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Talk:Travelling with children

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Revision as of 01:51, 12 February 2009 by Inas (talk | contribs) (Parents vs guardians vs caretakers)
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Err, I know this is just a start, but this is making me think of Wikitravel:Slippery slopes . We really want to avoid lists, can this be turned into more of an article? Maybe some intro text on the issue, and then sections for different types of family travel issues? We need to better define the whole Travel topics area, but this might be a good test case...Majnoona

Re: Although a 5 year old child may be able to travel across town, to and from school, on a bus or commuter train, such short routine trips are relatively low risk, with the child's absence or non-arrival at their destination likely to be noticed promptly.

Maybe I should go live in New Zealand, because here in Belgium I wouldn't let a 5 year old take public transport alone, even if it would be a known route. Actually, these days I have never seen one do it. In my eyes, the parents would be extremely irresponsible. And, seriously, I wouldn't let them do it in New Zealand either... Akubra 15:33, 2 Apr 2004 (EST)

I concur. I don't think it's safe anywhere in the world, though in places which are inadequately aware of child sexual abuse (like the U.S. thirty years ago), I'm sure it still happens. -- Colin 15:55, 2 Apr 2004 (EST)
Update: I ripped the sentence out. -- Colin 23:39, 4 May 2004 (EDT)


Some more things that families might like to do, and that children enjoy, would be a good addition to this article. At the moment it's too strongly focussed on "children don't like X", "X may forbid children" and so on. Hypatia 08:49, 3 July 2006 (EDT)

I (belatedly) agree. There needs to be more of a "how to" than a "can't do" attitude for this article. It's not that bad travelling with a wee one. 18:22, 10 December 2006 (EST)


I think this article needs a real once over before it can be useful. I'm not sure the current template really works for it either. I'm going to leave it all together for now, but I really think we're going to need to split it out into several other articles. We could go for general travel by age articles (i.e. Travel with infants, Travel with teenagers) or even more fine-grained (Flying with infants, Roadtrips with infants, etc). Thoughs? 16:46, 10 December 2006 (EST)

Things you shouldn't do that you do...

How should we deal with "unsafe but practical" things such as children riding in taxis without a car seat? It's dangerous and bad and wrong, but if you're travelling outside of the US, you're probably going to end up doing it at some point. There are suggestions for what to do-- strap the child into their own seatbelt for example, but that's not really safe, so I'm not sure what to say. I've compromised by at least warning people not to share a seatbelt with a child as I know that's super dangerous, but do we want to say anything more? Advice from others who've travelled with kids would be helpful. Thanks Maj 01:31, 11 December 2006 (EST)

Like some other topics, there's a whole spectrum of paranoia levels among travellers. For example, I'm in the "highly paranoid" category of people who don't consider it safe to take an infant on a plane without a carseat because turbulence happens. Others are going to go ahead and ride the Tuk-tuk with their infant. I think the important thing is to provide useful information while also informing the reader of the risks and alternatives (e.g. car rental can be an alternative to a taxi) so they can judge the risks and costs of alternatives based on their own comfort levels. -- Colin 02:40, 11 December 2006 (EST)


Shouldn't that be "travelling with children" or "traveling as a family" or something? The current title sounds like traveling with your grandparents and your in-laws... Jpatokal 10:08, 21 December 2006 (EST)

"Traveling with children" seems more appropriate. Sometimes a child and an adult from different families may travel together.--Wandering 14:59, 27 July 2007 (EDT)
Agreed, and it fits with the new series of "with children" articles. Gorilla Jones 15:29, 27 July 2007 (EDT)
This makes sense, I'll take care of it soon, barring any further objection. --Inas 23:31, 21 December 2008 (EST)

Travelling without both parents

The article currently contains this advice:

Many countries require that visiting children who aren't accompanied by both their mother and father carry documentation to the effect that all legal guardians agree to the child's travel plans. This may apply even when the accompanying adult and the child are citizens of the country they are travelling to. Be sure to check with an embassy of the country you intend to visit if you are taking any children on an international holiday without both their parents. Legal guardians who are not the parents of the child may need documentation demonstrating their relationship to, and responsibility for, the child, and a parent travelling alone may need either proof of custody or written authorization from the other parent.

This just seems to me to be wrong. I've never known of this to happen, or to be required. If anybody knows of a country where this is the case, please let me know, otherwise I'll just delete it. What form would written authorisation take, if indeed it was required? --Inas 23:31, 21 December 2008 (EST)

I am going to proceed now to delete this section. If someone can find any evidence that it is true for any country, please feel free to reinstate. --Inas 18:47, 4 January 2009 (EST)
Can't say for sure, but looks like it applies to Russia. Anyway, Russia alone is not "many countries", of course. --DenisYurkin 06:10, 6 January 2009 (EST)
Are you sure it doesn't just appply to Russians leaving Russia? I've known kids to get a visa and visit Russia with relatives, and no approval from either parent. --Inas 06:35, 6 January 2009 (EST)
Sorry for ambiguity. Of course I meant Russians leaving Russia. --DenisYurkin 17:08, 9 January 2009 (EST)
Yeah, Australia is the same - both parents need to approve a passport application, and court orders are noted. That is mentioned in the documentation section. However, I've never heard or seen of any requirement to carry any such documentation to visit a country, or to leave a country you have visited, and I'd be genuinely suprised if any such documentation was required anywhere. If it was required I can't even think of the form that it might take. --Inas 00:38, 10 January 2009 (EST)
Australia's own official Tips for travelling parents page notes: "When you are travelling with children, local authorities, including customs and immigration officers, may ask you to produce documents to prove that you are the lawful parent or guardian of a child travelling with you... When travelling outside of Australia, proper identification includes, but is not limited to, a valid passport for a child. The following are examples of additional documents that you may be asked to provide documentary evidence or letter that proves the child has the permission of an absent lawful parent(s) or guardian to travel... a court order granting you guardianship of the child... a copy of the child’s birth certificate, particularly if only one parent’s name appears on the birth certificate, and the child is travelling with the other parent." Hypatia 19:25, 11 February 2009 (EST)

Anecdotally only, I have heard that parents (usually mothers who have kept their maiden name, but would also apply to non-parent guardians) have been questioned at borders regarding their relationship with the child they're travelling with. I don't know how such situations are usually resolved though. Hypatia 19:10, 11 February 2009 (EST)

I've made an update. I think what I'm trying to say is if everything looks okay, that I think you will be okay just about anywhere. Personally I've lost count of the number of countries I've travelled to as a single parent with kids, with no problem, no questions, no looks, no nothing. I have only ever been questioned on the subject once, and that wasn't in some obscure country, but at the Rainbow Bridge crossing at Niagara Falls. Still, only one question, and that was it. But it really can't hurt to have any documentation you need on hand, in case you encounter any difficult situations. I've also found a couple of countries sites, in the investigation that advise carrying documentation. I think immigration officials will question anything that looks suspect, and the easier you can satisfy them, the better off you are. --Inas 20:46, 11 February 2009 (EST)

Family lines

In addition to the above, I am yet to ever encounter a family check-in line, or a family immigration line. Mostly parents and small children are allowed pre-boarding, but if family check-in queues still exist anywhere, they must be very rare. I'll consider also removing this unless someone has knowledge that these things actually still exist. --Inas 17:35, 22 December 2008 (EST)

Parents vs guardians vs caretakers

Do we want to make more effort in this article to be inclusive of non-parents travelling with children? Two scenarios spring to mind: relatives (grandparents etc) travelling with children and also non-parent guardians. (Genuine question, not rhetorical: do we want to make any effort to do this?) Hypatia 19:13, 11 February 2009 (EST)

I've separated it out in the permission para. If anyone has any experiences, they can add them.. --Inas 20:47, 11 February 2009 (EST)