Advice for Canadian travellers: Travelling with children during March break

From: Global Affairs Canada

February 13, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Global Affairs Canada

In the coming weeks, many families will be taking advantage of the school break to travel to international destinations. The Government of Canada wants to encourage all travellers to be well-informed so they can have a safe and enjoyable journey abroad.

When planning to travel with children, remember the following:

  1. Have the required documents: All children should carry a valid Canadian passport when they are travelling abroad. If a child is travelling alone, with only one parent or with someone else, they should carry a consent letter proving they have permission to travel abroad. The entry and exit requirements for travellers at your destination may be different for children, particularly dual-citizens travelling to their other country of nationality. Children may also need supporting identification, such as a birth certificate or citizenship card and other legal documents, such as divorce papers, custody court orders or a death certificate (if one parent is deceased).
  2. Ensure the whole family gets proper vaccines and travel medicine: Visit a clinic at least six weeks before leaving and check Travel.gc.ca for tips specific to healthy travel with children. In general, there is a higher risk for most vaccine-preventable diseases when travelling abroad and these diseases tend to be more severe in children than in adults. Your child’s routine vaccine schedule may need to be adjusted to ensure that they are fully protected.
  3. In case your child gets lost: Consider placing a copy of their identification and emergency phone numbers in their pocket. Also try to carry recent photos of your child with you. If your child does get lost, contact the local police and the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate abroad.
  4. Prepare accordingly for security screenings: Hold infants in your arms when going through the metal detector, but let children walk through if they are able to do so. To know what you are allowed to bring in your child’s carry-on bag, read our page on taking small children through security screening.
  5. If a child is travelling alone on an airplane: Find out if there are restrictions, such as age limits, for unaccompanied minors and confirm whether the airline will escort and supervise children from check-in through arrival. Also ensure that a parent or guardian stays at the airport until the flight has departed and that the person greeting the child at the point of arrival has appropriate identification and authorization.

Before leaving for any international destination, all Canadians should also:

  1. Get informed. Before leaving Canada, check the Travel Advice and Advisories for in-depth information on your destination.
  2. Purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance should include health, life and disability coverage that will help avoid large expenses, such as the cost of hospitalization or medical treatment outside Canada.
  3. Register with the Registration of Canadians Abroad service to receive the latest updates in case of an emergency abroad or a personal emergency at home.

Canadians requiring emergency consular assistance abroad can contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa anytime, and from anywhere, by calling collect +1 613 996 8885 or by sending an email to [email protected].

Quick facts

  • Every year, Global Affairs Canada helps thousands of Canadians who run into problems while they are travelling, working, studying and living in other countries.

  • In 2017, our consular officers abroad opened cases for:

    • more than 10,000 passports reported lost or stolen abroad; and
    • 916 cases requiring medical assistance for Canadians abroad, of which close to one third of these cases occurred in popular sun destinations.
  • Travel.gc.ca has up-to-date Travel Advice and Advisories for more than 230 destinations worldwide—a key reference in travel planning for Canadians and the travel industry.

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