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Travelling Internationally with Kids: Top Tips

By Bidvest Bank
Travelling with family is the stuff memories are made of. And international travel is an even bigger privilege, and not something that should be taken up without the proper amount of planning. Because going overseas with kids in tow is totally different to backpacking on your own or going away as a couple: you need to be organised, so you all get the most out of your experience.

Here are some things to consider:

1. Packing

For starters, double check what baggage allowance your infant or children are allowed and use it to your advantage! On many airlines infants are typically given the same allowance as adults, which is good as the things they need tend to take up a lot of space.

If you’re packing for older children who can carry their own backpack, let them choose their items for the plane such as a warm top, books to read, tissues and a suitable game or two. The kids can wear these on their backs while you’re on the move and their hands will be free to hold tightly onto yours. Airports are busy places so if each adult can use one hand to pull their own wheeled suitcase, they will have the other hand free to hold a little one’s hand!

Also check that you have all the correct birth certificates and required letters for travelling with your children, as per the latest requirements from Home Affairs, as well as passports and visas.

2. Aeroplanes or trains

First of all, do some research into which aeroplane you’ll be flying on, e.g. an Airbus A350. Check how it is structured and which seats are most suitable for babies or kids, including where the bassinets are and how close you are to the toilets – request these seats upfront when booking. Try and limit your layovers and choose airports where there are airport lounges, such as the Bidvest lounges.

Once you’re on the plane, ensure you’re prepared for those 20 minutes before take-off and landing when you can’t use electronic entertainment, and have snacks or sticker books to keep your kids busy. If they’re babies, give them liquid to drink while you’re taking off and landing to help alleviate pressure on their ears, while older kids can chew on chewy sweets.

If travelling on a train, try and book forward facing seats so they don’t get motion sickness. Only book seats in the quiet carriages if you’re 100% certain that your children can remain quiet for the entire trip. 

3. Plan well, but under schedule your days

It can be tempting to try and fit in as much as possible but the reality is that kids get tired, and rushing from sight to sight will only exhaust everybody. Choose one main activity you want to do each day, e.g. see Big Ben and walk over London Bridge and use the rest of the day to relax or do something spontaneous. 

In terms of goals for your trip, ask each child for one thing they REALLY want to do on the trip. For example, one child may desperately want to see the Natural History Museum and another may want to see a show at the theatre. Make those dreams become a reality and watch their faces light up.

4. Always pack snacks and water

It’s no use telling a hungry or thirsty child that they can have a drink in 30 minutes. They’re thirsty now and who knows when you’ll find a nearby shop! So always pack enough snacks in your day pack to stave off hunger pangs, as well as water bottles filled with water you bought beforehand (or got from the tap at your hotel). Ice creams are also a great incentive to get them to walk a little further!

Got the travel bug now? Bidvest Bank’s MasterCard® World Currency Card™ provides an easy solution to banking while you’re overseas, plus you can fix the exchange rate before you go. You can also order your currency online and have it delivered to your door.