Planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to see relatives overseas? Getting ready to explore the world with your family? International travel with kids is much easier if you know the secrets that savvy international travelers know.
Kids + Planes: Survival Secrets
Traveling with kids can be a wonderful event with proper planning. If air travel will be involved, there are a few ‘must’ to remember. You must pack enough clothes for your kids in the carry-on bag. You never know when your luggage will take a trip to Buenos Aires while you are visiting Brussels. Be prepared. A couple of outfit changes will be a lifesaver in these situations.
International flights can be long—especially for children. Make it a little easier. Movies, hand-held video games, and, of course, some great snacks and drinks, can go a long way in making the trip easier for both children and parents. Again, be sure to pack these in your carry-on.
It’s also important to teach your children about different cultures you may be visiting. Let them know that things will be different. Languages may be different. There may be strange foods to try. They may see funny outfits. Manners will be very valuable in these situations. Encourage them to try the foods instead of wrinkling their nose at it. Point out the beauty in that ‘funny’ outfit. Allow children to try to pronounce simple greetings to people they meet. This will help them to see the difference between ‘strange’ and ‘different.’
Embrace New Cultures
New experiences are usually embraced by children faster than by parents. If locals are dancing in the streets or decorating the May Pole, allow the children to join in the fun. Children overcome barriers, such as language, when other children are involved. Kids find a way to understand each other and make friends easily.
Educate the Kids
No matter where you are heading, it’s is a good idea to put contact information inside your child’s clothing. Little children cannot be counted on to remember their parent’s names or phone numbers. Providing the information may help authorities in the event that you and the child are separated. Teach the older children to remember pertinent information and quiz them often. Ask them where they are headed, what plane they will be on, etc.
Travel Safety Is Key
Finally, it is important to keep a close eye on your children while traveling. There are bad people in all parts of the world, just as there are good ones. A backpack tracking device is very handy, if a little expensive. If the child disappears, authorities will be able to track the backpack by GPS. The little animal backpacks with the leash attached are a wonderful thing for toddlers. Naturally curious, the leash will keep them from wandering off while you are looking in the markets and shops. Nobody wants to think something will happen, but everyday things do happen. Be prepared instead of sorry.
With proper planning, you can enjoy a wonderful international trip.