Travel in itself can be hard, but it’s even harder with children. Younger children are more prone to airsickness, carsickness, and food-related illnesses. In addition, children get bored and tired faster than adults. Here are some things you can do to ensure the best possible trip with your family.

Vaccinations for Foreign Travel
Your trip begins before you even leave the house. First, you or your children may need immunizations or vaccinations. This will be especially important if you’re leaving the country.

  • The official timetable for travel vaccines is six weeks before you leave.
  • Different countries and climates have their own unique strains of illness.
  • An unprotected immune system could spell disaster for your vacation.
  • Consult your doctor on what vaccinations you will need for your trip.

First Aid Kit
When packing your bags, make sure you also pack at least one first-aid kit.

  • This kit should include any prescription medications, antacid and antidiarrheal medicine, pain medicines such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, bandages, gauze and tape, scissors, tweezers, a thermometer, hand wipes and anything else you think your family might need.
  • It is a good idea to do some research about doctors and insurance in the country you will be visiting.

Keep Healthy Snacks Handy
When traveling with children, it is best to bring a wide variety of nonperishable snacks and some simple, quiet toys to keep them occupied.

  • Some things to occupy your children include books, a movie on the parent’s cell phone, a small notebook and crayons for drawing, puzzles or a simple game of I Spy.
  • Snacks like crackers, raisins, granola bars, pretzels and dry cereal are ideal for children.
  • It is important to have familiar foods for your children, especially in the event that they react poorly to whatever local cuisine you purchase.

When you arrive at your destination, there are still things to be wary of.

  • Be careful when choosing where to eat. Well-cooked, steaming hot food is the safest to try.
  • Only drink water from sealed bottles, and avoid ice. The same goes for brushing your teeth, which should be done with bottled water.
  • Always wash your hands before and after eating.

Travel Light
Packing is often the most dreaded part of any vacation. Both over-packing and under-packing can complicate your trip, and you can be charged for extra baggage if you are taking a plane, bus or train. If using these particular modes of transportation, you will need one main bag, usually a suitcase, and a smaller carry-on bag.

  • Make sure you have your name and phone number in both bags, and copies of passports and travel documents in every bag.
  • Additionally, it is wise to keep a back-up cell phone and cash in your suitcase, and one set of clothes in the bottom of your carry-on bag. This will lessen the blow in the case of loss or theft.
  • Be aware that airlines often prohibit pocket knives, nail clippers, large bottles of liquid and other things you might take for granted when packing. If possible, research the airline’s rules and regulations before you go to the airport.
  • When shopping abroad, don’t buy anything the airline will deem unsafe and confiscate. If traveling with a baby or toddler, bring unassembled bottles and sippy cups.

You should book your hotel and plane tickets months before you arrive at your destination. This will ensure you the greatest deals, especially if you’re traveling in the middle of the week or staying at a hotel during the off-season. Additionally, some airlines tend to overbook their flights, so by purchasing your tickets as early as possible, you can get the best seats.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Katlyn Lytle Rushing, PA-C