Everyone remembers the scene from the 1990 film, Home Alone, where the McCallisters are all packed and already on their overseas flight to Paris when suddenly the mother, Kate, realizes they had forgotten their youngest son at home. "Kevin!" she screams, and the audience erupts in laughter at the hilariously absurd prospect of being in such a rush to leave the house that you could forget your own child. But is it really so absurd?
Sure, you probably won't forget and accidentally leave your child at home, but there is every possibility of forgetting to bring something almost as important when traveling abroad with your family. Going overseas is stressful and there is a lot to remember. You should create a list well in advance of your departure date, and be sure to double-check it before leaving. Here's a list of 5 important items to remember to bring when traveling abroad with your family:
1. Passports and/or Visas
Your passport is your identification. You'll need it to get through airport security, to check into your hotel, and possibly for various other reasons. If the country you will be visiting requires a visa, you will need to get that well before you depart and then be sure to have it with you at all times. Everyone in your party should have their own passport and/or visa. It's also a good idea to make copies of each person's passport to leave at home with a friend just in case yours gets lost or stolen.
2. Hotel Accommodations
It's better to make all your hotel or hostel arrangements prior to your departure in order to ensure that you'll have a place to stay when you arrive at your destination. Print out confirmation emails to bring with you upon check-in so there is no question as to whether you booked ahead. When you arrive, present the clerk with your confirmation email, the passport for each person staying in the hotel, and the credit card with which you made your booking to ensure the least amount of hassle possible upon check-in.
3. First Aid Kit / Medications
It's important to bring any and all medications you might need with you, because it may be difficult to find some types of medicines in some countries; bring things like: prescription medications, allergy medicines, antidiarrheal medicines, headache medicines, etc. Some countries require you to get vaccinations before arriving in their country, so make sure everything is up-to-date according to where you're going before you depart. A small first aid kit is also a good idea to pack just in case of emergency.
4. Travel Games / Books
When you're traveling with kids, no matter their age, it is always a good idea to have something to keep them occupied both while in transit, and in the hotel room. You can never predict the weather where you're going with 100% certainty, or what might happen when you get there, so it's best to be prepared for every eventuality. A deck of cards or a small handheld battery-operated video game doesn't take up a lot of space in a suitcase, nor does a small novel.
Travel insurance is completely optional, but can come in handy in the case of lost or stolen luggage, cancelled flights, etc. If you purchase travel insurance, be sure to pack it in your carry-on with all your other important items. Bring extra cash in your destination country's currency for emergency costs that might spring up. Be sure to carry all cash, credit cards, etc. in a money belt.
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