Do you get out and explore the world with your family or are you waiting til the little ones are older because you have serious fears of traveling with kids?
For many years, I’ve listened to parents talk about wanting to travel with their family but not doing so because they have anxiety and fear… on many different levels. Some of this anxiety can be chalked up to daily routine and mild discomfort concerns but some are more serious fears of traveling with kids, such as staying safe in foreign countries, immunization requirements, where to find medical help in the case of an emergency, and more.
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the top fears of traveling with kids, and put some minds at ease.
Immunizations – Nobody loves shots (and kids sometimes hate them more than adults do)! That’s why immunizations rank as one of the biggest fears of traveling with kids. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid travel that requires extra immunizations. As long as your family is up-to-date on their routine vaccinations (including Hep A & B and rabies), you should have nothing to worry about if you’re careful in picking your vacation destination. To date, my 3-year old son has been to a dozen countries and not had to have any extra immunizations for travel.
Safe Transportation – Staying safe when you travel extends beyond the airplane and destination choice. Don’t forget to either take your child’s car seat with you or have a rental car seat waiting at the airport car rental / tour agency. You do not want to get to your destination and have to take a taxi with no car seat. Even if it’s legal for children to ride without safety seats in your vacation destination, remember that car crashes are the leading cause of American deaths on foreign soil. Fortunately, the car seat issue should not be much of a worry once you realize that most airlines allow you to gate check your car seat for free and many car rental places will rent you one for a small extra cost.
Medical Help – It’s unlikely you’ll need medical help when you’re traveling but just in case, make a list of all the medical facilities in your vacation area. Being prepared should give you an extra piece of mind and let you act fast in case there is an emergency situation. When you arrive at your destination, you can also ask the locals or staff about emergency procedures. Don’t let the concern of medical help be one of your deterring fears of traveling with kids! Just choose your destination wisely, in countries with health care that’s up to American standards, if this is a worry to you. Great destination suggestions include Japan, Denmark, Ireland, Australia, and the UK.
Crime Abroad – it’s natural to feel less secure when you’re away from familiar turf but with a little advanced research, you can reassure yourself that you’ve chosen a safe place for your family to travel. Many many places in the world have much lower crime rates than the USA. Hopefully, knowing that and doing some crime rate checking will reduce your fears of traveling with kids outside our domestic borders. The best website to find up-to-date information on travel.state.gov. Here you can even sign-up for email alerts on any situation from weather to disease to violence that may occur in your vacation areas. Some of the safest places you can travel include Iceland, Singapore, Ireland, Japan, Cyprus, Switzerland, and Italy.
Food Safety – When you don’t have much traveling experience and are traveling with a family of young children, it may be best to choose destinations that have food and water safety that’s on par with the USA. There can be exceptions, however, as I’ve traveled with my son all through Central America without any problem. You should think about your personal awareness and your child’s level of development. If they’re young enough, you monitor all their food intake. If they’re old enough, they understand the proper procedures. There may be a grey middle area, though. Ultimately, if you are in complete control or your children realize that ‘don’t drink the water’ really means don’t drink the water, don’t brush your teeth with the water, don’t eat fruit, salads or veggies that have been washed with local water, and only use ice that is 100% from a processing plant… you should be fine.
Does this vacation prep work sound time consuming and complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Because of an amazing search feature that the CDC has on their travel destinations website, travel plans can be made with little to no stress. You’ll be completely informed on all the issues I mentioned above and more. You simply type in a country you’re interested in traveling to and click a few option boxes to include traveling with kids, or other needs (pregnancy, extended stay, medical needs, etc).
Do you have other fears of traveling with kids? We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below!