Travel Tips for Families.

Our latest blog: Travel Tips for Families covers everything from Passports, Visas, Canadian eTA’s, American ESTA’s, European Health Insurance Card, Travel Insurance, Sunburn and Mosquito prevention and protection.

Passport, Map and camera.

What you should do if you’re going on holiday / vacation with your kids and they have a different surname to you including the documents you need to bring.

Families who are travelling abroad together who don’t share the same surname (last name) could face extra security checks at the airport. Ensure you have the right paperwork at hand so that you don’t miss your flight.

Security checks are in place at airports and ports to prevent child trafficking – but the extra delay could mean you might miss your flight or cruise if you don’t have the right paperwork, therefore it is essential you bring any document that could prove the relationship with the child.

Relevant documents include passports, birth certificates and marriage certificates. If you’re travelling under your maiden name with kids who go under a different surname, a marriage certificate alongside your passport will ‘prove’ who you are and a birth certificate and passport should prove likewise for the child .

Make sure to pack a consent letter

Travel consent letters prove that the child in question has permission to travel abroad from parents who aren’t accompanying them. They’re especially useful in situations where the parents are divorced or separated, and one parent wishes to take the child on holiday. If you are bringing along friends of your offspring, a consent letter from their parents can be vital. Remember, these additional security measures help prevent child trafficking and is a positive deterrent which safeguards vulnerable kids.

Consent letters are not a legal requirement in some Countries, but they may be requested by immigration when entering or leaving a foreign country. The letter should give as much detail as possible and be signed by whomever is NOT travelling, dated, witnessed and preferably notarized. Better to travel with than without and err on the side of caution. However,
Carrying a consent letter does not guarantee that children will be allowed to enter or leave a country though, so double-check with the relevant embassies.

What should you do if the parent can’t reach the father or mother?
You’ll need to apply to a court for permission to take a child abroad if you don’t have permission from the other people with parental responsibility.

Passports and Visas

Make sure you have at least six months validity on passports, if not check with the Airline, Cruise Line, Travel Agency or Embassy.  Should you require a visa, book it in advance through the official government websites such as the Electronic Visa Application System for travel to Turkey. DO NOT use unofficial visa websites since they charge processing fees in addition to the actual charge for the cost of the visa. Don’t worry as it is a relative simple process to apply for a visa online, therefore there should be absolutely no need to pay someone else to do it for you.

Official ESTA Application for USA

You will need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) in advance of visiting the USA. The ONLY website to apply for an ESTA is through the official website of the Department of Homeland Security and NOT anywhere else as you will most likely be charged an additional and unnecessary ‘processing fee’.
To apply, you must have a valid passport, a credit or a debit card, an email address, and answer a few questions in the online application. The current cost is $14 US per application.

All eligible international travelers who wish to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization.

Official eTA Application for Canada

The Government of Canada’s official website to apply for an eTA to fly to, or transit through, a Canadian airport. It only costs $7 CAD. To apply, you must have a valid passport, a credit or a debit card, an email address, and answer a few questions in the online application. Apply through the official website here:

European Health Insurance Card

The European Health Insurance Card (or EHIC) is issued free of charge and allows anyone who is insured by or covered by a statutory social security scheme of the EEA countries and Switzerland to receive medical treatment in another member state free or at a reduced cost, if that treatment becomes necessary during their visit (for example, due to illness or an accident), or if they have a chronic pre-existing condition which requires care such as kidney dialysis. The term of validity of the card varies according to the issuing country.

The intention of the scheme is to allow people to continue their stay in a country without having to return home for medical care; as such, it does not cover people who have visited a country for the purpose of obtaining medical care, nor does it cover care, such as many types of dental treatment, which can be delayed until the individual returns to his or her home country. The costs not covered by self-liability fees are paid by the issuing country, which is usually the country of residence but may also be the country where one receives the most pension from.

It only covers healthcare which is normally covered by a statutory health care system in the visited country, so it does not render travel insurance obsolete. Ireland applicants can apply here: & UK applicants here:


Travelling further afield to an exotic destination? Lucky you! Play it safe and check with your GP if you require vaccinations such as tetanus shots and a jab to prevent the dreaded malaria or yellow fever. UK citizens can avail of the following travel vaccines free on the NHS if your GP practice is signed up to provide vaccination (immunization) services.

  • Polio (given as a combined diphtheria/tetanus/polio jab)
  • Typhoid.
  • Hepatitis A.
  • Cholera.

More information can be obtained here:

How long before travel Do I need vaccinations?
It’s important to get vaccinated at least 4 to 6 weeks before you travel. This will give the vaccines time to start working, so you’re protected while you’re traveling. It will also usually make sure there’s enough time for you to get vaccines that require more than 1 dose.

Travel Insurance

Believe us when we say, a good travel insurance policy is vital against unexpected and unfortunate accidents and issues whilst on holiday / vacation. If you travel frequently, it is better value to purchase an annual multi-trip policy. Select worldwide if you plan on travelling beyond the European union. You can check out some great value options here:

Sun creams

Make sure to pack factor 50 sun cream for kids as well as factor 30 for adults as well as after-sun lotion. Sunglasses and caps should be worn as well as light and bright natural cotton clothing. Avoid the midday sun between 11:30 – 3:30 if possible. If you are out during those times, try and stay in shady areas. Drink plenty of water and ensure the little ones remain hydrated at all times.


When it comes to mosquitoes, prevents is better than cure, so it is best to avoid getting a nasty bite in the first place. Mosquitoes hate anything citrus, so if you buy a mosquito spray, make sure you buy one with a natural citrus scent. Avoid paying for expensive bite lotions, rub a wedge of lime on your bite which will help the itch and swelling (it worked wonders for us from a tip for a waiter while we were holidaying in the Maldives). Slice an orange, lemon or lime in half and insert cloves into them and place around your room. Avoid going out right after it rains, as that is when mosquitoes are most active, as well as during dusk and having the balcony light turned on at night can also attract unwanted flying insects such as mosquitoes.

Lemon eucalyptus oil could be safer and a much more natural weapon than DEET.

Many of us fear the toxicity of DEET and try to avoid it even with those mini-monsters landing on you noon and night. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), lemon eucalyptus oil could be a much safer and more natural weapon. The CDC confirmed that lemon eucalyptus oil can be as effective as DEET in repelling mosquitoes. Oil of lemon eucalyptus is plant-based repellent oil made from leaves of Eucalyptus citriodora.

Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied lab animals’ 
performance of neuro-behavioural tasks requiring muscle co-ordination. He found that lab animals exposed to the equivalent of average human doses of DEET performed far worse than untreated animals.

The most serious concerns about DEET are with the central nervous system.
Children with DEET toxicity reported lethargy, headaches, tremors, involuntary movements, seizures, and convulsions though the amount that led to this toxicity was unreported, according to the CDC.

G & T AKA Gin and Tonic!

A good old fashioned Gin and Tonic particularly at sundown will keep the
mosquitoes away. Don’t worry if you don’t drink alcohol as it is the quinine in the tonic water that mosquitoes avoid, so a glass of tonic water or two with a slice of lemon should suffice. That is why gin and tonic was the drink of choice for so many generals and captain’s while serving for the British Royal forces back in colonial times. The ‘sun downer’ was drank during sun down as the mosquitoes were at their most active.

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