Traveling long distances is always going to be something that causes issues and demands, especially of a large family; you can ease the pain by learning these 6 Things to Organize Before you Travel Long-Distance.
But it’s rather a different beast if you are used to only taking short or medium length trips, so you must get the preparation right as help may be more difficult to get than if you were closer to home.
So here we go through a list of 6 aspects of preparing for longer trips and what effect getting these right or wrong may have on your experience and enjoyment.
This list is not meant to be exhaustive, by any means, so if there is anything we’ve forgotten please add it to your own to-do list.
As we cannot possibly take into account every families need we have concentrated on what we’ve found to be important to us in the past.
Make Sure You Get the Right Deal
Travel is expensive and only becomes more so the further away from home, but we can hardly complain about that, it’s just frustrating when you have to travel much further.
You could argue why not stay closer to home?
There are many good reasons to follow this advice as well, it saves you money, it’s easier to travel and it’s better for the environment.
But, there are reasons that we may want to travel further and these cannot always be avoided.
My partner, for example, comes from the other side of the world and once in a while (every few years at the most) we feel it’s necessary to let the kids see their grandparents and vice-versa.
So given we’re not getting out of taking the trip it’s essential to find the best deal.
There are various ways to do this and some are easier to achieve than others, the best way to get good prices is to travel out of season, but with the school calendar it’s not going to happen, we are never taking the kids out of school for 3 weeks in the middle of the term.
But there are still ways to save, check price comparison sites like this one, and look to book as early as possible as the first seats are often offered at a discount so that they can advertise cheap prices.
Remember to also book anything you know you are going to need in advance, such as car hire and accommodation.
Make a List (& Check it off)
You must have everything you need with you as it’s difficult to get some things especially if you need certain things that you can’t get or kids need.
Passports are top of this list, these can kill a vacation before it’s even begun, if you forget the passports then you may not be able to travel, you may not be able to transfer flights if you have to go back to get them or there could be a large fee for doing this.
Also, make sure your emergency contacts are filled in on your passport.
Other documents are equally important such as tickets for flights, hotel bookings and, although you hope to never need them, travel insurance documents.
Take Care of Any Health Issues & Medications
If you or any of the family have health conditions or issue then there are a few things that need to be taken care of in connection to this.
Firstly make sure you have enough of each prescription to last the duration of the trip, but also it’s essential to check if the country you are traveling to does not have any bans or restrictions on these medications, a doctor’s note may also be useful in this regard.
Also, ensure that any medical condition is disclosed to your travel insurance provider so that you know you are fully covered.
You may need to consider vaccinations that are needed for some destinations, and although it’s best to get these prepared far in advance you can get a last-minute session from PharmaVaccs if needed.
Entertainment (Especially for Kids)
Traveling is boring!
This should not come as a surprise but since these trips are so much longer than most other ones then you are going to go mad if you don’t have something for the kids to do, as well as yourself.
Modern technology is you saviour here, the existence of tablet PCs is an excellent one for this purpose.
You can add hours of entertainment all stuffed into one tiny box, films, cartoons and music can keep them going for hours.
It’s the one time that I concede an e-book reader is preferable to real, paper books as you can have a whole vacation’s worth of books, literally in your hands.
Budget for the Time Away
Budgeting is key for life in general and although it’s important to treat yourself when away as a vacation is a chance for the family to have a good time.
But the expense of that good time can quickly add up and become a real problem on trips like this, as you need to be considerate of the fact that as well as being more expensive to get to faraway destinations you also are likely to be there for a longer period to make it worth the travel time.
One way of making this more bearable is the classic method of planning ahead and booking early, many places have some excellent discounts available online for things like tourist attractions, theme parks and even places to eat and drink.
We’ve spent the vast majority of this article talking about how expensive your long trip is going to be so we must talk about travel money.
How are you going to spend money while there?
There’s the classic method of taking out cash and converting it to foreign currency, but with needing enough for a long family trip that’s a lot to be carrying, and could be a disaster if you lose it.
There are dedicated travel cards that can come in any major currency and are often better in exchange rate than using your own credit or debit cards.