While many families make it a yearly event to travel abroad on vacations, this may be the first time ever you travel with your children. It’s an exciting time, but don’t get caught up in last minute delays and frustrations. It is recommended that if you’ve never traveled to foreign nations with your children, you start planning at least nine months in advance. Here is some of what you should understand, along with a few tips for making the planning stages easier.
Passports Always Come First
Did you know that many countries won’t allow entry unless you have held a valid passport for at least six months? It is suggested that you apply for your children’s passports at least nine months to a year before you travel because it can take months for a new passport to be issued. You may have a passport, but how close is it to expiration? If it will expire within the next nine months, you should renew your passport online to expedite the process.
On his LinkedIn profile, the CEO of govWorks.com, Adam Boalt says, “We’re eliminating the bureaucracy of government application processes…. What once took months and weeks, can now be done in minutes with the help of govWorks.”
Even so, applications for new passports will almost always take longer than the renewal process. Add that time to the six-month clause and you can see why you need to apply or renew at least nine months in advance of your planned family vacation abroad with the kids.
The Purpose of Vaccinations
The CDC recommends that you consult with a travel medicine doctor, who will consult with your pediatrician on what shots are necessary overseas. Some are country dependent and others are required of all travelers. If nothing else, you will want to protect your children from diseases which have been eliminated in the U.S. but are still prevalent in many other countries worldwide. Check with the information on the CDC website to better understand the necessity of safeguarding your kids on family vacations overseas.
Save Money on Advance and Group Bookings
Whether you are looking to save money on the cost of airfare or on lodgings when you arrive, you can often get great discounts when traveling in a group or booking well in advance. Be aware of the fact that many resort areas overseas have high and low seasons. If you plan to travel abroad and would like the cheapest rates possible, try to book your travel package during off-seasons. Sometimes the discounted prices are half what you’d pay in high season, and with an advance discount, you’ll save even more. Spend some of that savings buying souvenirs for the kids to bring home.
A Final Note on Preparing the Kids
Another benefit from planning well in advance is the quality time you’ll spend with your kids, teaching them about the country or countries they’ll visit. Older kids must be taught variables in etiquette and customs while younger children can look at pictures and watch videos of those mysterious places they’ll be visiting. If you spend time before your trip, it’s easier to reduce culture shock, even for little people. Have fun on your family vacation abroad – just remember to start planning well in advance.