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Traveling
                                                                   Abroad
                                                                             with Kids
                                                                                                                                  BY    JANET GROENE




                                                                                                        Passport processing takes forever. Start early,
                                                                                                   use your local post office if possible, and things
                                                                                             go fastest if both parents apply together. If time is
                                                                                     short, deal with an expediter such as G3Visas and Passports,
                                                                                   Inc. (www.G3visas.com). Their offices are in major cities and they
                                                                                  also work via FedEx. Summer Jenkins at G3 says visas are required
                                                                              by some countries, sometimes for adults only and sometimes for
                                                                             everyone. That requires even more advance planning. Check ahead.




T
         hings have changed since your parents took you on your
         first trip outside the United States. Today, you need to know        ASSURING CREATURE COMFORTS
         exactly what your own family must do before, during and                 Your family’s health and safety come first. There’s no need here
         perhaps after the trip.                                             for a checklist. Mommy blogs are filled with them. Just go to any
                                                                             good infant/children’s department and look for things you’ll need for
LEGAL ENTANGLEMENTS
    First, identity regulations have been tightened immensely. Because of
child trafficking, parental abduction and the war on terror, authorities
look carefully at everyone including infants and children. Not only do
                                                                                     ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE
children need their own passports in most cases, (see http://travel.state.
gov) adults need documentation proving who they are and whether
they have rights to take the children across a national border.
                                                                                 T   ravel insurance policies range from near-worthless to med-evac plans
                                                                                     that fly you home from anywhere in the world in a fully staffed air
                                                                                 ambulance. A four-year-old girl was flown home to Ohio from Mongolia with
    When one parent is traveling, he or she needs written, notarized             high fever and a respiratory infection. The cost would have been $121,000
permission from the other to take the child into or out of the country.          but it was covered by the family’s $385-a-year policy from MedJet Assist.
If divorce is involved you also need copies of divorce and custody                     Travel agents offer trip cancellation, trip interruption and many other
papers. Mischelle Davis, a step-mom, also carries a copy of her                  policies, but read the fine print. Here’s just one example of how small
marriage certificate proving she’s married to her step-child’s father.            words make a big difference. You book an expensive cruise and buy trip
In many locales, non-parents also need notarized permission to get               cancellation insurance. Then your aunt has a stroke and, as her sole
medical treatment for a minor.                                                   caregiver, you must cancel or postpone the cruise. Some policies cover
    What used to be an innocent trip to Canada, the Bahamas or                   any medical emergency, some cover only emergencies involving ticketed
Mexico with Grandma now becomes an international incident. It’s not              passengers, and some cover next-of-kin such as a mother or brother but not
required but is smart also to bring copies of birth certificates to prove         aunts or cousins. Some policies provide a full refund, some cover only the
parentage and citizenship, or to help when replacing a lost or stolen            cost of re-booking. Some homeowner insurance and car insurance cover
passport. All papers should be safeguarded. Have backup copies with              travel concerns, but check to see if they apply outside the U.S.
you and kept safely at home.

16 Houston Family Magazine | May 2010                                                                                        www.HoustonFamilyMagazine.com
ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE
                                          A    mother with severe headaches baffled doctors until she mentioned she’d
                                                just returned from South America. The doctor knew that a rare form of
                                          meningitis was raging in the area she had visited. She recovered, thanks to
                                          prompt diagnosis and treatment. If anyone in your family becomes ill after a
                                          trip, tell the doctor where you’ve been. It could be a vital clue to diseases that
                                          don’t occur in your hometown or to deep-vein thrombosis, which can occur
                                          after a long flight.



                                        your travel, your kids and your destination. You might need, say, a kit
                                        for diaper changing on dirty surfaces, a combination car seat/stroller
                                        (great for airplanes too) or special gear for a rainy climate, extreme
                                        cold or tropical heat.
                                            Update immunizations including tetanus shots for Mom and Dad.
                                        Any other prophylaxis recommended by your doctors, such as malaria
                                        preventive?. With your pediatrician’s help, put together a first aid
                                        kit for the child and the destination. (Itchy bites? Sun screen?
                                        Jellyfish stings? Motion sickness?)

                                        HOW CHEAP IS TOO CHEAP?
                                            After her child awoke in Europe with a scary, 2 a.m. fever, author
                                        Meryl Pearlstein recommends going first class. She was glad to be
                                        in a four-star hotel with 24-hour front desk, English language skills
                                        and doctors on call. At dirt-cheap places you may be on your own
                                        during emergencies, unable to speak the language or find an ER,
                                        she warns.
                                            Philip Farina (www.farina-associates.com) is a leading authority
                                        on hotel security. He recommends staying at hotels that have a
                                        24-hour security staff, one that doesn’t perform any other duties such
                                        as delivering pizza that comes to the front desk. In most (but not all)
                                        cases, better hotels also have better security.
                                            Here are additional tips on international travel with children.
                                            ■ Many nations require vaccinations for yellow fever, hepatitis A
                                        and B, typhoid and/or rabies, says Corinne McDermott, founder of
                                        Have Baby Will Travel. Are such shots right for your family?
                                            ■ Jody Halsted of (www.familyrambling.com) recommends
                                        taking an inexpensive umbrella stroller, even for children who are
                                        a bit oversize. It’s easily gate checked, comes in handy for all sorts of
                                        hauling tasks, and you’re not out much money if it’s damaged
                                        or stolen.
                                            ■ Don’t expect North American-style handicap access overseas.
                                        That means more stairs, no elevators and unpaved pathways and
                                        trails. Backpacks, which can go anywhere your feet can take you,
                                        may be more preferable than a stroller or carriage.
                                            ■ Check with (www.cdc.gov/travel) for latest advisories on your
                                        destination’s health situation. Even highly developed nations have
                                        measles or flu outbreaks.
                                            ■Passports are pricey. If you simply want to take the family to
                                        the Caribbean or South Seas, passports are not required on American
                                        soil including Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the
                                        U.S. Virgin Islands. If you’re taking a cruise that stops at some
                                        American ports, some non-American, the cruise line will advise you.

                                        Janet Groene is a professional travelwriter and a columnist for
                                        Family Motor Coaching magazine. She develops healthful, economical
                                        trail mix recipes for family travel at www.CreateAGorp.blogspot.com.

18 Houston Family Magazine | May 2010                                                   www.HoustonFamilyMagazine.com

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Traveling Abroad With Children

  • 1. Traveling Abroad with Kids BY JANET GROENE Passport processing takes forever. Start early, use your local post office if possible, and things go fastest if both parents apply together. If time is short, deal with an expediter such as G3Visas and Passports, Inc. (www.G3visas.com). Their offices are in major cities and they also work via FedEx. Summer Jenkins at G3 says visas are required by some countries, sometimes for adults only and sometimes for everyone. That requires even more advance planning. Check ahead. T hings have changed since your parents took you on your first trip outside the United States. Today, you need to know ASSURING CREATURE COMFORTS exactly what your own family must do before, during and Your family’s health and safety come first. There’s no need here perhaps after the trip. for a checklist. Mommy blogs are filled with them. Just go to any good infant/children’s department and look for things you’ll need for LEGAL ENTANGLEMENTS First, identity regulations have been tightened immensely. Because of child trafficking, parental abduction and the war on terror, authorities look carefully at everyone including infants and children. Not only do ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE children need their own passports in most cases, (see http://travel.state. gov) adults need documentation proving who they are and whether they have rights to take the children across a national border. T ravel insurance policies range from near-worthless to med-evac plans that fly you home from anywhere in the world in a fully staffed air ambulance. A four-year-old girl was flown home to Ohio from Mongolia with When one parent is traveling, he or she needs written, notarized high fever and a respiratory infection. The cost would have been $121,000 permission from the other to take the child into or out of the country. but it was covered by the family’s $385-a-year policy from MedJet Assist. If divorce is involved you also need copies of divorce and custody Travel agents offer trip cancellation, trip interruption and many other papers. Mischelle Davis, a step-mom, also carries a copy of her policies, but read the fine print. Here’s just one example of how small marriage certificate proving she’s married to her step-child’s father. words make a big difference. You book an expensive cruise and buy trip In many locales, non-parents also need notarized permission to get cancellation insurance. Then your aunt has a stroke and, as her sole medical treatment for a minor. caregiver, you must cancel or postpone the cruise. Some policies cover What used to be an innocent trip to Canada, the Bahamas or any medical emergency, some cover only emergencies involving ticketed Mexico with Grandma now becomes an international incident. It’s not passengers, and some cover next-of-kin such as a mother or brother but not required but is smart also to bring copies of birth certificates to prove aunts or cousins. Some policies provide a full refund, some cover only the parentage and citizenship, or to help when replacing a lost or stolen cost of re-booking. Some homeowner insurance and car insurance cover passport. All papers should be safeguarded. Have backup copies with travel concerns, but check to see if they apply outside the U.S. you and kept safely at home. 16 Houston Family Magazine | May 2010 www.HoustonFamilyMagazine.com
  • 2. ABOUT TRAVEL INSURANCE A mother with severe headaches baffled doctors until she mentioned she’d just returned from South America. The doctor knew that a rare form of meningitis was raging in the area she had visited. She recovered, thanks to prompt diagnosis and treatment. If anyone in your family becomes ill after a trip, tell the doctor where you’ve been. It could be a vital clue to diseases that don’t occur in your hometown or to deep-vein thrombosis, which can occur after a long flight. your travel, your kids and your destination. You might need, say, a kit for diaper changing on dirty surfaces, a combination car seat/stroller (great for airplanes too) or special gear for a rainy climate, extreme cold or tropical heat. Update immunizations including tetanus shots for Mom and Dad. Any other prophylaxis recommended by your doctors, such as malaria preventive?. With your pediatrician’s help, put together a first aid kit for the child and the destination. (Itchy bites? Sun screen? Jellyfish stings? Motion sickness?) HOW CHEAP IS TOO CHEAP? After her child awoke in Europe with a scary, 2 a.m. fever, author Meryl Pearlstein recommends going first class. She was glad to be in a four-star hotel with 24-hour front desk, English language skills and doctors on call. At dirt-cheap places you may be on your own during emergencies, unable to speak the language or find an ER, she warns. Philip Farina (www.farina-associates.com) is a leading authority on hotel security. He recommends staying at hotels that have a 24-hour security staff, one that doesn’t perform any other duties such as delivering pizza that comes to the front desk. In most (but not all) cases, better hotels also have better security. Here are additional tips on international travel with children. ■ Many nations require vaccinations for yellow fever, hepatitis A and B, typhoid and/or rabies, says Corinne McDermott, founder of Have Baby Will Travel. Are such shots right for your family? ■ Jody Halsted of (www.familyrambling.com) recommends taking an inexpensive umbrella stroller, even for children who are a bit oversize. It’s easily gate checked, comes in handy for all sorts of hauling tasks, and you’re not out much money if it’s damaged or stolen. ■ Don’t expect North American-style handicap access overseas. That means more stairs, no elevators and unpaved pathways and trails. Backpacks, which can go anywhere your feet can take you, may be more preferable than a stroller or carriage. ■ Check with (www.cdc.gov/travel) for latest advisories on your destination’s health situation. Even highly developed nations have measles or flu outbreaks. ■Passports are pricey. If you simply want to take the family to the Caribbean or South Seas, passports are not required on American soil including Hawaii, American Samoa, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. If you’re taking a cruise that stops at some American ports, some non-American, the cruise line will advise you. Janet Groene is a professional travelwriter and a columnist for Family Motor Coaching magazine. She develops healthful, economical trail mix recipes for family travel at www.CreateAGorp.blogspot.com. 18 Houston Family Magazine | May 2010 www.HoustonFamilyMagazine.com