack a bit less. However, you don’t want your children cold.
If you’re going to a tropical climate, then the advice is definitely in reverse. You want to absolutely make sure that you’re thinking about getting loose fitting clothing so that sweat has a chance to wick away from the skin, not be pressed up against the skin.
Traveling on long flights can make children feel tired and irritable — especially when they don’t feel they have anything to do. This is where you can bring their favorite little movies that can be watched on small DVD players, or a laptop for the older kids. They can at least play games on the flight. It’s also important to let them know the benefits of being polite — travelers will be pleased your children aren’t making too much of a fuss. Babies do cry on long flights, and it’s a fact of life. While you’re willing to be accommodating, there’s no need to feel that you have to punish your children for being children, either.
What you will find is that children are pretty universal in the travel world — going to another country means that other people will see your kids, and it’s not a weird thing at all. Westerners have found that when they travel to non-Western destinations, children are welcomed and even treasured — all without even knowing the same language! It has been said that the language of children is truly universal.
The most important thing that you can do is be open with your children and the rest of your family. If there are budget requirements that have to be met, you need to share this. Package deals will help you save money, and it all also help you if you know what you want when you arrive. This is why making out a full travel agenda is definitely a good thing.
Don’t get lost in the paperwork of travel, either — get a file system going to store all of your receipts and documents. The more you get the paperwork out of the way, the easier it will be to make everything else about your trip flow smoothly.
If you do nothing else, you really need to make sure that you are thinking about travel insurance. When you have small children in tow, hoping and praying that your insurance company’s policy that you already have will cover things is just not enough. It’s better to have a travel insurance plan that covers cancellations as well as emergency medical care.
Children can actually get quite a bit out of the travel experience, but it all boils down to what you’re willing to allow them to learn. As long as you’re flexible, everything else is possible!