. Preparing for An Out of Country Travel Vacation - Manitoba Parent Zone

Preparing for An Out of Country Travel Vacation

A family vacation is a great way for families to spend some quality time together. However, without proper planning, an out of country vacation can sometimes be stressful. Having some basic information about your destination, such as any important travel rules or any safety considerations (common local illnesses, weather) can go a long way in helping you prepare for your vacation. Here are some useful tips:

Passports and Visas: Most countries require that you have a valid passport with an expiry date of at least six months after your scheduled date of return. You may want to check with the consulate of the country that you are planning to travel to, to get more information about this as the rules may vary from country to country. For information on how to get a passport, including related forms and processing times, click here: Passport Canada. You may also require a visa to travel to certain countries. Information on visa requirements and renewals.

Packing for your trip: As you may already know, there are certain things that you cannot bring with you on a plane such as sharp objects and certain tools. The amount of liquids that you can carry with you is also limited; this includes medication and cosmetics. Make sure that all prescription medications have proper pharmacy labels on them, and be sure to carry all of your prescriptions with you in your carryon luggage. Keeping such basics in mind while packing for your trip may help you prevent any last minute stress and delays related to complicated security checks.

Most children tend to get bored on long flights. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to pack some activity books, games or music in your carryon luggage to keep them entertained. It may also be a good idea to bring along some snacks, pillows and blankets for extra comfort. For more information on what you can bring on a plane, including a quick searchable guide, click here: Travel Canada.

Pre-travel health check: Parents often worry about the health and safety of their children when travelling to foreign countries, particularly when the children are young. Children under 15 can be more prone to infections, as their immune systems may still be developing. For more information on travel related risks, and prevention measures, click on this link: Tips for healthy travel with children. Keep in mind that certain diseases that are rare in Canada might be more common in your country of travel, such as polio and malaria. Your health care provider or a travel health clinic can give you information about such illnesses. Fortunately, taking some basic safety precautions and getting certain vaccinations in advance of your travel, can help prevent most travel related illnesses. Some vaccinations and medication can take some time to start working, so try to book an appointment for a travel health assessment at least 6 weeks before your departure date. You can read more on choosing a travel health clinic in Manitoba by clicking on this link: Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. You can also learn more about the Travel Health and Tropical Medicine Services Clinic operated by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority by visiting Travel Health and Tropical Medicine Services.

Pregnant women: Most airlines will allow a pregnant woman to travel until she is 36 weeks pregnant, provided there is no history of premature labour, or any other complications related to the pregnancy. However, some airlines may have different rules for pregnant travellers. It is always best to check with the airline before booking your trip. Most airlines require pregnant women to carry a letter from their doctor, indicating their expected due date. If you are pregnant and planning to travel, you should also discuss your plans with your doctor, as you may want to ask if travelling poses any health risks to you or your baby. It may also be a good idea to request an aisle seat when booking your flights, so that you can stand and stretch frequently. Detailed information on risks and prevention measures for the pregnant traveller.

Travel health insurance: Before you go, you may want to consider getting travel health insurance for all members of your family, as provincial health plans do not always cover all medical expenses while abroad. Some travel health insurance plans provide broader coverage than others for out of country medical expenses. Be sure to ask questions about how the insurance plan treats pre-existing conditions and read all of the terms and conditions of the policies, so that you have a clear understanding of policy coverage and exceptions. Also, remember to carry the proof of insurance with you at all times while you are travelling, and to bring back original receipts for all medical expenses incurred. Read more about travel health tips at Public Health Agency of Canada.

Safety considerations: Before you leave for your vacation, make sure you have up to date information on any safety considerations that can affect your well-being, such as any travel advisories related to weather or security. For more travel advice based on your country of travel, and for travel advisories, click here: Country Travel Advice and Advisories.

Helpful links:

Leaving Manitoba to Travel, Work, Study or Move: What you need to know about your insured health benefits (Manitoba Health): Information regarding the steps you can take to ensure that you continue to receive Manitoba Health benefits while you are away.

Don’t leave home without it (WRHA): Information on the benefits of obtaining travel health insurance before leaving on a trip.

Health Information for the traveller (WRHA): Information on travel health websites, as well as food, sun and water safety for travellers.

Health Advice for Travellers (HealthLinkBC): Health information for travellers on heat related illnesses, water and sun protection, injury prevention, swimming, preventing insect-borne illnesses and animal bites.

Where are you travelling? (Public Health Agency of Canada): Information regarding vaccines, food and water-borne diseases, insects, malaria and travel health notices based on your travel destination.

Travel tips for people with Diabetes (Canadian Diabetes Association): Information on planning for your trip, managing your blood glucose level, storing insulin, time zone changes for people using insulin and oral medication, eating away from home, and other helpful information.

Before you go: A ‘to do’ list (Air Canada): A checklist to help you ensure a safe and comfortable journey.


ManitobaParentZone gratefully acknowledges the assistance of WRHA Travel Health & Tropical Medicine Services in the development of this information.