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Tips for Travel with Kids

Vaccinate your child prior to your departure

If you are traveling to a foreign country for the first time with your family, you might have to start planning at least a few weeks prior to your departure date, because there are always countless things to take care of. Besides the shopping, packing and bookings, your top priority should be to ensure complete health and safety of your kids during your trip....

Kids between the ages of 4-12 require several immunization shots to keep harmful diseases at bay at all times. The first thing to do is to book an appointment with the family physician or child care expert who will guide you through the vaccination procedure explaining which vaccines should be given to your children before they travel.

It is critical to ensure that your children have received the following vaccines: Hepatitis A, B, Rotavirus, Diphtheria, Tetanus, PCV, Hib, PPSV23, IPV, Influenza, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella and MCV. Your physician will guide you on which vaccines can be given to your kids at their age before traveling. With the immunization provided by these vaccines, you and your family will remain safe from dangerous diseases wherever you go.

It is also wise to do a bit of research yourself. Log on to different websites and read articles related to the current health and sanitation conditions of the country you are traveling to for a comprehensive insight into what you need to know. Also, use online maps to locate all health care facilities and hospitals in the vicinity of the hotel where you will be staying in case of emergencies.

A good resource for further information is the UK NHS travel website at http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/

Be aware of TSA Security Screening for Children

TSA is a specialized system for screening travellers. Parents must inform their children about the TSA and their security procedures before embarking on their trips to help them understand and stay calm during the checking. The TSA security screening rules for children differ from those that apply to adults. Some of the most prominent features of the screening include: ...

  • Children below the age of 12 can keep their shoes on during the screening
  • Parents can accompany the children during the screening
  • Strollers and infant carriers are not allowed through the screening machine. Passengers are advised to carry their infants through the detector
  • All bags, toys and other items that the children may be carrying will also be screened. Parents are advised to let their kids know that all their belongings will be returned to them once the screening is over
  • Travel equipment including carriers, baby car seats, strollers, slings and similar items are all screened individually
  • Items that are too large to fit through the metal detector will be inspected and screened by TSA security officers manually
  • All security officers present must be informed in case your child suffers from disabilities or medical conditions that require the usage of mobility aids.
  • Children suffering from disabilities will not be required to leave their wheelchairs or mobility aids, and will be given a pat-down search by a security officer. The equipment itself will be inspected as well.
  • Security officers will never attempt to remove your child from his/her wheelchair or mobility aid at the time of screening. Parents may manage this task themselves, and can remain with their children at the time of screening.
Keeping your kids informed about security at Airports

Though traveling means a well-deserved break from the hectic academic and work routine, time for relaxation and tranquillity - it can prove to be quite hectic at the same time especially if you are accompanied with infants.

As parents, it is important to list all the things that your child may need during the journey. Apart from the diapers, baby food and clothing, you will have to take your own strollers, car seats and other equipment to help your baby travel in comfort. Also check out some traveling cribs, they are very handy and a good thing to have with you while traveling. Making a checklist of your baby's needs and requirements before packing has its own advantages....

  • It allows you to save a considerable amount of money when you are equipped with all necessities and do not have to purchase the same in a different country using foreign currency
  • It allows you to save time when you don't have to search for items at the time of need - vacations are generally planned for short durations and you probably wouldn't want to spend half of the time searching for a car seat to strap your baby in!
  • It also ensures a safe, pleasant and enjoyable experience for you and your child, which can otherwise turn disastrous with never-ending tantrums and anxiety breakdowns.
  • Using a car seat, stroller and other traveling equipment that he/she is already familiar with will make your child feel at home even in a different country!
  • Remember if your little ones are not comfortable during the trip, it is likely that your vacation can turn into exactly the opposite of what you dreamed!
Expect the Unexpected (diapers, wipes, medications, baby cloths)

There can never be enough supply of diapers or baby wipes, every time you think you got enough from the superstore to last a whole week, you run out faster than you can say 'diaper'. Next time when you are planning a family vacation, keep it in mind to avoid hassle and embarrassment.....

  • Diapers (3 per day for 7 days)
  • Baby wipes (4 packets)
  • Medication (analgesics, antibiotics, cough syrups, fever medication, drugs for gastric troubles and other medication that may have been prescribed by your physician). Make sure you're only carrying the medication that you are most likely to use on your trip so as to not get into trouble with airport security.
  • Baby cloths (at least 2-3 for each day of your trip)
  • Baby bottles, sippers, bibs etc.

When you have everything you need for your child in your bag, you will not have to stop at stores every other day in a foreign country to refresh your supply of diapers!

Traveling tips for would-be mothers

If you are expecting the arrival of a little bundle of joy into the world, and planning a foreign trip at the same time there are a few things you must keep in mind.

While many women get nervous about traveling during pregnancy, there really is nothing much to worry about if you have taken care of a few important things. Following are some helpful tips for a would-be mother who is planning a fun get away from her busy schedule: ...

  • Book an appointment with your physician: Before you book your tickets, visit your general physician or gynaecologist and inform them about your plans. They are most likely to give you some important instructions, or prescribe medication for the trip.
  • Comfortable shoes: Just about every foreign trip involves plenty of walking - so make sure you only pack shoes that are comfortable and suitable for covering large distances at a stretch.
  • Alert flight attendants: Always alert the attendants on your flight about your condition and they will take extra measures to make your journey a safer, more comfortable one
  • Drink plenty of water: It is critical to consume as much water as you possibly can to avoid getting dehydrated on your trip. Carry your own flask or bottle of water to avoid stopping for and purchasing water every now and then
  • A healthy diet: Remember that you are not just responsible for your health, but also that of the little one you will soon be bringing into the world. Avoid snacking or skipping meals during your trip and consume nutritious, healthy meals to stay fit
Travelling with infants

One can be in peace if travelling alone without a kid but an addition of a baby especially when it's an infant poses a dire need of some responsibilities. A child definitely makes your trip even more enjoyable by the beautiful moments that he/she brings along but you can't stay away from that extra luggage and that extra planning you'll have to take care of quite before your departure date. Here are some easy suggestions to make travelling with an infant a memorable one....

  • Don't rush for many locations on the same day: this is one aspect that parents usually tend to ignore and end up carrying around an annoyed baby. Planning one activity a day will make it easier to make any last minute changes.
  • Never miss your baby's favourite snacks and a water bottle. This can save you from a lot of hassle and make it easy for you to cater your child's needs during the flight or even when you're out on an adventure. Some items like breadsticks, biscuits, juice packs, dried fruit and small boxes of cereals are best to carry along.
  • Camping, a family park or a simple beach trip is always an appropriate choice when traveling with a small child. This keeps your child away from any anxiety and makes it safer to enjoy as well.
  • Always carry travel gear items like baby chair, a perambulator (push chair), or a baby sling.
  • Take plenty supplies of bed and bath items. You never know when you can even use a pair of socks to put over the basin taps in case you need to bathe your baby in the sink.
  • Another very organized yet optional approach is to familiarize your baby with the destination by using some interesting pictures. This can make it even more exciting for the baby to correlate when on the actual location.
Baby-proofing your room: a step to make your trip fun yet safe

Thinking that everything is all set for your most awaited adventure or a long planned trip will definitely prove wrong unless you’ve prepared a checklist to verify your baby’s safety at your destination. It’s easy to find a room in a hotel beholding your favourite view, but at the same time it may not be that simple to secure your child and your pocket from any damage. Hence it’s imperative to baby proof your room using certain measures....

  • To prevent your baby from all the possible risks you need to think of every move that your child makes back at home. Literally search like your baby would do and start changing locations of every sharp, glass and metal items. It’s wiser to place them to higher or unreachable spots or request them to be removed prior to your arrival.
  • Don’t forget to lock those low level drawers as you never know when those tiny fingers could get caught.
  • Kids love to grab those coloured wires or to roam around electric sockets. Make sure you’re creative enough to divert their attention and if possible it’s best to cover all such areas.
  • Sharp edges are always a source of threat for you little one. Always move out any piece of furniture with sharp corners or get some covers or duct tape to cushion those parts.
  • Keep the doors of your bathroom and balcony closed at all times as you never know when they can sneak in and put themselves in trouble.
  • It’s better to keep any expensive hotel property, even if it’s a book, far away from your child’s reach as you’ll never like that to be added up in you bill just for any lame reason.
Step ahead for your child’s protection: Get a child Locator

The era that we’re currently living in, keeping hold of your child’s arm at all times is an agreeable way neither for you nor your kid. Being a parent you may think that this is the most efficient way to keep an eye on your kid but this might just not be the case. It’s better to go for a modern technology such as a child locator which is now available in various appealing designs for your kid. To decide what’s appropriate for your situation it’s better to be well aware of the different options you’ll have when getting this device. Two main technologies used are:....

  • Radio Frequency Technology: less expensive, easier to use and well suited for short distance tracking.
  • Assisted GPA technology: this requires a monthly fee including set-up and service charges as well but more useful for a wider coverage due to cellular technology.

On the other hand one should realize that no matter what, these technologies can never replace your own proactive approach towards your child’s supervision and thus it’s not a wise approach to completely rely on a child locator device. Sometimes you just tend to neglect other possibilities like bad weather, restricted range, and low battery that can render the device useless.

Supervising your kids through every possible way

Planning an adventure with your kids adds a lot of excitement to your trip but requires a whole new dimension of preventive measures to be considered to assure their safety at all times. Having kids that actually listen to your instructions might be a blessing but still this doesn’t put your mind at ease when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. There is always a risk of them wandering off or getting separated in a crowd. Hence it’s essential to discuss these possibilities with your kids and have an action plan ready in case this happens....

Prepare a set of handy contact information for every child to easily place in their pockets and always add your hotel details, like a visiting card. Moreover nowadays we can easily provide our kids with their own cell phones that only have one or two important contacts saved for fixed dialling.

Supervision can get a bit trickier when moving around using public transportation. Here you can guide your child to remember the place of visit or a common final spot. In this way you’ll know where to look for and reconvene at that location.

A child doesn’t only require out-door supervision but in-door safety is also a part of your responsibility. Take note of any easy access doors or windows which may put your child under any risk of getting astray. Unattended shower is just not an option no matter what. Sometimes even the slightest thing that you overlook may end up creating havoc.

Check about seats for children

Having a bit more room can make all the difference when travelling with younger children. It is advisable to contact the airline (or just check the details if they are on the airline website) before travel to see what can be offered if you are travelling with young ones.

Airline policies vary but many will assign front row / bulkhead seats with a bit more space, or at least allow you to pre-book seats together for a reduced charge, or even for free.