Planning on travelling outside SA borders with your children? Make sure you read this.
By Estelle Vosloo
Are you planning on travelling overseas with your children? Perhaps you would like to visit family in other parts of the world or maybe it is that trip to Disneyland you have been saving for. If you are planning to travel for 2 hours or 20 it is prudent to make sure that you are prepared when there are kids involved.
For instance, did you know that recently gazetted South African travel legislation stipulates that adults leaving the country with children must be in possession of both a valid passport for the child and the original un-abridged birth certificate for that child?
This applies even when both parents are travelling with their children. If children are travelling with a guardian, this adult is required to produce affidavits from both parents giving permission for the children to travel. They will also need copies of the passports of the parents, as well as the contact details of the parents.
If children are travelling with only one parent, they must produce an unabridged birth certificate and a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child.
A parent or legal guardian of a child must present an affidavit from the other parent granting permission for the child to leave the country or a death certificate for this parent should be deceased. The traveling parent will also require a court order granting full parental responsibilities and rights or legal guardianship in respect of the child.
This new law is an attempt by the South African government to improve child safety while also addressing the issue of human trafficking.
Without these documents children will not leave the country’s borders bringing an extremely frustrating and disappointing end to your holiday dreams.
Now that you have all the documents you need, it is time to start your planning for the actual trip – the boring, long and cramped ‘in transit’ leg of the holiday.
Being ill-prepared can be stressful for you, your children and anyone else whose chair is being kicked, has to listen to crying or is dodging kids playing tag in the isle.
Here are a few tips:
Be a good nurse / doctor
Make sure you have easy in-flight access to medication your child might need should they start feeling ill, but make sure it is less than 100ml or it will be confiscated before you get on the plane. Have a change of clothing and a large pack of wet wipes handy. Pack more sick-bags in your hand luggage than you think you will need.
Keep them occupied
Your iPad or mobile phone can be a helpful way of keeping kids entertained with games and movies. Take care with books as they might induce air-sickness.
Fly at night – if you can
If your kids have had a full day of excitement they might have a peaceful night on the plane. Try taking a familiar comfort object along.
Nothing is more stressful than rushing through an airport with luggage and children. If you are tense be sure they will be tense too – adding to the drama. Rather be early so they have the opportunity to walk around the airport exploring and getting rid of excess energy and excitement.
Make them comfy
Dress your child in something that closely resembles pajamas is a good choice for long trips.
Have some low carb sugar free snacks available for your child. Biltong, crackers, cheese wedges, milk and diluted fruit juice are ideal. But make sure you leave any leftovers on the plane when you disembark. Some countries might fine you for having snacks like biltong in your luggage.