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International travel with children. Tips for planning your trip

¿Viajes internacionales con niños? Consejos para planificar tu viaje


Will you be traveling internationally with children during the current Covid-19 pandemic situation? As progress in vaccination is leading many countries to reduce their restrictions on mobility, international travel is gradually increasing and many citizens are considering taking their well-deserved holidays abroad. 

-It is important to keep up to date with the latest developments regarding mobility restrictions and countries that do not accept incoming travelers.The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is a good source of information on this topic. We also recommend checking the measures adopted by each country independently to find out the entry requirements, the documentation and visas needed to travel, security conditions, health conditions, vaccinations, foreign currency and the main important telephone numbers. The Ministry recommends that you get extensive information about the country of destination, as well as about local customs and legislation.

In this regard, the European Union is taking coordinated action and has launched the 'Re-open EU' app, where information is frequently updated and available in 24 languages. The EU reopening provides information on the different measures in place, including quarantine and testing requirements for travelers, the EU's digital COVID certificate, and mobile coronavirus contact tracing and alert mobile applications. 

Global mobility restrictions can also be consulted in the WTO / IATA Travel Tracker.

-Prepare all documentation: passport, visas (bear in mind that the processing of the visa may require additional documentation and that the deadline for granting it is determined by the country), international driving license if necessary. Remember that depending on the country, a National Identity Card may be sufficient, although this should be checked beforehand. 

-Travelers' Register: it is advisable to provide a relative or friend with the trip details, including dates and accommodation.The Travelers' Register of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation enables registrants to be contactable in the event of a major emergency.

-Medical and travel insurance:in many countries the costs of hospitalization and medical treatment must be borne by the patient. We recommend having medical insurance that provides coverage in the event of illness or accident during the trip.

It should also be noted that in the European Economic Area and Switzerland, Spaniards, through the European Health Insurance Card, have access to public health care under the same conditions as nationals of those countries. We recommend checking whether the public system is co- payment or reimbursement.

-Traveling with minors: We want to point out that border police, both inside and outside the Schengen area, have a specific mandate to pay special attention to minors, whether they are traveling with other people or alone:

In the case of unaccompanied children, border officials will carry out a thorough inspection of travel documents and supporting documents, with the aim of ensuring that minors do not leave the territory against the will of those who have the parental authority.

If children are traveling with others, the border official may require documentation proving the parental authority of the accompanying person(s) or of the person(s) signing the authorization for the child's travel with another adult. In addition, if the child is accompanied by only one parent, express authorization may also be sought from the absent parent or a more detailed investigation may be carried out if it is suspected that the custodian may have been unlawfully deprived of custody of the child.

You can find more information here.

-EU COVID Digital Certificate: it can be obtained if you have been vaccinated, if you have had the disease or if you have had a negative test result.

-Health Control Form: all passengers arriving in Spain by air or sea, including those arriving in transit to other countries, must complete a Health Control Form before departure and obtain their QR to present at boarding and health controls on arrival in Spain.

-Always follow necessary precautionary measures, such as maintaining a minimum safety distance of 1.5 meters and always wearing a face mask when traveling on a means of transport. We remind you that, for example, in Spain only children over 6 years of age are obliged to wear a mask. If traveling with younger children who do not have to wear a mask, it is recommended to choose a means of transport that allows for social distancing or only traveling with close family members. 

-Choose the most suitable means of transport. As it is an international trip, air travel is one of the preferred means of transport. Once in the aircraft, moving around the cabin should be limited to the minimum possible and contact with aircraft surfaces should be reduced. Most airlines have restricted carry-on baggage in the cabin, so we suggest that you check in all items of baggage. If traveling with a push-chair, ask the airline how to proceed. 

Although it may vary from one company to another, children under 2 years of age may or may not occupy a seat. If they occupy a seat, a child restraint system approved by the European Union in compliance with ECE R44-04 must be used. If the child is under 8 months old, some companies offer comfort cribs for babies up to 11 kg. It is also advisable for other children to use a child restraint system approved for their height and weight. Here are some more safety tips for traveling by airplane with children.

If you are traveling by other means of transport, we recommend the article 'Summer holidays in pandemic: what transport to choose and how children should travel safely', as well as our infographic with recommendations on how to travel by different means of transport:


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