A week ago we decided to go on a mini-vacation to Niagara Falls, Ontario on the way to the memorial for my Grandmother in Silver Creek, New York. We were excited to be able to have the kids experience the magic and natural wonder that is Niagara Falls and because this was international travel with kids we knew that we had to do our research to do things right. That being said, I cannot say that we did things completely right, but we tried, and I wanted to take a moment to share the top five things that we learned in about international travel with kids.
- Research Documentation Requirements
When you choose international travel with kids, look to see what is required in regards to documentation for kids and for you. For many countries, you will have to get a passport. The nice thing about this is that if you get this they will last for a few years, so it is a one time expense. If you are traveling through Canada the rules are a bit more relaxed. For example, we decided not to pay to get new passports for our kids this summer (their passports expired in March) because kids can travel in Canada with their birth certificate if they do not have a passport.
- Check on the current Exchange Rates
Make sure to look at the current exchange rates before international travel with kids. Realize that businesses in other countries may not be required to honor the exchange rate at the same rate as many will charge a transaction fee because of having to take the money somewhere to have it exchanged back. We had this happen to us numerous times and we found that the consistency between businesses was non-existent. If you want to pay in your own currency you need to ask what their going rate is for this. You may even want to think about purchasing currency before you go, especially if your trip is an extended one.
- Look at the Weather Conditions
Whether the destination that you may be going may be close or far, it is important to look ahead of time to bring the clothes that you will need for international travel with kids. We thought that we had done this, but unfortunately we came to find that our clothes were a bit inadequate for how cold it ended up being (colder than originally expected and rainier than expected).
- Explore Public Transportation Options
At Niagara Falls parking is very expensive by the falls, but if you get a WEGO pass you can really save a ton of money and get anywhere you need to go around the downtown falls area. That being said, when you are looking to travel internationally, especially if you will be near a major city, look for public transportation options as you may be very surprised by how inexpensive this may be, especially in regards to international travel with kids!
- Pack Everything You Need to Capture Your Memories
I am a photographer by nature so I always pack my Samsung NX 1 with me, but I also do not want to forget to think about the video camera, extra SD cards, battery chargers, external flash or any other filters or other camera equipment that I might need to capture the experiences with my family. So think ahead and bring what you need depending on the type of person you are and the type of experiences you and planning to try to have on your trip.
These are just some of my take-away international travel with kids tips from our trip to Niagara Falls Ontario. I hope that they have helped you.
Do you do international travel with kids? What are your tips that you would share with others?
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