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Traveling with Children

By Priya Raman on 04 December 2009 | Topics - Parenting

Traveling with ChildrenHoliday season is upon us and many of us are going to visit family, escape the weather or simply travel to see places. For those with children, the entire planning can be scary and exhausting. The emergency kits, travel necessities, emergency medical help and list goes on.

Here is a comprehensive list of things that I have found useful when traveling on an extended trip with my family

Medical

  • Based on the area you are traveling to (and through), check with your child’s pediatrician to see if your child requires any special shots or medicines. If you are traveling overseas, doctors typically recommend that you carry malarial medicines with you.
  • If your trip is going to be for an extended period, check and clarify with your insurance provider about their coverage. Some insurance companies have limits on the number of days in advance you can fill your prescriptions, while some will not pay for more than a month’s supply (I had both these restrictions). Negotiate a pay-out-of-pocket and a reimbursement option with them. In my case – I had to ask my husband (who was traveling later) to pick up the medicines for the later month)
  • You are also better off checking with your insurance about out-of-state and out-of-country coverage. Sometime you might have to go for an Umbrella coverage.
  • Wishing that you don’t have to ever use it but it would time well spent to identify General Physicians and Pediatricians in the place you are traveling ahead of travel and see if they are part of the network. Friends, Colleagues, Facebook can be great resources for recommendations.
  • Pack over-the-counter medicines (inhalers, Tylenol etc) that you will need. If you are going to be traveling within the US (or Canada) you can pack just a small quantity as most gas-stations and grocery chains carry most of them.
  • Bug Spray and Sunscreen are a must. While buying bug sprays look for ones that are natural and don’t have DEET. I like one that has the lemon balm as an ingredient – it has worked for me in the past. Neem oil has worked well for me thanks to it strong odor. It is  safe for kids and is a good bug repellent.

In-flight

  • For a road trip, plan your rest-stops and food breaks in advance. GPS makes it a lot easier these days – but sometimes these trusted road-companions loose connection with their mother-ship (the satellite). In such cases, if you are driving in remote areas or mountainous regions, just prepare a list of food-joints in advance.
  • If your vehicle has a DVD player – you are lucky. Mine does not and so I have to prepare for road trips with games, puzzles and some independent work, even some craft work, that kids can do. Believe me after being buckled to their seat for a while and not being able to run around can make then really restless. There are a lot of resources online for various games that you can play. I have found that my kids ( and their friends who occasionally join us) love to do brain teasers –  jumbles and my personal favorite, trace the route on a map – a road atlas in which the kids mark landmarks that they identify en route. Board-games with magnetic boards and pieces are a good buy – they work well on planes and on road trips. Hand-held video games are good for teens and pre-teens – but they are battery hogs. So make sure you take along extra batteries and game cartridges for the trip. Playdoh works for young children – if you don’t mind a little mess.

While all this planning may seem over the top, it makes your trip a lot easier and lets you bond – which is what traveling is all about in the first place. site-seeing and learning new cultures are an added bonus.

So travel on my friends and have fun.

About the Author Priya is a working mom of two. Besides her steady load of work at home taking care of her kids, she finds time to work for her husband's company, help her childrens' school and conduct summer camps. She created the site Little Respite to share some of her ideas/thoughts with other fellow parents, friends.