13 Simple Ways to Make International Travel with Kids, Safe & Stress-free
Travelling internationally with kids can be quite stressful even without a pandemic!
But, we do it with careful planning with all those involved. I'd like to share some ways to help make your travel safe and less stressful. Just make adjustments based on your personal situation.
Check travel requirements from your point of departure to your destination. Most countries, like US (Hawaii) for example, allow you to get exempted from quarantine if you're fully vaccinated &/or have negative PCR test results not older than 48 hours.
Review the passport expiration date for each member of your family. Remember that in most countries, a child’s passport has a shorter validity – usually 5 years. In most countries, your passport should at least be VALID for at least 6 months beyond the length of your stay.
Masks are required to be worn at ALL TIMES including for kids 2 years old and above. Make sure you get your kids used to wearing them and find one that is breathable and comfortable to be worn by kids. We got N95s and KF94s for the kids and my toddler didn't take it off at all.
Speaking of connecting flights, book flights with less connections so you spend less time in the airport with your kids - aside from limiting your exposure to COVID, this will also be less tiring for everyone and less triggering (for tantrums).
Some may disagree with me, but we prefer to fly at night so the kids are asleep. Both my kids were just napping for 80% of our flight. The only time they woke up was for bathroom breaks.
Now, let's talk about lavatories. I really advise to book seats AWAY from them to avoid foot traffic near you (plus, it's noisy!)
Get travel insurance & make sure it also covers trip cancellation in case someone in your family gets #COVID or must quarantine BEFORE departure.
Make sure to rent car seats when you pick-up your rental car. Or, check the car seat requirements at your destination if you will be using public transportation.
Pack light - but make sure you pack all the essentials (made an infographic on what we bring!)
WHAT TO BRING IN YOUR CARRY-ON BAG
These are purely suggestive and not prescriptive at all, I'm just sharing how we pack. In the event that your luggage gets delayed at your final destination -- it's really important that you have extra clothes.
Gadgets (including laptops) aren't allowed to be checked-in so make sure you bring these with you as carry-ons.
AT THE DAY & DURING THE FLIGHT
Arrive at the airport early. In case you forget something, you'll still have time to get it sent to you, and it will also reduce the stress of walking from one of the airport to another.
If your child can still be baby-worn, go for this option. You need your hands free to fill-up forms and carry stuff. Otherwise, I really suggest to invest in a very light stroller that fits in the overhead cabin. In our case, my eldest knows how to scoot so she uses her Micro-mobility scooter bag. My mom-in-law also found a carry-on bag where my toddler can sit. It made dashing across the airport really fun for Andy.
Take advantage of the courtesy lane for those who are travelling with kids. It's best to also board the plane FIRST so you can get organized (i.e. sanitize the seats and get your kids settled).
AFTER THE FLIGHT
Congratulations! You made it! Be on the look-out for experiences that will help your family learn and grow during your trip.
Don't forego travels just because you have kids (or a baby); BRING THEM WITH YOU! ♥️♥️♥️
I can't count the number of times someone asked me “Why do you travel so much with young kids? It’s not like they’ll remember any of it!”
As what Dr. Montessori has proven: Babies and young kids are learning from the moment they are born. Travel helps children experience a wide repertoire of sights, smells, sounds, colors, faces and languages from an early age.
P.S. Next Stop: We're going on a cruise in the United Kingdom in a few days! I'll share about our experience!