Taking the kids with overseas can be a challenging task! But with a few basic preparations you can ensure that your holiday goes smoothly. Here are three tips that will ensure complete peace of mind:
- Ensure that you have these documents at hand
Since 2015 the Department of Home Affairs requires parents to also display a birth certificate for any child younger than 18 years and not only just passports as was the case before. This applies to children either entering or leaving South Africa. If only one parent is traveling with the child, you will also need to display a certified letter of consent from the other parent.
There are numerous cases of families that were simply forbidden from entering or leaving the country because they didn’t have all the necessary documents at hand. If you can’t seem to find your children’s birth certificates and need copies, you need to complete a BI-154 form and submit it at your local Department of Home Affairs. Considering that it can take up to six months for the application for a copy to be processed, you must make sure that you do it early!
Here is all the information you require:
- Download the BI-154 form here: http://www.dha.gov.za/images/PDFs/Birth%20Certificates/bi-154.pdf
- Template for letter of consent: http://www.dha.gov.za/files/ParentalConsentAffidavit_v8.pdf
- More about the regulations and requirements: http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/statements-speeches/621-advisory-new-requirements-for-children-travelling-through-south-african-ports-of-entry-effective-1-june-2015
- List of contact numbers for South African embassies: http://www.dirco.gov.za/webmissions/
- Make the flight easier
When reserving a plane ticket for a minor it doesn’t automatically mean that they will receive a child-friendly meal. If your kids are usually quite fussy when it comes to food, make sure that you specify that you would like to receive children’s meals when booking online or via your travel agency. The same applies if your family members have any allergies and as such will require special food.
Also make sure that you pack enough water for the flight, because the change in air pressure can cause discomfort and to swallow will alleviate pressure from their ears. Let them drink water when the plane takes off, as well as during the last 30 minutes of the flight.
- Use technology to your advantage
Technology comes in handy when you and your loved ones go on an overseas holiday; not only to keep children safe, but also to keep them busy! If your children have their own cell phones, there are plenty of applications which you can download on your own cell phone and on their cell phones that will help you to easily track them down. On Apple’s App Store the Find my Friends application is quite convenient, while the Find my kids or the Family GPS tracker Kid Control applications are available on Google Play. If your children don’t have cell phones, you can purchase a Q50 GPS watch that will enable you to keep an eye on your child’s movements from your cell phone. It is especially handy in busy cities or at airports, where it is difficult to keep tabs on your children the entire time.
Another convenient application is The Phone Sheriff which you can use to limit the amount of time your children spend on their cell phones. If they are only allowed to spend one hour per day on their cell phones, for example, the phone will lock automatically after the time expired. It can especially work effective with teenagers who live on their cell phones during family vacations!
For the younger generation there are also educational applications that will keep them busy on a long flight. Some of the best include:
- Jungle Time;
- Endless Alphabet;
- Me Comics;
- Disney Storytime;
- 8 Planets; and
- Word Wagon.
All the necessary documentation and a few applications to your disposal will subsequently allow you to travel overseas with complete peace of mind – your family will talk about this holiday for years!
This post is also available in: Afrikaans