If you have always wanted to take your family overseas, but just don’t know where you should start, here is the best list of international travel tips and advice you need. We asked a team of top travel bloggers with many years experience in travelling with kids for their favourite travel advice.
This is part of our series delivering advice on all aspects of planning for your fun family vacation. Check out the other articles here:
- Deciding on a Destination
- How to Save Money on Transportation
- Choosing Family Friendly Accommodation
- Sightseeing with Kids
- Packing Tips for Family
- Eating for Cheap While Travelling
- Enjoying Road Trips
- Making Memories with your Family (coming soon)
International Travel Tips and Advice from Gadsventure
We are living the life right now. Travelling to as many countries as we can in the next few years with our kids. Here’s some things we have learnt along the way:
1 Take Shorter Flights
When travelling internationally, I always try to plan a trip based on short flights. Not only is it cheaper when travelling with a large family, but it also takes a lot of the stress of flying away.
Our youngest is almost 2, so for our current trip in SE Asia, we have her still sitting on our laps! The flights around Asia are only between 1.5 and 3 hours in length so we don’t have to be cooped up in planes for too long at all. This still maintains excitement levels high with the kids!
2 Get More Bang for your Buck in Southeast Asia
I also love the cultural value you get from travelling in a place like SE Asia. Not to mention the food! And when travelling with 4 kids, keeping costs down is super important too, that’s why places like Bali, Thailand and Vietnam are our go-to destinations.
International Travel Tips and Advice from Full-Time Field Trip
International travel is an exciting experience. Things can work differently from country to country. Here are three important tips to keep your international travel smooth and safe.
There are a million ways/apps to stay connected and free WIFI all around the world. But sometimes you want/need an internet connection from your phone.
- Contact your service provider and ask about short term international plans, they may be more affordable than you thought.
- We like to get a SIM card in the country we’re visiting. FYI, your phone must be unlocked for this. While we may pay a bit more in the airport or bus station, it’s worth it to have what we need to help us navigate to our next location.
- For talking to anyone from taxi drivers to friends back home, we like WhatsApp. Viber is great when you need to make a call, like to your credit card company or airline.
Download WhatsApp here for Android and Apple
How will you access your money?
- Look for credit cards and banks with no foreign transaction fees.
- Inform your financial institutions where you’ll be travelling so your accounts aren’t frozen for potential fraud.
- Find out what your daily withdraw limit is and decide if you need to increase it.
In theory, all you need to travel is your passport. In certain places, and for certain types of visas, you may also need birth certificates and a marriage license.
- Keep your documents safe in a waterproof, RFID protective case.
- Keep a hardcopy of your documents somewhere in your luggage.
- Have a digital copy on your phone. Preferably somewhere that doesn’t require internet access to retrieve, like your notes.
- Ask a trusted friend or family member back home to keep a digital and hard copy of your documents in case of an emergency.
*We’ve absolutely used this last one!
International travel doesn’t need to be scary. Use these tips to keep your family safe, prepared, and give yourself some peace of mind. Happy travels.
International Travel Tips and Advice from World For a Girl
The other day, we sat down and counted up the number of countries our five-year-old son has been to – we counted 29! He’s very well-travelled and his little sister is not far behind.
Many of the countries we’ve visited have been a world away from our former ‘safe, cozy’ life in the UK. At the moment, we’re living in Malaysia. Drawing on our experiences, here are two things to consider whilst travelling in developing countries with young children.
6 Safety Standards
Adjusting to different safety standards (if any at all) can be challenging (especially for parents). You always need to aware of potential dangers. From dodgy playpark equipment, street stands with flaming grills to open sewers, keeping your eye on toddlers and younger children can be hard work.
Try carrying toddlers in child carriers as a way of keeping them safe and speak openly to older children about any dangers.
7 Culture Shock
Culture shock can affect children as much or more than adults. Children like routine and rhythm in their lives. They might find the sights, smells and sounds of new places unsettling.
Try to empathise with them, acknowledge the things that might worry them and give them the time and space to adjust to their new surroundings. Bring familiar toys and sometimes spend more money to go to a restaurant or indoor playground that reminds them of home.
International Travel Tips and Advice from Yorkshire Wonders
Living in the UK we often fly for our holidays. When we visit Florida the flight is 9 hours on the way there (shorter on the way back!), but we have always chosen a flight with seat-back entertainment which is a lifesafer when you have kids!
We also choose the four seats in the middle of the plane, and I sit on one end and my husband on the other, sandwiching the kids between us. They definitely feel more comfortable like this, as it’s their own private space then, and if they are comfortable they are happier!
When we do shorter flights to Europe I make sure the kids have their tablets fully charged and a movie downloaded. When they have watched their own movie, they can then swap tablets and watch the other one’s movie!
Gadsventure uses 128GB Apple iPads for travel with our kids. Plenty of room for all their movies and a great battery life!
International Travel Tips and Advice from Tips From a Typical Mom
9 Plan Ahead
Passports take a very long time to get, so you should just get one now. Whether or not you are planning on traveling out of the country, it’s always good to have a passport for you and your family members.
10 Pack Right
Pack a backpack that works as a carry on and is roll-able. I packed a carry-on but it was a duffle bag and it was the WORST to hold on to in the custom’s lines.
Get an undergarment “fanny pack’ to keep all your money, passports and credit cards safe.
Gadsventure uses this travel wallet you can wear around your waist which holds all your important stuff.
11 Do Your Research
Research the area where you are going and find out if the water is drinkable. If not plan accordingly. Learn as much as you can about the culture so you don’t stand out like a sore thumb. You don’t want to look like a tourist.
International Travel Tips and Advice from Mommy and Me Travels
Travelling internationally is exciting but also has some additional stressors that you need to be prepared to overcome.
12 There are Shops Overseas
First and foremost, you can purchase almost everything you might need in other countries. The items that you need to ensure you have with you are your passports, insurance cards, and prescription medications. If you land in a country and have these 3 items, everything else is able to be located in local stores. You might not know what the brand of diapers is that you are buying but hey they still work.
13 Use ATMs Rather Than Money Changers
Second, you will get the most bang for your buck if you do not try to convert one currency to another in a bank or one of those stands at the airport.
Withdraw money with your debit card from an ATM. The currency conversion rate is usually much better because there is no fee involved as there is when you use a bank to change money.
Also, look for credit cards that have no international fee. Not only will this make your purchasing power better but it helps to keep track of all your expenses while adventuring around another country.
Read More: Money in Bali (what you need on vacation)
14 Treat Jetlag with Breakfast
Third, help your kids recover from jetlag by having a big breakfast the first morning you arrive, even if you just landed and it is breakfast time.
Usually, people think because they aren’t hungry they shouldn’t eat. This is not the case when you are travelling. Filling up bellies first thing in the morning helps kick start your body into knowing that you have started your day and adjust to a “new normal”.
International Travel Tips and Advice from Captivating Compass
Be flexible. Planes are delayed, kids get ill, and shops close early. A flexible attitude goes a long way in making the best of these inevitable situations.
16 Make Lists
As you plan, even months in advance, making lists will help you keep things organized. From itineraries to packing, to places not to be missed, your lists will help keep it all organized along the way.
17 Learn Some Basic Phrases of the Language
Knowing ‘Thank you’ and ‘Please’, in the local language is a minimum. Improve your language skills before you go, if possible, and then try them out in-country.
Bring a sarong. It might seem funny now, but you’ll be so glad you did! Use it as a blanket, a hood or head covering, a shawl, and even a skirt or dress.
19 Travel Insurance
Without question, you need travel insurance. An accident or illness in a foreign country can be complicated, stressful and expensive. Good travel insurance is worth every penny just for the peace of mind.
Gadsventure uses World Nomads Travel Insurance – for absolute peace of mind for our travelling family!
Travel insurance: simple & flexible
You can buy and claim online, even after you’ve left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
International Travel Tips and Advice from Go Fam Go
20 Have a Back-up Money Plan
I always have a contingency plan set up whenever I travel especially abroad. When travelling internationally, you have to deal with unfamiliar cultures and bureaucracies in place.
One of the useful things to know when things go awry is how to access an emergency fund.
Aside from my travel pocket money, I have an emergency stash of cash in a safe place on my person, in case of lost luggage or theft. Hiding it in a piece of clothing like socks or shoes will allow you to use them when all you have is yourself.
Another source is your bank. You don’t necessarily need to open a foreign bank account to do so. Bank fees for wire transferring are expensive and are based on a percentage of the amount that you’re sending.
Services like Xoom or Remitly have websites and apps that allow you to instantly send remittances to yourself when abroad. Rates are usually fixed. Check their partner locations where you could personally pick up your money (affiliate banks, money exchangers, or delivery to your hotel room). You can set up an account before travelling.
Gadsventure uses Transferwise to send and receive money around the world. It’s totally fee free.
International Travel Tips and Advice from World Wise Kid
21 Immerse Yourself in the Culture and the People for a Richer Experience
Our family values international travel for the educational elements, adventure and developing a global understanding. Here are some tips for getting closer to the people and immersing yourself in the culture of a new country:
- Smile and greet people.
- Watch some YouTube videos to learn the basics of the language. Choose a “word of the day” that you all learn and practice to keep your language skill developing. Ask the locals for help with pronunciation.
- Watch a documentary about the place you will visit. Human planet, BBC Earth, National Geographic, or the History Channel give some background to a new place.
- Stay in a guesthouse, homestay or farmstay instead of a tourist hotel.
- Choose accommodation in a small town – wherever you land at the end of the day – where you can experience how people live outside of the big cities.
- Let the kids see what it’s like to not understand the situation – include them in the problem-solving.
- Trust in the flow of travel. Let unknowns play themselves out. Allow serendipitous encounters – they often become the best stories.
Gadsventure have stayed in some amazing Airbnb homestays and farmstays. Join for free and have a browse here. You can even get $50 off your first stay!
International Travel Tips and Advice from Disabled Disney
22 Get a Good Passport Wallet
Get a document holder for passports and whatever documents you need. Make sure it is RFID protected and waterproof! And keep everything together.
Gadsventure uses an RFID wallet which holds 6 passports like the one pictured above. Get yours here.
23 Think Ahead when Travelling with Prescription Medication and Disabilities
Check if you need a physician statement about your medications. You can use http://www.incb.org/ to check for guidelines on controlled substances if you are taking any.
Also take your original prescription bottle with you. In keeping with medications make sure your medications are in your carry on. The horrible truth is luggage gets delayed, lost and even stolen. If you keep your medications with you, it is less likely to encounter these problems while travelling.
If you have disability needs you will need to research what the country you’re considering would have available for you. Not all countries have the same disability access laws.
International Travel Tips and Advice from State By State
Travelling internationally is exciting, but a little scary at the same time. Foreign language, foreign food, and foreign culture are all things to consider when travelling to another country.
People from all over the world come to the United States. They especially seem to love visiting our national parks. So, while I have not personally travelled internationally, I have witnessed first-hand those that travel to the US.
24 Be Respectful
My number one recommendation is to be respectful of the rules and customs in the country you are visiting. Research what these may be before you go and learn from the locals once you arrive. Doing this will enhance your travel experience because people will notice your efforts and be willing to help you more.
International Travel Tips and Advice from Dandelion Seeds
Most of the travel in my adult life has been international. I’ve learned a lot of lessons that differ from what I know in my life in the United States.
25 Bring a Paper Map
One of the most important, however, was to bring an old-fashioned paper map of the area I was visiting, particularly when I didn’t speak any of the local languages.
True, GPS works nearly everywhere on a mobile device. When it hasn’t, however, I’ve found myself in some suboptimal situations. A paper map isn’t necessary in areas where someone is likely to speak your language, but pointing at a map is a wonderful universal “language”—and a great safety net.
26 Know How to Get Around
Also, study the local transportation system ahead of time. If you’re travelling by train, do you insert the tickets into a machine for a stamp/validation before boarding, or not? If driving, are there toll roads, and how do they work? Knowing ahead of time is incredibly helpful!
Check out 12GoAsia for all your travel needs when in Asian countries. They are our go-to guide for comparing prices amongst different modes of transport, and booking.