“Health precautions, securing documents, packing and communications are at the top of every traveler’s list. There are so many things parents can do in advance of a trip to help things go smoothly,” says Scott von Eschen, President of Adventures Cross-Country (ARCC – http://www.adventurescrosscountry.com/).
Since 1983 Adventures Cross-Country has provided domestic and international cultural experiences through travel that combine service projects, adventure and sometimes language immersion for students ages 13 to 19.
- Keep all important documents (passports, plane tickets, emergency contacts, etc.) organized together in a sealable plastic pouch. Always know where this pouch is and, if possible, keep it with you at all times.
- Make sure the Passport is valid for 6 months after the return date to the United States. Countries have become increasingly focused on this requirement in recent years.
- Make 2 color copies of the passport. Keep one copy at home and keep the other in a bag separate from the passport. These copies will be invaluable for getting a replacement if the passport is lost or stolen.
- Confirm if the country your child is visiting requires a Visa for U.S. citizens. In some instances (ex. Cambodia and Egypt) you can easily get a visa at the airport when you arrive at your destination. In others, (ex. China and Vietnam) you will need to get a visa from the nation’s Consulate in the U.S. in advance of departure. Sometimes this process takes weeks.
- If your child has a serious allergy, carry an explanation of the allergy and warning in the country’s language so restaurants, first responders, etc. can be informed. Select Wisely (www.selectwisely.com) is a service that prints such warnings on cards in multiple languages.
- Visit the CDC for health information on your child’s international destination (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list). Be especially aware of any immunizationsrequired for entry into a country and for current outbreaks (e.g. Yellow Fever card is required to enter Tanzania). Be sure to do this well in advance of travel as some immunizations require a waiting period before they are active.
- Pack a mini-medical kit with Band-Aids, ibuprofen, motion sickness meds, “traveler’s stomach” remedies, electrolyte powders, etc. (consult your doctor for additional advice on what to pack). . . . .”