Got a faraway destination in mind for your next family vacation? As any parents of young children would guess, it’s a good idea to plan in advance before your departure date.
Know before you go
If you’ve got a baby in tow, we recommend researching the availability of baby products in your country of destination – convenience stores, especially ones that are open all night, may be scarce where you’re going. Stock up on diapers and other necessities before you go.
If you need to bring any prescription or over-the-counter medicines while you travel, make sure that you pack enough to cover your entire stay. If you’re unsure about bringing certain drugs overseas, check with the consulate or embassy of the country you’re traveling to so there’s no uncertainty. Check with your doctor about obtaining a letter that states the generic names of any drugs you’ll be carrying, along with a note indicating they are for personal use only.
Packing and passports
Some airlines allow extra carry-on space, checked luggage, and a collapsible stroller for children under 2 years, even if they don’t have a booked seat. Some airlines will also provide you with a travel cot for infants. If you booked a seat for your child, you may be allowed to bring a car seat with a seal of official government approval on board. However, it’s best to check with your airline’s specific policies in advance.
Even though your baby can’t sign off on any of his official documents, it’s still necessary to get a passport for every member of your family. Applying for a passport requires a good amount of paperwork and waiting. If the child has two guardians, both must be present to sign the application. If one parent or guardian is unable to show up in person, you’ll need a notarized Statement of Consent signed by him or her. You’ll need your child’s original birth certificate with a raised seal and signature and additional documentation if your child was born outside of the U.S. For more information on passport procedures, refer to the Travel Department’s guidelines for minors under age 16. It’s suggested that you apply at least ten weeks before traveling to allow for adequate processing time.
It may also be a good idea to keep copies of your child’s birth certificate, divorce or custody papers, or any other documents that prove you are the child’s legal guardian with you while you travel. If you have any concerns, check with a legal professional before traveling.
Are you planning to use childcare facilities overseas? Check with your hotel or resort to see what kinds of services they offer. If you find a daycare, nanny, or babysitting situation while on vacation, here are some factors to consider:
- The ratios of staff to children — for infants, a ratio of 1 adult to 4 children is recommended
- Certification of the staff in first aid and emergency procedures
- The staff or business’ liability insurance and accreditation standards for childcare providers
- The hiring and screening procedures for staff