If you are considering taking a big family trip with the kids overseas, IT IS POSSIBLE to do without losing your mind or popping a bottle of xanax! In fact, with a little planning, international destinations can be a wonderful addition to the slate of vacation options already available to your family. Of course, leaving the country with little ones also brings a whole new list of stressors. Here are some tips to help make your dream of vacationing in a foreign destination a reality!
Passports and Visas
Once you have decided on a destination, obtain your passports. It can take months for passports to be processed, but there are expedited processing and delivery options available for an extra fee if you don’t have much planning time. Visit the U.S. Department of State website for application information. Also, check with the embassy of each foreign country you will be visiting to determine if they require younger visitors to have a visa.
Vaccinations and Medications
Travel to many international destinations requires immunizations, so be sure to check with your family doctor to determine the shots that your family needs. Make sure that you have enough prescription medication for the length of your trip. Check with the embassy of the countries you will visit to see if there are any restrictions on carrying prescription meds into the country.
If you are traveling overseas, you are facing some long hours in the air. Try to arrange for an evening flight for the longest portion of your travel. This can help prevent major disruptions to your child’s sleeping schedule.
Come up with a strategy to battle boredom and hunger. Arm yourself with items that will entertain the kids: books, journals, pens, and crayons, and small toys. Load up an iPad or laptop with games, music, and videos. Pack healthy snacks to avoid hunger pangs and headaches. On a long flight, ask the flight attendant if they will have free drinks available in the galley.
Oh, and for petes sake, bring some chocolates for the flight crew or passengers near you in case your kid acts up. It helps ease the tension for everyone! Who’s going to be mad at you when you’ve filled their noggin with dopamine?! Only crazy people, that’s who!
Getting Around Once You Arrive
Another tip for a smooth international vacation is to get around the country in a rental car. You won’t be dependent upon buses that may tend to run late, and your children won’t be a source of anxiety on crowded trains or buses. You can bring along the kids’ toys, extra clothes, pillows and blankets for naps, and carry food and drinks with you wherever you go.
With a little planning and some good organization, you can make your dream of an exotic family vacation come true, even if it means you can’t fly by the seat of your pants as usual. I mean, I may be childless, but I’ve got nieces and nephews, so I feel a bit of your pain! It’s time to take the first step. Now where would you like to go? If you’re feeling brave after that flight, maybe you should go to Disney!