Friday, March 7, 2014

Traveling with Children - Week 10 Passports and Shots

When asked where to take children when planning a European vacation, one well-known traveller said on his blog, straight to grandma's on the way to the airport. While I chuckled at this, knowing all too well why he said it, I wouldn't think about it for a second.

Time certainly flies. As my children continue to grow up I am realizing how little time I have left with them before they head out to make a life of their own. I want to give them memories, experiences and family adventures they will remember for a life-time. I want to take them with us whenever possible. My husband and I will have lots of time together in the future. For now, I want to focus on our family as we travel.

Recently several things have fallen into place for us to be able to start traveling with our children. Up to this point, the furthest from home we have been with them is Disneyland and the beach. Leaving home for a far off destination for several weeks takes more planning and thinking ahead than I am accustomed to.

I began wondering what I could do now to prepare us to have a fabulous trip. This series of posts will be a countdown in weeks to lift-off and it will include all I did to prepare my family for the adventure of a lifetime.

Let's start with 10 weeks prior to lift-off.

Passports are one of the first things you need to get taken care of if you are planning international travel. For a family it can end up being quite expensive to get them all at once and you may need to do this over a period of time. So plan accordingly. It took my family about 6 weeks to receive our passports.

You can get a passport at a US Post Office. Not all post offices offer this service so be sure to visit 
 Where to get a passport and find a local office set up for passports.

What do you need to get a passport? Here is the USPS passport site.
     2 forms of ID
     payment in the form of check or cash
     passport photos 2 in. x 2 in.

Every person must fill out an application. I found it was less hassle to get on line HERE and print the application out beforehand. It saved time during the process.

This will tell you what it will cost to get your passports.

Many European countries do not require additional shots for travel to and from, but if you are traveling to Africa or other third world countries chances are you will need to visit your local health department to get the recommended shots. Some countries, for instance, will not let you in if you haven't had your yellow fever shot and have proof of that shot. In fact, they will turn you away at the border and your trip will be very short-lived. 

How to know what shots I will need? Simply visit the CDC website to find out which shots you may need. 

Get a head start on these two things long before your intended travel dates. And remember that our children are only young once. Let's enjoy them and spend time with them having adventures and making memories.