Family on a trip to the water's edge

10 tips for travelling with kids

Parenting at home every day is a challenge in and of itself. But parenting during a family vacation abroad is an even greater adventure, especially the first few times. To make sure that the whole family gets the most out of the experience and can truly enjoy the vacation, here are some tips to help your trip go as smoothly as possible.

Make the most of your family vacation

  1. Explain the trip to your kids
    If you have young children, take some time before you leave to explain that travelling involves being in a new environment, trying different foods and that they may experience some home sickness. Knowing what to expect will help them adapt to their new environment and it might avoid any shock along the way.
  2. Pick the right kind of trip
    Every member of the family should be involved in choosing the destination. Make sure you know what everyone hopes and expects to get out of the family trip. A lot of things could affect the destination choice:
      • Your level of experience travelling with children
      • The type of trip you see for your family
      • The weather
      • Safety abroad
      • Access to medical care at the destination
  3. Pack in advance Travelling with kids can significantly increase the size of your bags. Take the time to think about what you need to bring so you can reduce the number of bags you’ll end up carrying. This will make getting around much easier. If you are travelling with young children, before you leave, check whether you will have easy access to essentials like baby formula or diapers at the destination. If not, stock up on any items you will need.
  4. Book accommodations before you get there Making your reservations before you leave will help save time and provide peace of mind once you arrive. Make sure that children are permitted before you reserve. Also consider asking whether extra beds and/or cribs are available if you need them.
  5. Make sure you have all the right travel documents All children must have a passport to travel to another country, so make sure to apply in time for your departure. If only one of the children’s parents is travelling with them, make sure to have a letter of consent from the other parent. This applies to anyone under the age of 18 or 19, depending on their province or territory of residence at the time of travel.
  6. Prepare for flying
    Before you reserve plane tickets, consider calling the airline to ask a few questions, such as:
      • Up to what age do children fly for free?
      • Can I check strollers, car seats and playpens for free? Can I bring the stroller up to the departure gate?
      • Is there a space in the plane recommended for families and are bassinets provided?
      • Do you offer a child restraint system adapted to the size of my child?
    When making your plans, remember to select your seats in advance to avoid being separated from your family, and opt for direct flights to minimize transportation. If you have one or more layovers, make sure to give you and your family plenty of time to get to your connecting flight(s).
  7. Be health-conscious To make sure that you and your family bring back nothing but the best memories, find out how to stay healthy before your departure. This will help you prevent certain health problems and be better prepared in case you run into a problem abroad. Depending on your destination, you may not be able to find the same medications you can easily access in Canada. You may want to pack a first aid kit as a precaution.
  8. Expect the unexpected Travelling comes with its fair share of surprises and new experiences. No matter how well you plan, setbacks happen, and you’ll need to be flexible. Fortunately, an unexpected event is not always a bad thing, and it can even add a little flavour to your trip!
  9. Take out travel insurance If you want to travel with complete peace of mind, taking out travel insurance that will cover you and your family for the duration of your trip abroad is a must. Different types of coverage are available, depending on your particular needs. Specialists from Blue Cross travel assistance services are available 24/7 all year long and will take care of you if you run into unexpected emergencies during your trip.
  10. Relax and enjoy the moment Vacation can help you catch up on rest and relaxation. Make sure you plan a little time for yourself between any scheduled activities. Remember that you’re also on vacation to have fun and spend quality time with your family. Keep in mind that your trip should be full of joy and happy memories. Don’t worry too much and live in the moment!

Happy travelling!

Gabrielle Asselin