There aren’t that many places on this earth I wouldn’t explore by myself, but it is a whole other decision with my child. I look at 5 different things before picking a destination.
1.Always check travel advisories, each country issues out a wealth of info about other countries, whether it is on State Department, Foreign Affairs, or Foreign Office, there is a great deal of information, and it is updated regularly. The political situation is really important to me, and should be important for everyone when they travel. My home country isn’t going to come to my rescue if I knowingly put myself and my family in danger. So do check in, do your research.
2. Water, yeah, I always check what water to buy before leaving. It sounds insane, but in some countries where the water is not safe to drink, bottled water is sold that is unsafe, you need to know which brand is safe to drink and where to buy it. It takes about 10 minutes to find the info online, and it saves a heck of a lot of trouble down the road.
3. Make sure all your child’s shots are up to date. Depending on where you are going, doctor’s who are up to date on travel info will also give you a prescription or 2 to fill out before leaving in case of getting sick while traveling. Many will look at me strangely, but having been sick with pretty much every illness I could possibly get while abroad, I always caution on the safer rather than be sorry later.
4. Lay out all the necessities for carry-on a day before. I split everthing into piles, like what to pack to occupy my son for 24 hours in a metal tube, and a pile of emergency extra’s, like extra t-shirts, and a socks. I also like to think about the other end of the journey, like food. My carry-on is probably the most important piece of luggage. The last time we traveled, we had been traveling for 24 hours, arrived at our destination at 11am, and promptly fell asleep at 3pm, waking up at 2am with a very hungry child! My piece of advice: Always travel with 2 ramen noodles! Yeah, you think I am insane, but if it weren’t for the ramen noodles, peanut M&M’s, Pringles, crackers, and christmas trail mix. We would have been screwed at 2am. The ramen noodles was a trick I learned from a colleague, who never left home without a package!
5. Talk to your child about the process of travelling before heading out the door. We have gone through security so many times, but each time, I spend 10 minutes talking to my son before going to the airport. Going through security is not a fun process for anyone, let alone a child. You would be surprised how much it eases his mind.