So, what tips do we have for your family travels?
- Do a quick check of all of the carry-on bags right before you leave the house. Kids have a funny way of sneaking things into their backpacks when you’re not looking. Grandmas are equally guilty.
- Take a picture of your kids every morning with you cell phone. In case they get lost you have the most up-to-date picture of them in the exact clothes they are wearing.
- Plan activities for the car and plane rides. If you don’t have room to pack actual games, you can make games out of seeing how many different state license plates or certain restaurants you see.
- Pack your kids’ clothes in a zip top gallon bag including socks and undies for each day. That way you don’t have to spend time each morning figuring out what to wear and the kids (and Dad) can easily get dressed while Mom gets everything else ready.
- Don’t pack your bags too full on the way out the door. As much as you say you’ll resist the temptation to buy tchotchkes, your children will look at you with those big eyes and you will fail. Miserably. Leave room for these lovely treasures to get packed in your suitcases for the trip home.
- While you can’t bring your favorite drinks onto planes, you can bring snacks. Pack plenty of snack bags for your entire trip so no one gets cranky due to hungriness.
- Grin and bear it. While you’re sure to drive each other nuts on your trip, as soon as you get home, only happy memories will remain. Studies have been done that show that as adults, we rarely remember the presents we were given, but almost always remember family vacations. You are giving your family the best gift of all as you create these memories that will last a lifetime.
What about tips for international travel?
- Be sure your passport’s expiration date is 6 months later than your return date. Some countries will not let you enter with a shorter expiration date.
- Pack carefully. Don’t pack 3 bags per person if you are planning on traveling via train, bus, or renting a car. That is a lot of luggage to transport that may or may not fit in the allotted space or will be hard to transport from train to train.
- Bring extra copies of your passports in case they are lost or stolen. Makes it easier to get another one from the local embassy. Leave a copy at home for friends or relatives too.
- Feel free to register your travel with the local embassy in case there is a national emergency (riots, natural disaster, etc.) so the embassy knows to help get you out of the country.
- Purchase travel insurance. I can’t stress this enough. One missed flight, delayed cruise ship, broken leg, or anything else will quickly derail your travels and the costs will add up quickly. I highly recommend (if not demand) that my international clients and those traveling on a cruise purchase this prior to departure. It covers missed flights, trip delays, lost luggage, accidents and illness and even death. It really is peace of mind for you and me at a minimal cost.