While international trips with kids require some extra planning, having children does not have to mean the end of international holidays!
In fact, introducing your children to other countries and cultures can be an incredible way to teach them about the way other people live and let them experience the world’s diversity first-hand.
But, traveling with children can be overwhelming even on short journeys. Taking some extra time to work through the details is essential.
So, grab your passports, buy foreign currency from S Money for the country you’re visiting, and use these tips to help ensure your international trip is one the whole family will love!
Picking the Destination
The world is a big place, and there are endless destination possibilities to consider when planning international family travel.
Narrowing down your holiday options may seem impossible, but it becomes much easier when you put your focus on the activities you want to enjoy instead of the destination itself.
Decide what activities are a must for you when on vacation, whether that’s relaxing at the beach, exploring nature, or touring historic city sites.
Then, you can start to narrow down your potential destinations based on whether or not they have easy access to the activities your family most enjoys.
And don’t leave the kids out of the planning process! If your kids are old enough to share their input, ask them where they would most like to visit, and why.
Planning for Travel
When it comes to international family travel, the plane ride itself can sometimes be the biggest challenge. Luckily, with some preparation, you and your children can have a smooth and stress-free flight.
If your child is younger and still uses a pacifier or sippy cup, give them one to distract them during takeoff and landing. The sucking action will help minimize ear pain caused by the change in pressure.
For toddlers, an angry child is usually a hungry one, so ensure you have some small snacks on hand that they can eat at any point during the flights.
Options like fruit pouches, granola bars, apple slices, and string cheese are excellent healthy and satisfying choices.
If possible, order any in-flight food in advance to help ensure your kids aren’t left grumpy and waiting to eat.
Having some form of entertainment for the plane ride is also a must for a comfortable flight. Younger children might enjoy using a tablet with interactive apps, children’s programs, and audiobooks.
Older children might be happy simply loading their smartphones with mobile games and music to listen to during the flight.
Finally, make sure to always have at least one chance of clothing for each child packed into your carry-on luggage. Accidents happen, and those clean, dry clothes may prove invaluable in case of a spill or other mess.
With the flight properly planned, the only other concern is navigating the airport. When possible, a direct flight is always the best bet when traveling with children.
If that’s not possible from your location, err on the side of caution and give yourself and your family extra time to make any connections.
Handling Common Challenges
In a perfect world, your family holiday will go off without a hitch. But, in most cases, you’ll likely run into one or two common issues that can plague any trip.
Being prepared for some of the more predictable snags you might run into can help you deal with them quickly and let you get back to enjoying your vacation.
If your international family travel has taken you to a different time zone, your children may have difficulty overcoming jet lag.
According to experts, the younger the child, the more difficult it is to get into a functional sleeping schedule.
While everyone is different, some common tricks can be used to support the transition to a new time zone and help your family adjust.
The most useful method for dealing with jet lag in kids can be to start creating a new sleep routine one or two weeks before you leave.
If you are traveling somewhere that is ahead in time, get your kids to go to bed one or two hours earlier than normal, and wake them up earlier, as well.
If your destination is behind your time zone, do the opposite, allowing them to go to bed and wake up later.
Then, once you’re on your holiday, ensure the entire family gets plenty of natural sunlight, which can help you overcome the lag faster.
Sick Away From Home
Anyone that travels frequently, especially with children, knows that traveling with a small first-aid kit is a must.
It should include various over-the-counter medications, band-aids, anti-infection creams, bandages, and other everyday first-aid items for minor accidents, injuries, and illnesses you might encounter.
Beyond this, however, make sure that you also familiarize yourself with local healthcare options and hospitals in the country you are visiting.
Learn in advance of the trip how to contact emergency services, if needed, and make sure you have travel insurance documentation safely stored with other important travel documents.
For many people, part of the fun of international family travel is trying the delicious foods that are popular in other cultures.
But children can sometimes be reluctant to try new foods, especially if they’re significantly different than the foods they’re used to.
As much as you might want to ensure your kids experience the food of another country, it’s important to also ensure they have choices they’re comfortable with eating.
Encourage them to try bites of new food, while letting them satisfy their appetites with choices you know they’ll enjoy, whether that’s pasta, grilled chicken, or even fresh fruit.
With some patience and encouragement, you may find that they quickly embrace the cuisine of the country!
Every parent has agreed with this old adage at some point: sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation. Traveling internationally with children is wonderful, but not necessarily relaxing or stress-free!
Ensuring that you carve out some time for your and your partner to enjoy together is essential in beating holiday fatigue, and will allow you to enjoy activities that your kids might dislike.
You’ll often be able to get names and recommendations of babysitters and childcare agencies from your hotel concierge, all of which have been vetted and approved as reliable and safe.
Alternatively, you may want to choose a hotel with a kids’ club that offers childminding programs within the hotel. That way, your kids can drop in to the club any time that’s convenient.
There’s no question that planning an international trip for your family will take more work than simply jetting off on a solo adventure.
But, the work will be well worth it when you see your children’s happiness at experiencing a new destination, and get the chance to build lifelong memories together on your vacation!