Checklist: Traveling Abroad with Kids

Jet Lag, Shots and Emergency Numbers

__ Have a plan for jet leg. If you want to get your kids on local time, start doing it as soon as you get on the plane (this goes for your return flight too), and have them spend lots of time in daylight once they get to your destination. Like you, it will take a day or two for them to get on schedule. Also, be prepared for a longer adjustment period once you get home.

__ Get your shots. Travel to certain locales requires special immunizations, so ask your doctor which shots you and your kids need. You can also check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site (, which has information on recommended immunizations.

__ Get a checkup. Schedule an appointment with your pediatrician if your child has recurring health issues. If you're traveling with an infant, your doctor should also make sure she's travel-ready by looking at her ears and throat (try to time this with a well-baby visit so you're not making a special trip). In addition, ask about the generic names of medicines you may need to purchase abroad (familiar brands are often unavailable overseas) and request photocopies of your child's health records if she has a medical condition.

__ Make sure you're covered. Find out what kind of health insurance coverage you have while traveling. If you're not covered, ask your travel agent or local AAA branch to give you names of carriers that can provide temporary coverage.

__ Have a doc's number. For worrywarts: Get a list of recommended English-speaking doctors from the American embassies in the countries you're visiting. This is easiest to do before you travel so you're prepared in case of an emergency. The U.S. Department of State has a Web page ( that provides links to embassy and consulate Web sites, which generally contain a list of doctors. You should also check with your hotel to see if they have doctors on call for guests.

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