Wednesday, May 9, 2012

International travel with children

If you’ve taken a trip with children before, you know it can be more difficult than regular travel. You have to keep a lot of extra variables in mind when planning, and the day you travel can be stressful if you aren’t prepared. International travel is the same and, in some ways, worse. There’s no need to worry, however, because if you’re prepared it will be an easy and fun trip. Keep these tips in mind before you leave the country on a trip with your children:

- Prepare to get out of the country

There are more restrictions and requirements for travel outside the United States than there are when you travel within the country. Things got even more complicated after 9/11 in the name of safety. You need to prepare based on the restrictions here and abroad. The United States requires a passport when leaving and entering the country, which means you’ll need to get one for your kids. You can find out more information at the government site for passports. You’ll also need to look into the country you’ll be visiting to make sure you can follow its requirements. If you’re prepared you won’t have any issues when you leave.

- Make plans for an easy flight

When you’re flying out of the country you need to have a solid plan for keeping the kids happy and occupied during the flight. Each child should get a backpack that’s full of everything they would need during the trip. This can be anything from games to fight boredom to snacks so your kid doesn’t go off on a screaming fit because of low blood sugar. The children should be involved with packing the backpack as well. If you let them choose some of the stuff they bring along the flight will definitely be much easier.

- Prepare for the new place

So if you’re prepared beforehand and your flight goes off well, then you’re in the clear, right? Not so fast. Jet lag is an issue that comes up on long international flights, and it affects children just as much as it does adults. You can combat the effects if you start early. The week before your trip you should try to get your kids on a sleeping schedule that’s similar to the new time zone. You might not be able to match it completely depending on the situation, but you should definitely try to get as close as you can. Your kids might still get hit with some jet lag, but it won’t be as bad if you prepare beforehand.

- Have fun

Sometimes we can forget the reason for travel in the first place. For the most part, these kinds of trips are meant for enjoyment and education. It’s easy to lose sight of the purpose of your trip, especially when things get stressful. It’s important to keep a level head and relaxed attitude when you’re abroad. You want your kids to remember the great trip and cultural experiences, not the time you flipped out over something small. Do whatever you have to do to keep the stress levels low.

Enjoy your next international trip with the kids by using these tips and things will turn out even better than you expect.

Author’s bio: Logan is a guest writer on the topics of international travel and when to fly on a jet charter.

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