International travel requires a bit of extra planning!
My family and I are traveling for the first time ever internationally as a party of 5, and I’m a little nervous, I won’t lie. I’m nervous about the 10-hour flight with three children ages 5 and under, I’m nervous about the time change and if they’ll ever find a new schedule … but I’m mostly worried about all the prep I need to do before we even arrive at our destination.
We would likely not take this kind of a trip given our current season of life for a myriad of reasons, but we’re anxious to reconnect with overseas family since pre-Covid, so off we go! Here’s a look into some of the things I’m preparing for before we even board the plane.
10. Prepare their own backpack for the flight: I’ll include a tablet, special crafts, and snacks (I’ll wrap them individually, and they’ll open a new one each hour), three changes of clothes just in case, air sickness bags, extra plastic bags, Dramamine for Kids, Tylenol, and water bottles with a straw. Don’t forget saline spray— airplanes + dry air + change in altitude can lead to a bloody nose.
9. Triple check passport expiration dates: DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKE I’VE MADE. Make sure when traveling internationally that your passport is valid at least six months beyond your return date. If not, you could be turned away at the airport.
8. Make a Plan for Your Ground Transportation Upon Arrival: When you get off the plane, you’ll likely be exhausted, physically and mentally. Make a plan to have someone there to help with the kids or your luggage. And don’t forget to make a plan in advance if you need a car/taxi with a car seat in it unless you bring your own. I’ve found it helpful to have a light umbrella stroller on hand for helping kiddos with long walks through airport terminals.
7. Quarantine Your Clan: This might not work for everyone for obvious reasons, but since I’m able to, I plan to quarantine our family at home about a week before our trip to avoid catching any bugs that might strike on the plane or when we land. Of course, we run the high risk of getting sick on our trip, but I’d like to set us up for optimum success on the airplane.
6. Tablet Prep: Make sure all games, apps, and videos are pre-loaded onto your child’s device. There’s no plan B. Make those updates in case you find yourself in a no-Wifi zone, whether that be on the airplane or when you arrive at your international destination.
5. Make a plan for your money: Notify your bank before you travel. A flurry of international transactions without a note on your account could lead to a freeze on all activity, which is a HUGE pain. We like to get actual money in the currency of the country we plan to visit (euros in this instance), so we have those in our pocket when we land. Once that money runs out, we use our credit card since those transaction fees seem to be considerably less than withdrawing money from an international ATM.
4. Practice Wearing Masks: Now that mask restrictions have abated, we have definitely returned to our pre-mask life (and joyfully, I might add!). But I’ll definitely want all of us to be wearing masks on the plane, and the airplane requires it, so we’ll practice wearing our masks at home during our pre-travel quarantine period.
3. Make a Plan For Electronics: You should have no issues charging your electronic devices with a charger adapter, but I wouldn’t plan to hook up any high voltage devices to an adapter, such as a hair dryer or wand/straightener. You’re better off purchasing those items at your destination or seeing if you can borrow them from someone you know there.
2. Make Sure You Know What Medical Options Are Available: I’d recommend checking with your health insurance company to see if you have any coverage that extends overseas. If not, make yourself aware of what medical resources are available to you at your destination. Kids get sick, and that doesn’t change just because you go on vacation!
1. Lower Expectations Before You Get on the Plane: You’re embarking on a family trip. You’ll make memories, you’ll lose your temper, some things won’t go at all as planned, other things will go better than you could have ever predicted. Lower your expectations – even better, eliminate them! The memories of your trip will last a lifetime, I guarantee it.
Whether you’re planning to travel this summer or are rocking an STL staycation, I hope you have a safe, healthy, and FUN summer!