Going somewhere internationally is a great way to help your kids learn about different cultures and to give them a better perspective about the world around them. Plus, it’s fun and gets you out of your comfort zone as well. It’s entirely possible to travel all around the world with your children in tow. Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you can’t go see the Eiffel Tower or explore the rainforest. There is so much beauty all around the world. But traveling internationally does come with some challenges. Here are some things to think about and some tips to help you plan your next international trip with kids.
Create Buffer Days
Having days to rest at each end of your trip will assist with overcoming jet lag and give you time to adjust. This can keep you from getting too cranky with your children who will also likely be cranky. Traveling to international destinations with kids is amazing for the whole family, but it’s important to consider how the travel will impact them. Being in a new place with a new time zone and with new foods can be overwhelming. A couple of buffer days when you get there and when you get home can help them process all these new things.
Get Global Entry
Waiting in line when you’re exhausted coming and going from a country is frustrating. Some people wait for hours in line at customs and border patrol to get into the country after a long trip. When you apply for global entry for you and your family you get to skip the long lines and head to a much smaller one when you come back into the United States. This is for low-risk passengers who don’t mind paying a little extra for convenience.
Pack a Lot of Snacks
You need snacks when you’re traveling with kids. Jet lag adds even more challenges when it comes to eating. Kids will be hungry at inconvenient times when you travel overseas, and you’ll need to have their favorite snacks on hand to help them until the next mealtime. Additionally, long airline flights mean that there is more time for them to get bored, want to run around, and need food. Sometimes airplane food isn’t the most desirable, especially for picky eaters. You’ll do best on the plane and when you’re at your international destination if you have plenty of snacks.
Bring Good Walking Shoes
In most other places around the world, there is amazing public transportation. You might find yourself going from buses to subway systems to trains all in one day depending on your plans. You’ll need a comfortable pair of walking shoes for everyone. You might be tempted to fill your suitcase with shoes that look amazing, but your feet, legs, and back won’t enjoy it if you don’t bring adequate shoes.
Don’t Overschedule Each Day
While you’re only at your destination for a limited amount of time, it’s important that you don’t overschedule your time each day. Plan one or two major things you want to do or see each day, but then leave space in your day for downtime or something spontaneous. Visiting a new country should help you explore and experience a new culture, but sometimes, it can be overwhelming, especially for kids. Give your kids time to rest and relax and process all the cool new things they are seeing. This can also help mitigate meltdowns and other issues you might have with kids in a new country.
Bring Activities for Them
Some kids get bored easily and let’s face it, not all of them are into seeing old buildings. You’ll do yourself and your child a favor when you offer them something fun to do when they are done looking before you are. You can still enjoy the sights in historic cities when you provide a few little activities to keep them busy. A book with a pencil to draw, a small toy, or if you’re into technology, a little time on a game can all work wonders. While you want them to see and experience the new place, their attention span won’t be as long as yours.