By Danielle Spano
Consult with your pediatrician to determine if any vaccinations may be required or recommended for travel to your destination. The World Health Organization recommends a visit to the doctor between four and eight weeks prior to your trip, as some vaccinations may require multiple doses or may not be readily available at your doctor’s office. Ensure all prescriptions are up-to-date and that you have enough to last the duration of the trip. Pack all medication (including some extra in case of travel delays) in your carry on, (in the unfortunate event that luggage gets lost) and bring copies of the prescriptions. If traveling with tiny tots, it is a good idea to pack childproofing gear for your hotel accommodations. Check the weather and pack comfortable and weather-appropriate clothes.
Buy a good travel insurance policy. Travel insurance is meant to protect you and your vacation investment. Travel insurance helps in instances of cancellation, trip interruption, lost luggage and flight delays, but, most importantly, it protects your family too. Travel insurance offers medical and dental coverage and emergency medical transportation. Most domestic medical insurance does not cover you while you are out of the country.
Make sure every traveler, including children, have up-to-date passports and pay close attention to the expiration dates. Many countries require that passports expire no later than six months after your date of return. If both parents are not traveling, be sure to bring along a consent letter from the other parent. Take precautionary measures against jet lag; no one wants a crabby co-traveler making the first day of vacation difficult. Start weaning your schedule closer to the new time zone, and on the day of travel begin eating at the meal times of your destination to get your metabolism and internal clock ticking to the new time zone.
Children have short attention spans. Bring activities and small (quiet) toys to keep
them occupied on planes, trains, and automobiles (and in hotel rooms). Plan age-appropriate activities! Museum after museum may quickly become boring for a young child, so mix in some locations and activities that will keep them interested. Bring them to see a location featured in
a movie they love, or show them where their favorite character is from. Take the destination and make it interesting in the eyes of a child.
Prepare their palates! Kids can be picky eaters. Mix in a hearty helping of foreign food, and a meltdown or eating strike may ensue. Start introducing local cuisine to your children before the trip and find a few go-to dishes that will keep them happy and fed.
Make it a family affair! Invite more family to join so parents can have some time for adult fun and visit sights not safe or appropriate for children. Plus, the more the merrier!