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Planning a family adventure but feeling overwhelmed about the best practices? You’re not alone. Every parent looking to travel with their kids seeks safety and tips for an optimal experience.
Ensuring peace of mind is crucial when travelling with children, whether babies, toddlers, or teenagers. In this article, browse these seven precautions and tips to travel for a stress-free journey with your children, covering everything from pre-travel preparation to on-flight strategies.
Safety to take to travel with a child with peace of mind
Depending on your destination, the age of your children and other factors, the precautions you need to take can be quite different. However, some are still relevant to the majority. Here are the ones we consider essential:
Make sure your destination is child-friendly
While each destination has its own attractions, it would be wrong to assume that all are safe – and fun! – for children. Your first step should always be conducting thorough research before deciding on your destination.
Here, don’t be afraid to let your critical mind run wild. Some destinations hold out the promise of great things to come, but unfortunately the reality on the ground is quite different. How do you penetrate the subterfuge? By relying on reviews. If you come across recent reviews from disgruntled parents, it’s probably wiser to pass.
Here are our top 5 destinations with children:
- Orlando, Florida: the ideal destination for families! You’ll find a wide choice of theme parks in Orlando, including Walt Disney World, Universal Studio, SeaWorld, the Kennedy Space Center for space fans, and Adventure Island in Tampa. For sports-loving families, it’s a chance to catch an NFL, NBA or MLS game.
- Paris, France: With attractions like Disneyland Paris, interactive museums, parks and historic sites, Paris offers a fun and cultural experience for children.
- Tokyo, Japan: The city of Tokyo offers a unique blend of traditional culture and modernity, with the Akihabara district, the Ghibli Museum, the Legoland Museum, theme parks like Disneyland Tokyo and children’s museums.
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai is a modern, bustling city offering a variety of activities for families, including theme parks, beaches, shopping malls and tourist attractions. The city is also home to some of the world’s tallest structures, offering breathtaking views over the city.
- New York, USA: The city offers a variety of activities and attractions suitable for children of all ages. Highlights include interactive museums, famous parks like Central Park, family-friendly Broadway shows, and iconic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building. What’s more, New York offers a culinary diversity that can please the whole family.
Get travel insurance
Before opting for any of the insurances you’ll be offered, check your existing ones. Your supplier may already offer travel insurance through one of your active products for you and your family. There’s no better way to find out than to contact the service team.
If you think it’s a good idea to take out travel insurance for your child, do so with your primary insurer (auto, home). This usually results in savings or discounts on your policies. You can also compare prices with our partner soNomad, which offers some very interesting plans, or check your credit card’s travel insurance.
Thinking about undesirable scenarios is never the most exciting part of your preparations. We get it! Still, it’s a necessary evil for the peace of mind of any parent who wants to travel peacefully.
Validate child passports
Of course, make sure your child’s passport is valid. Certain conditions are sometimes required to complete this passport. A few weeks before your departure, make sure that everything is in order by contacting the passport office.
As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. Although it’s impossible to foresee every possible scenario, knowing the basic safety principles is essential.
As far in advance of your departure as possible, prepare them for potential emergencies. In a playful way, for example through games, invite them to come up with solutions. Encourage them to ask for help from another parent with children, to stay put until someone finds them, or to meet you at a specific location.
Whatever safety plan you put in place, review it with your children several times. That way, they’ll know what to do even if panic sets in. Because even if you always watch them, no one is safe from a little one who wanders off in a crowd. It’s always a matter of seconds.
Create information cards
Even if you’re 100% convinced that your child will stick to the plan if he gets lost, an information card is still very useful. It allows someone, such as a relative, tourist or security guard, to contact you quickly.
In addition to your contact information (telephone number, name of the hotel where you’re staying), it’s a good idea to list important information about your child. Allergies, a hearing problem or anything else that could help someone else take good care of your little one in the meantime.
Put everything to the test
Young children love to explore. It’s their way of learning, of discovering the world. And that doesn’t change when you travel! On the contrary, your child, especially a toddler, will want to see and touch everything.
To enable your pet to satisfy its curiosity in complete safety, protect the space where you’re staying. For example, lock access to the outside of your hotel room at all times, put a barrier in front of the patio door and cover electrical outlets. Some rooms have terraces, for example: are they properly secured? Do they have access to the room next door, or even to the water? Is there anything your child can climb on?
You can ask your hotel or the place where you will be staying beforehand to find out what facilities are available on site. It’s not uncommon for vacation resorts to provide them outright.
Prepare a first-aid kit
Small and big problems are a normal part of a family trip. Plan ahead and bring along a first-aid and first-aid kit, whatever your outing (restaurant, beach, etc.). Pack the essentials, such as sticking plasters, disinfectant spray and children’s painkillers.
You may also want to take tablets for traveler’s diarrhea, which is not uncommon in young children. Ask your pharmacist about the options available on the shelves. Ask for advice on what products to have in case of emergency. And of course, don’t leave this product kit within the reach of children.
Travelling with baby: even more precautions!
Do you have a baby or toddler? Doubling your level of caution is a good idea. Contact your family doctor or travel medicine specialist to make sure there are no contraindications, especially if your baby has certain health challenges. We’re thinking here of recurrent ear infections, which can increase the chance of earaches due to the change in pressure.
Here are some other things to keep in mind:
- Consider sunburn protection
- Opt for vaccine protection if you’re going to a high-risk region (check with your local travel health clinic to find out what vaccines you need).
- Provide rehydration solutions (in the case of traveler’s diarrhea, for example)
- Keep a soothing ointment in case of mosquito bites.
- Keep a bottle of water in your hand luggage at all times
Tips to enhance your family trip
Now that you’ve identified the best precautions, it’s time to move on to the tips. It just goes to show that being caring when travelling with children is just as necessary as being curious and creative!
Plan a suitable itinerary
Find places that your children will enjoy as much as you do. For example, if you’re going to an all-inclusive resort, check whether the place has been designed with children in mind, with play areas, small water parks and so on.
Even if they can’t always take part in your favourite activities, your kids will always be up for something new! Explore the area with them and identify places where they can let off steam. Once again, the Reviews will guide you towards ideas that will win unanimous approval.
Remain open to the fear of flying
Your child’s first flight? He may have some fears before the day of departure, or even at the last minute at the airport. Accept his anxieties and normalize them.
So don’t hesitate to call on the airline’s staff. They often have the words to reassure the little ones. Some even go so far as to introduce the pilots to children, and invite them to see their cabins, whether or not they’re on long flights. An activity that’s sure to please and reassure even the most anxious of little hearts.
Book in advance
No more last-minute trips where you sleep and eat where there’s room. Parenting is all about meticulous planning. Travel is no exception. From hotels to planned activities, do everything you can to book in advance. This will help you make the most of your precious time and ensure that your stay is as full as possible.
Reduce hotel changes
While it may be tempting to take advantage of your points and hotel promotions, remember that you have more luggage to carry with children. No one wants to spend their days loading and unloading – especially not the youngest!
Opt for a hotel that will do your business for the duration of your stay, such as a family-friendly all-inclusive. After all, isn’t saving your points the perfect excuse to plan your next romantic getaway?
Invest in good travel equipment
Durable suitcases, lightweight strollers that are easy to fold, practical storage bags: these are just a few of the items that will help you get around and enjoy yourself. So don’t hesitate to invest in tried-and-tested equipment. Why not choose items that will stay with you for a few years.
What’s more, you don’t have to break the bank or buy the cream of the crop to get quality, durable and practical equipment. Search online, read reviews, ask questions. You can never be too curious.
Keep the little ones busy
No one knows your children as well as you do. If you know that your youngest is less patient, plan ways to entertain him or her during waiting periods (airport, long flights, transit, etc.). Get a head start by bringing in new toys. We all know that novelty often captivates them much longer than a familiar item!
Last but not least: welcome the unexpected
Despite careful planning, unexpected situations are almost inevitable (unfavorable weather, ailments such as traveler’s diarrhea, earaches, etc.). Keep in mind that you’ll probably be bumped into somewhere during your trip. This way, you won’t be completely caught out if something unexpected comes up.
Bonus: prepare yourself mentally
Is this your first trip with baby, or even with your toddler? If so, look forward to a completely different experience than traveling alone, with friends or as a couple. There’s no need to be cynical: traveling with your children is always a joy! But let’s be realistic and optimistic and say that it will simply be new.
And to better welcome this novelty, we need to prepare ourselves mentally for various eventualities. Here are our top tips:
Be patient: everything will take twice as long
Travelling with children can be a magical experience, but it also brings its own challenges. As a parent, you’ve probably already noticed that everything slows down. Once again, travel is no exception.
What used to take you a few minutes now takes twice as long, whether it’s going to the toilet, getting dressed or getting from point A to point B. And that’s not to mention the added difficulty of keeping everyone entertained and happy on long car or plane journeys.
When you’re in the know, you’re better prepared for eventualities, and you get more out of the moments of wonder. The ones where you rediscover the world through the eyes of your precious treasures, and create family memories that will follow you all your lives.
Slow down and slow down again
For a child, traveling is a real whirlwind of discovery and excitement. It’s a highly addictive mix for her little emotional world in the making. Unsurprisingly, he’s tired and irritable early in the day, refuses to nap, and is disoriented. That’s normal. Like you, he probably needs to adapt to jetlag.
To better guide your child through this new experience, consider doing things more slowly than usual. For example, structure your day to take more frequent breaks. Because skipping from one activity to another will increase your chances of dealing with cringes and other inevitable annoyances that rhyme with “tired child.”
Remain sensitive to routine
Creating a routine while traveling with children is easier said than done. But don’t forget that this is one of the most reassuring elements of their lives. Be prepared to avoid sudden changes, such as an activity preventing you from taking a nap, long flights, significant changes in mealtimes, etc.
How do I travel with a minor?
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Travelling with a minor requires proper identification and a letter of consent from the non-accompanying parents if you are travelling alone or with only one parent. Always check the specific regulations of the airline and destination regarding documents for minors.
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How to protect baby's ears on the plane?
At what age can a baby travel?
How old do you have to be to travel alone?
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Most airlines allow unaccompanied minors aged 5 to 14 to travel with special services, but rules vary. It is crucial to check specific airline policies. Adolescents over the age of 15 often don’t need these services but must carry the necessary identification.
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