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BriefsTravel

Tips when letting a child join another family’s getaway

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Long weekends, school breaks and holidays mean your child could be invited to join another family’s getaway. Here are five tips to consider before flashing the green light.

1. DIFFERENT FAMILIES, DIFFERENT RULES

Is your child comfortable in the other family’s home or company? Do they share similar values and family rules? While your youngster may be required to unplug from technology after 9 p.m. or restrict television or video game time, each family has their own rules of the road. A detailed conversation between adults and a discussion of expectations with your child will be helpful. Concerned about homesickness? An overnight test run will serve as a conversation starter.

2. DOLLARS AND SENSE

An invitation to join in the fun may not be all-inclusive. Be sure to inquire about what costs might be involved. Should your child be prepared to pay for any meals, park entrance fees, lift tickets or special activities? How much cash, if any, should your child bring along for expenses, including snacks and souvenirs? Discuss these details with your child so he or she will have the proper expectations and responses. It may be appropriate to send a credit or debit card with an older child in case of an emergency.

3. ON THE SAFE SIDE

While it is unlikely that things will go wrong, be sure your child and the other adults have your insurance card, and any appropriate medical history. It is also wise to send along a letter with both parents’ signatures, enabling the other adults to authorize medical treatment for your child. If any border crossings are involved, you will also need a letter, signed and notarized by both parents, authorizing your child’s travel.

>> Contact: CDC.gov/travel

4. MANNERS MATTER

Traveling with another family can provide your child the opportunity to learn new social skills and to expand his or her sense of independence. Discuss appropriate ways to interact with the other family’s members and encourage a timely thank you card or gift upon return from the trip.

5. TALK IT THROUGH

Discuss the specifics of the itinerary with the other adults and review in detail with your child. If flying is part of the plan, talk through the various aspects of airport safety, moving through security and ensuring he or she will be comfortable on board. Review any steps that should be taken to manage allergies or medications. Discuss the level of adventure, cultural immersion or exertion involved and be sure all parties are informed and comfortable with the plan. If your child will be traveling outside the U.S., it will be helpful to review the U.S. State Department’s travel checklist for important information. Given recent world events, don’t be surprised if your child expresses anxiety about moving out of his or her comfort zone.

>> Contact: travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/checklist.html

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