When Kaye was 20 months old, we took a trip to Taiwan to visit my mom’s family. It was a long 24-hour flight with a 11-hour time difference. Two days before we left, Kaye had bronchiolitis and an ear infection. The night before we left, Nathan came down with a fever. We were calling our family doctor on his cell phone on our way to the airport and stopping by the only pharmacy on the way to the airport opened at 7 a.m. to pick up an antibiotic for him. Our family doctor is a family friend. Lucky us. A rough start to a great trip visiting family I haven’t seen since I was 7.
Here are some of my suggestions and tips for traveling internationally with kids. Also check out tips for traveling with children domestically for more airport travel tips. And in case you missed it, I also had general tips for traveling with children and tips for road trips.
Apply for passports early
Avoid paying extra for passports by applying two months before your trip. The current processing time is 4-6 weeks for a U.S. passport. To have it come 2-3 weeks is $60 extra. Children 16 and under have special requirements for passports. And the passport fees range from $85-$100. That is not including the two passport pictures you will need to provide.
Also, make photo copies of your passports along with any identification cards. Keep it in a different place than where your passport is kept. Just in case something gets stolen.
Get a cheap pack ‘n play
If you need to provide a place for you young child or baby to sleep while you are there, purchase a pack ‘n play at yard sales or thrift stores that are in good, safe and clean condition. The reason is because it might get roughed around at the airport, luggage claims or while you travel.
Check mode of transportation
The country you are visiting may not require car seats. We hauled our car seat to Taiwan only for it to be excess baggage. We were in and out of cabs, trains or buses. None of which required toddlers or infants to ride in car seats. Then the airline ended up losing our car seat on our flight home.
Ask for a child’s bassinet
The larger jet planes for international flights have bassinets for infants for those seated behind the bathroom walls or service area walls. But know that those seats are always the first to go. So call and reserve those seats first.
If you are uncertain whether your child will eat the food served at the country you are visiting, pack some Gerber meals as backup. When we traveled to Taiwan, Kaye wasn’t into some of the Chinese foods we served, like fish soup. So I had a few Gerber meals in the diaper bag just in case.
Tell your doctor
Call your pediatrician’s office to notify them of your trip. The doctor should give you suggestions for traveling to certain countries. Also make sure your child is updated on all immunization shots.
»Tell me… Have you traveled internationally with children? What are some of your tips?