What to keep in mind when travelling with children
M ith child and cone on holiday: This requires organizational talent – and a strong nervous system. Because even supposed little things like a cuddly toy forgotten at home can ensure that the start to the most beautiful time of the year is thoroughly spoiled.
Well planned is therefore half the battle: “Those who travel with children should start planning early and take advantage of early booking and family discounts,” advises Esther Grafwallner of Europäische Reiseversicherung (ERV). Many destinations are quickly booked out, especially during the holiday season.
Early booking is therefore a greater choice – and with it the chance of getting a hotel that also offers professional childcare. This can provide both the children and their parents with a relaxing holiday.
Whether it has to be a long-distance trip, for example to the Caribbean or to Thailand, families with small children should consider well. Because the long journey and the time difference can cause the rhythm of the little ones to get mixed up. Parents may have more stress than relaxation.
Beware of “bargains” on the Internet
An Internet search can be quite meaningful with the search for inexpensive flights and hotels. But online does not necessarily have to be cheap. “One should not trust however before the click on ?book? rashly each Internet portal, which promises price advantages at first sight , warns Bettina Dittrich, Reiserechtsexpertin with the consumer center Saxonia.
In particular, the portals fluege.de, billigfluege.de and flug24.de, which are common in television advertising, would partly operate with unfair practices. “So-called service fees including value-added tax become due in addition to the airfare, without the final price to be paid being clearly recognizable in the booking screen from the beginning,” criticizes Dittrich.
This is despite the fact that the Federal Court of Justice has made it clear, with reference to existing EU law, that this is not legal. A close look therefore pays off.
Not every policy is recommendable
No matter how well you plan, something can always come between them. In the event that a family member falls ill and the holiday cannot be taken, families can take out travel cancellation insurance. Such a policy covers the cancellation costs, which can amount to a high percentage of the actual travel costs.
But not every policy is recommendable. “Anyone who insures the cancellation of their trip should make sure that the costs for an early termination of the holiday are also covered at the same time,” says consumer protector Dittrich.
In case of an emergency, unused benefits will be reimbursed in case of an early return home – with children, but also with elderly people, the probability is relatively high that a trip has to be cancelled.
If you decide to take out travel cancellation insurance, you should pay attention to the exclusion of benefits – for example in the case of pregnancy or chronic and psychological illnesses. If an illness already existed before the conclusion of the contract, the insurance does not pay in many cases.
Medication belongs in hand luggage
When packing suitcases, people who travel with children must think of many things. Also the favourite cuddly toy, exciting reading material and a good game should not be missing. “The correct clothing in sufficient quantity forms the basis of the luggage , says ERV Reiseexpertin Grafwallner. Weather changes should also be taken into account.
Medications should be in your hand luggage and not in your suitcase. So travellers are prepared for emergencies, even if the suitcase arrives late. In addition to headache tablets, fever suppositories and tablets for travel sickness, the first-aid kit includes medication that must be taken regularly.
An annual contract can be worthwhile
“The European health insurance card is also very important in case you have to see a doctor abroad,” says Grafwallner. It’s important to know: Statutory health insurance protection ends at the borders of the European Union.
If you travel to more distant destinations, you should take out health insurance. This not only covers the costs of treatment on site, but also ensures that serious injuries or illnesses are transported back home. “Holidaymakers should conclude a favourable annual contract which is valid for several trips per year,” advises travel expert Dittrich from the consumer advice centre in Saxony.
Children need their own travel document
The most important travel documents should of course not be forgotten: Identity cards, flight tickets, hotel booking confirmation and travel insurance proof belong in a safe place. Recently, every child has also had to have their own identity card when travelling abroad. Since 26 June, notes in parents’ passports are no longer sufficient.
“So that airlines or tour operators do not suddenly refuse to take the children with them on holiday on departure, travellers should inform themselves about the entry regulations of their holiday destination at an early stage and pay particular attention to valid travel documents when booking at short notice,” says consumer protection officer Dittrich.
Children up to the age of twelve need a child passport (cost: 13 Euro). Depending on their destination, children over the age of twelve must carry an identity card (22.80 euros) or a passport (37.50 euros).
Baggage theft is no exception
In order to be on the safe side in the event of loss or theft, it is also advisable to make copies of all documents before departure and to store them in a different location than the originals. In general, theft is one of the biggest concerns of travellers.
Current studies show that more than 15 percent of Germans have already been stolen on holiday. “Thieves are particularly active at popular holiday resorts,” warns ERV expert Grafwallner. “Travellers should therefore never lose sight of their luggage so that it cannot be stolen in the first place”. Especially when you have to take care of the children, it’s often easier said than done.
However, consumer protectors advise against a baggage policy, which many insurers offer for such cases. The reason, according to the Bund der Versicherte, is that many insurers would refuse payment in the event of a claim and accuse the injured party of having acted with gross negligence. In addition, household contents insurance also comes into play here from time to time.