This year I decided to escape the cold with my kids and go on a trip for March break. I see a lot of advantages to travelling with my kids. I’m able to spend quality time with them; they’re exposed to other cultures; and they meet new people. Travelling will inspire them to discover the world, a passion I developed at a young age.
However, I have found in discussing with colleagues and friends that not everyone shares my point of view. In fact certain people find it a strain to travel with children, especially during March break. They argue that it’s expensive and complicated to travel with children at that time of year. It’s not relaxing, they say, since activities to entertain the children have to be organized every day. Plus, popular destinations are often crowded.
Since travelling is my passion, I would like to address some of your concerns about travelling with kids during March break.
When should I reserve my all-inclusive package?
Many families choose “all-inclusive” packages since it’s so much easier to plan. However, demand is higher at this time of the year, so supply decreases. This means it’s important to reserve as early as possible. This way, you’ll have more options. Some hotel resorts have childcare centres and water parks. If you would like to stay at one of these places, you will need to act fast.
Will it be expensive?
Obviously, travelling with kids is more expensive. There are airline tickets, transfers, food and activities to pay for.
To save a bit of money, I suggest you rent accommodations with a kitchen so you can cook some meals and save money on eating out. You can plan easy menus such as sandwiches, hot dogs, raw veggies, omelets, lentils, etc.
You should also rent a place in an area close to your outings. For example, it could be downtown, close to the beach or close to a subway station. This way, you won’t have to take too many taxis. Don’t be afraid to take your kids on the subway. My kids love doing that. Of course, ensure that you travel when and where it is safe to do so.
Set yourself a budget for your activities and then plan accordingly. Depending on how old your kids are, you could ask them to help make the plans. Give them books or brochures about your destination and discuss what activities they would like to do.
Does it take a lot of planning?
The scope of planning depends on your selected destination. If you’re going to Walt Disney World, you need to plan every hour of every day and reserve restaurants immediately. If you’re staying in an “all-inclusive,” it’s a bit easier. In my opinion, planning is very important for having an enjoyable vacation.
You can visit blogs, browse the official tourist website for your destination and ask family and friends for advice. You’ll find travel routes, maps, advice, recommendations and a lot of other information online.
Will I come back more tired than when I left?
No. It’s relaxing to leave the daily routine behind. You’ll see things in a new light and experience some priceless moments with your kids.
If you’re afraid you won’t have enough energy, ask other members of your family to come along such as grandparents or aunts or invite friends. I love travelling with my parents and have written a blog called 5 Tips to Plan Multigenerational vacations
What do I need to think about before departure?
First thing: vaccinations. Depending on the selected destination, you may need to have vaccinations or buy medications. Talk to a doctor or a travel health clinic at least six weeks before leaving to obtain the necessary vaccinations or medications.
Second, don’t forget that your passport and the kids’ passports must be valid for at least six months after the date of your return. Are you returning March 15? Your passports must be valid until September 16. In addition, if you’re applying for the first passport for one of your children, you must not sign the document for him or her.
Third, if you’re separated or travelling with a child who is not your own, you should bring a letter of consent. “A consent letter demonstrates that children who travel alone, with only one parent/guardian, friends, relatives or a group (e.g. sports, school, musical, religious) have permission to travel abroad from every parent (or guardian) who is not accompanying them on the trip.”
Fourth, some countries may require proof of travel insurance when you arrive. You can see why it’s important to take out travel insurance before departure. Ensure that you have your insurance certificate with you.
The above information is based on the travel.gc.ca site.
Those are my answers to the most common questions. However, depending on the age of your kids, find out as much about your selected destination as possible before departure. Are you travelling with an infant? It’s possible the quality of milk in your country of choice is not the same as here. Read, read, read!
Have a great March break!