Preparing to travel abroad with your children may seem overwhelming for Canadian* residents. It is easy to think of every possible scenario of what could go wrong. They could get sick, they could be loud for hours on the plane, or they could use their sticky fingers to pull the hair of the person seated in front of you. While you may not be able to do anything to prevent that last scenario, there are things you can do to prepare for your trip. For families that live in Canada*, here are five tips to keep in mind when you travel out of the country with your kids.
1. Purchase Medical Travel Insurance
Purchasing medical travel insurance in Canada* for your entire family before you leave is an important step in preparing for your trip. Provincial and territorial government insurance coverage, such as Canada’s Government Health Insurance Plan* (GHIP) and OHIP if you are in Ontario, provide medical coverage for any services you need while in Canada*. You’ll need to choose the right plan for you as some only cover up to ten percent of medical costs you incur while abroad. If you or your children get sick or injured and require medical care while traveling abroad, you may be responsible for most if not the entire cost of that care.
2. Get Your Family’s Documents in Order
You should apply for passports at least three months before your trip to allow enough time for processing. Some countries require passports to be valid for three or even six months past the date of your return, so if you and your family already have passports, make sure to check the expiration dates.
Parental Consent Letter
If you and your children will be traveling without their other parent, you will have to bring a notarized letter from the other parent stating that you have consent to take the children out of the country. This is required for any children who are traveling abroad without one or both of their parents or guardians. In cases where your children’s other parent cannot be reached to get consent, you will need to get a court order stating that you have permission to travel abroad with your child.
Make sure to take copies of your children’s birth certificates with you. The Government of Canada* recommends that children who are traveling with only one parent have a long-form birth certificate since the child’s passport will not include the names of the parents. This long-form birth certificate may be used to show proof of the parent-child relationship and is especially important if your children have a different surname than you do.
Canadian* passport holders can travel to 172 countries without obtaining a visa, while other countries require travelers to obtain a visa upon arrival or before entering the country. These requirements may change, so it is important to check ahead of time to make sure you have the proper documentation.
Other Supporting Documents
Other supporting documents may include divorce papers, custody orders, or a death certificate if your children’s other parent is deceased. Make sure to check with the consulate or embassy of the country you are visiting for more information.
3. Update Your Family’s Immunizations
Depending on where you are going, the immunization requirements may vary, so make sure your family’s vaccinations are up-to-date before your trip. The Government of Canada’s* website provides information on which vaccinations are required in specific countries, but it is a good idea to check with the consulate or embassy of your destination country to make sure you have current information.
4. Create a Travel Activity Bag
A little preparation may help prevent children from becoming cranky or bored while on the plane. If your children are preschoolers or older, you could provide them with a small bag of “goodies” they can use during the trip to stay occupied. This could be anything from a few books or coloring supplies to handheld gaming devices.
5. Talk about Your Trip with Your Children
You could purchase travel books with photos of your destination country and go through them together as you talk about some things you may see and do during your trip. If you will be traveling to a country where residents speak a language unfamiliar to your children, try teaching them simple words and phrases. Getting your children excited about your upcoming trip can help alleviate potential anxiety or confusion while teaching them about the culture and languages of another country.
Traveling abroad with children may be challenging, but with some careful planning, you and your family can relax and enjoy your time together no matter how far away you decide to go.
Featured image source: Pixabay
*This sponsored article only applies to Canadian residents and does not pertain to Healthy Moms Mag readers.