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By Savannah Grace

Traveling internationally with a very young child is not only easier than you think, but also advisable. I know this sounds suspect, but I assure you the benefits will outweigh the negatives. My children began traveling out of the US within the first three months of their lives. Now my children are having their own kids and as a baby-boomer grandparent I have a unique perspective on traveling overseas with the young ones. I’ve seen plenty of angry diapers, skin rashes and vacation days squandered.

There are plenty of places to get advice on how to fly with an infant or toddler. There are tons of articles and posts that detail the essentials of flying internationally; checklists galore that include what to bring, what not to bring, yada-yada-yada. For heaven’s sake, don’t forget the airtight (no smell) diaper bag! Your fellow passengers will be appreciative and the flight attendant will gladly dispose of it. I will leave others to enlighten you further on boarding, lap children, strollers and car seats.

I want to cover three things that should help young parents:

First, get your child a passport as soon as they are two weeks old. Don’t put it off because you never know when your parents will invite you and the grandkids on a family vacation out of the country. If your healthy baby has been home for a couple of weeks, it’s time to get the young’un a 2” x 2” headshot for their first passport and start in on the application. It can take up to three weeks to complete the process, however expediters can turn applications into passport within 48 hours, for a fee.

To apply for a US passport for a child under 16 years old, including children as young as 14 days, follow these steps:

STEP 1:  Complete Form DS-11 (

STEP 2:  Provide evidence of child’s U.S. Citizenship (birth certificate).

STEP 3:  Give evidence of relationship with the child (birth certificate).

STEP 4:  Give identification documents for both parents (valid passport or driver’s license).

Do it now, don’t procrastinate. You’ll thank me later…

Second, tell your pediatrician when and where you are going. They will advise you on all required and recommended vaccinations, if any. Your kids should also be prepared in advance to combat stomach ailments, skin infections, pain and fever while traveling. Request a supply of child-appropriate antibiotics from your doctor and get a recommendation for the rest which you can buy over-the-counter before departure. This simple step could save your vacation. A sick child takes at least one adult out of the vacation game. The quicker you treat symptoms the less time will be lost to sitting around while everyone else is out having fun.

Third, buying travel insurance is the best way you can repay the generosity of a grandparent who is springing for all the airfare and accommodations. 29-year-old parents with a child less than 1 year old can purchase 10 days of travel insurance for less than $1.75 per day, or under $18.00 for their entire trip. Emergency medical evacuation and coverage for associated medical expenses can easily run six figures. Accidents and unforeseen illnesses do happen to nice people. When something happens that your mobile pharmacy can’t handle, who do you think will dig deeply into their retirement plan to pay in the absence of insurance? You got it, grandpa and grandma. Give them the gift of travel insurance. You are their most precious asset and they would move mountains to help. It’s time for you to do some heavy lifting with a little forethought and even less money.

Here are some interesting facts about the modern, mobile grandparent from the editors at, where “it’s great to be grand”.

  • Grandparents control 75% of the wealth in the US.
  • Grandparents support their adult children and grandchildren financially, $52 billion a year on their grandkids alone.
  • Grandparents just want to have fun, $77 billion a year spent on travel.
  • Grandparents love family travel, 66% travel with their grandkids and 81% have them for part or all their summer vacation.