Family travel courtesy of NadyaEugene/Shutterstock
Handy Tips for Traveling Abroad with Kids
Traveling with children can be a headache at times, and that can be even more so when going overseas. Travel times are longer, the kids are more on edge from being out of their element, and depending on where you go, the parents also have the added burden of trying to handle things in a place where no one speaks their language. Despite all that, it’s still worth it. Here are a few tips to help.
Take Pics of your Kids
It's a vacation, so you're going to be taking pictures of your children all over the place. What we mean here is something different, and not nearly as fun as funny poses in front of the world's art treasures. Every day before going out, take a full body picture of your kids dressed in what they'll be wearing for the day. Should the unthinkable happen, or they simply get lost, authorities will have a current image to help them in the search.
Have a Financial Backup Plan
Losing your wallet or credit cards at home is a hassle, but losing them in a foreign country can be a disaster. Without a way to pay for hotel rooms and meals, what will your family do? This is why it is vital to have a financial backup plan like a close friend or relative who will wire you money when you need it. Before arriving, find out where to get cash at the Western Union – preferably close to where you're staying.
Food for the Picky Eater
Even going from one Western country to another can lead to some rather exotic cuisine being on the menu. That may be good for us grownups, but for the little one who has to pick the crust off their hamburger bun, not so much. Stock up on snacks, and plan ahead for meals. Maybe even try new things at home, before the trip to get your kids used to it. As anti-vacation an idea as this is, there will probably be a McDonalds somewhere close to where you are if worse comes to worse.
Make the Flight Pleasant and Fun
Chances are, vacationing abroad with the kids will involve a significant amount of air travel. Kids get bored easy enough, but a seven to eight-hour flight or longer can be torture for them. Come up with fun activities and games to do with them. And if all else fails, give them the iPad and order wine.
Remember their Ages
As much as we want to expose our children to culture, an eight-year-old would probably rather watch an episode of SpongeBob for the hundredth time than spend the day at the Louvre. Make sure to mix in the educational part with activities that are more suited for their age. This can be challenging if you have one teenager, an adolescent, and a toddler all wanting to do something different. Still, with a little bit of planning, everyone will have some fun while they’re learning something and experiencing something new.
Taking children abroad to see what other countries have to offer is one of the most mind-expanding activities you can do with them. It’s different than vacations within the states where we go to the usual tourist traps or child-centric marketing enterprises like Disney World. Not that these are bad, but a kid daydreaming about being a prince or princess in a castle becomes a much different thing if they visit an actual castle.