Are you planning to take your kids on an international trip? It can be a daunting task, but with the right preparation and guidance, it can be a rewarding and unforgettable experience for the whole family. Here are some tips from experts Bruce Kirkby and Christine Pitkanen, hosts of Travel Channel's Big Crazy Family Adventure, Eric Stoen, founder of the online family travel site Travel Babbo, and Joshua Greenberg, a family travel expert at Protravel, a New York travel company. To begin with, all children need passports when they travel abroad, even babies. The United States Department of State has comprehensive instructions on how to apply for a passport for your child. New applications or renewals for children under 16 must be made in person, either at a post office or at a passport acceptance center.
You can find the passport acceptance center closest to you on the Department of State's website. When organizing activities for your trip, try to stick to your children's normal naps and bedtime routines as much as possible. Invest in a portable noise machine and an opaque travel shutter to make the space more familiar. Pack a comforting crib sheet that smells like home. This will help your children feel more comfortable in their new environment. When selecting destinations, Bruce and Christine suggest looking for unexpected places that will excite your kids.
Eric Stoen recommends selecting guides who are knowledgeable about the area and can keep your children engaged. Joshua Greenberg suggests talking to family members before the trip about the activities that interest you most and how you plan to stick to your children's schedules (or not).Finally, when booking flights, consider several airports and try to take direct flights if possible. The more connections you have, the more delays and travel problems you are likely to encounter.