The ability to travel near and far has progressed significantly in the past few years. The possibilities are endless on where to take your next vacation. However, use caution when traveling with children as the requirements for entry and exit may have changed.
A number of years ago, I planned a last-minute trip to St. Thomas with Dan and the girls. It had been a particularly grueling winter and the need for sun was a necessity. I walked into a local travel agency, and booked an all-inclusive trip immediately. In fact, I believe that I told Dan after I placed the deposit that we were headed to the beach.
The trip was relaxing and fulfilled the requirement for sun and sand. Since it was an all-inclusive resort, we did not bring much cash with us. As we approached the ticket gate at the airport to get on the plane home, the local officials requested an “exit fee” to leave the island. This was a total surprise to us as we had not planned on this expense. We did not have the required funds and there was no ATM at the airport. As we pondered how we were going to get on the plane, our eldest daughter piped in that she had some of her babysitting money with her. Much to our surprise, Kathryn had saved the day and we were able to get on the plane home.
Traveling may be easier now than in the past, but some requirements are constantly changing. Especially when it comes to traveling with children. Countries around the world are changing document requirements for entry and if not careful, your travel plans could go astray. Don’t assume that if a country doesn’t require a visa, that all you will need is a passport. You may need a birth certificate (with a raised seal), immunization records or prescription drug documentation.
The U.S. State Department website covers basic information about entry requirements for different countries, however, with the constant changing policies, this site may be incomplete. Make sure that you research all of the requirements before setting off on your vacation.
In addition, make sure that your passport is valid for at least six months from the end of your travel, and carry extra passport photos in case an on the spot visa is needed. You can also register with the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) for free which provides safety updates and puts you in contact with local embassies and consulates in an emergency.
And always carry some extra cash in case of an entry or exit fee. Or hope that your child has some hidden cash on them!
Hope you have a great week!
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