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The Ultimate Checklist for Traveling Abroad with Kids (What NOT to Forget)

The Ultimate Checklist for Traveling Abroad with Kids (What NOT to Forget)

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Are you planning a trip to Europe, Asia, Australia or somewhere else abroad? Keep scrolling to check out my top tips for going abroad with kids!
This checklist for traveling abroad with kids was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Hey fellow parent travelers!

If you’re gearing up to take your kiddos on an international adventure, first of all, kudos to you! Traveling abroad with kids is no small feat, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences you can share as a family.

I’m a mom of two boys, and we’ve jet-setted to some pretty amazing places like Rome, Paris, and London.

Through trial and error, I’ve crafted the ultimate checklist to help make your international travels smoother and ensure you don’t forget anything important.

So, grab your passport, and let’s dive in!

Image of a mom and son wearing oversized Dutch wooden shoes at Zaanse Schans in Amsterdam
We had the BEST time exploring Amsterdam! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

What to Remember When Traveling Abroad with Kids

1. Passports and Visas

This one might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many folks forget to check the expiration dates on their passports or visa requirements for their destination country.

How to Apply for a US Passport for a Baby or Child, tips featured by top US travel blogger, Marcie in Mommyland: Learn how to get a passport for a child (or baby) with these 8 easy steps. You’ll even find some secret, expert tips to help expedite the application process

Kids’ passports expire every 5 years, not 10 like adults’, so double-check those dates. And remember, some countries require your passport to be valid for six months beyond your travel dates.

Also, look into visa requirements well in advance—some visas can take weeks or even months to obtain.

If you need to get your child their first passport, I can walk you through that in my post How to Apply for a US Passport for a Baby or Child.

2. Travel Insurance

I cannot stress enough the importance of travel insurance, especially when traveling with little ones. From lost luggage to unexpected illness, travel insurance can be a lifesaver.

Make sure your policy covers international medical expenses for the whole family. It’s one of those things you hope you never need, but you’ll be so grateful to have if you do.

We buy it for every trip and it’s helped us out a lot when someone gets sick and we need to reschedule or slightly adjust our plans.

3. Copies of Important Documents

Always have copies of your passports, travel insurance policy, flight and hotel bookings, and any other important documents.

I keep a set in my luggage and another with a trusted friend or family member back home.

In today’s digital age, having digital copies accessible through your email or a cloud storage service is also a smart move. And you can even add them to your files on your phone.

4. Local Currency and Credit Cards

While many places now accept credit cards, having some local currency on hand for small purchases or emergencies is always a good idea.

I totally forgot about that when I got to Paris and grabbed a taxi without stopping at the ATM first (they didn’t take credit cards).

Plus, it’s great for tipping!

Euro money: closeup of banknotes and coins

Also, inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any surprise “fraud” alerts locking your card when you try to use it abroad. A lot of times there’s a way to do this on your bank’s website so you don’t even have to call.

Double-check that your credit cards don’t charge foreign transaction fees—those can add up quickly. Or if they do, plan to withdraw larger amounts at a time to minimize the fees.

5. Medications and First-Aid Kit

Don’t forget any prescription medications (with their prescriptions), as well as a basic first-aid kit. I’ve got a whole post about what to include in your travel first aid kit.

Traveling can expose kids to new germs, and minor scrapes or allergies can happen.

Find out how to make a DIY Travel First Aid Kit by top family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. Image of a first aid kit and supplies.

Include items like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers for kids, motion sickness medicine, and any other essentials you think your family might need.

6. Adapters and Chargers

Different countries have different plug types and voltages, so make sure you pack the right adapters for your destination. I’ve totally packed the wrong curling iron and it took me WAY too long to realize it was a voltage issue.

And, of course, don’t forget chargers for all your devices—tablets, phones, cameras, etc. A portable power bank can also be a lifesaver during long days of exploring. We also like having this charger for our iPhones on days where we take lots of photos (so pretty much every day)!

7. Snacks and Entertainment

Long flights and airport waits are challenging for kids (and let’s be honest, adults too). I think every member of my family gets a bit squirrely!

Pack plenty of snacks, books, games, and download movies or apps that can be accessed offline. A new toy or book just for the trip can also be a great surprise to pull out when boredom strikes.

I also am a HUGE fan of my Kindle. As someone who likes to read on airplanes and in the hotel room, it’s always hard to see the limited selection of English books at some international airports. It’s so easy to download a bunch of books to my Kindle before we even take off.

8. Comfort Items

Whether it’s a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, or pillow, having a familiar comfort item can make all the difference for kids in a new environment. It can help with sleep on the plane and make adjusting to a new time zone a little easier.

9. Appropriate Clothing

Research your destination’s weather and pack accordingly. Always prepare for unexpected changes in weather by packing layers.

I’m SO glad we packed sweaters for the boys for London at the end of June! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Comfortable walking shoes are a must for exploring cities like Rome, Paris, and London. It’s also good to pack something to cover your shoulders if you plan on visiting churches.

And don’t forget swimwear, even if you’re not heading to the beach—many hotels have pools.

10. Research and Plan Kid-Friendly Activities

While you might be dreaming of long afternoons in museums or leisurely dinners at gourmet restaurants, remember to include kid-friendly activities in your itinerary.

Research parks, playgrounds, and family attractions near your accommodations. Keeping the kids happy and engaged makes for a smoother trip for everyone.

Here are our favorite kid-friendly activities in Paris, London, Rome, Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, Amsterdam, Athens, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Maya, and Playa del Carmen!

11. Learn a Few Key Phrases

Especially if you’re visiting a country where you don’t speak the language, learning a few key phrases can go a long way.

Teach the kids how to say hello, please, thank you, and help in the local language. It’s a fun way to engage with the culture and shows respect for the country you’re visiting.

12. Stay Flexible

This might be the most important item on the list. No matter how well you plan, traveling with kids is unpredictable. Stay flexible and be willing to adjust your plans based on how everyone is feeling.

Some of our best memories have come from those unplanned, spontaneous moments.

Wrapping Up

Traveling abroad with kids is an adventure full of incredible highs and, yes, a few lows. But with a bit of preparation and the right mindset, you can create unforgettable memories exploring the world together.

This checklist has become my go-to for ensuring we’re ready for whatever our travels throw at us—and I hope it helps make your family’s next international adventure a little smoother and a lot more fun.

So here’s to exploring new cultures, tasting new foods, and showing our kids the beautiful diversity of our world.

Safe travels, my fellow parent explorers!

Looking for more family travel tips? Check out 10 Compelling Reasons to Consider Travel as Part of Your Child’s Education, 8 Stress-Free Tips to Get Through Airport Security with Children, Tips on How to Get Cheap Flights Around Christmas, and 25 Helpful Tips for Traveling to Europe for the First Time!

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