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Tips for Traveling to Mexico with Small Children

Traveling with small children can be challenging, but if you are prepared it will go more smoothly. Depending on the age of the child, there may be many things to consider (and bring) when traveling, especially if you are leaving the country. Here are some tips for your next family beach vacation in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, or Playa del Carmen in the Mexican Caribbean.

Mexico Beach | Courtesy of Serch1) Documents

All U.S. and Canadian citizens traveling by air to Mexico, regardless of age, are required to present a passport. Make sure that none of your family member’s passports are expired and that they won’t expire during your trip. In order to prevent international child abductions, minors traveling without their parents will be asked to present a notarized letter signed by their parents authorizing the travel. If only one parent is traveling with the child, they may be asked to show either documents proving they have sole legal custody of the child or a notarized letter from the other parent authorizing the child to travel outside the country of origin.

2) Air Travel

If your child is younger than 2 years old, they may sit on your lap and it isn’t necessary to purchase an additional ticket. However, you will probably have to pay a small lap child fee which usually amounts to 10% of the price of your ticket. Bring a stroller, you will need it to get around the airport and most airlines will check it for you at the gate and return it to you as soon as you step off the plane. If possible, you can also bring a car seat. Airlines normally try to put an empty seat next to you if you are traveling with a child on your lap. If you get lucky and this happens, you can strap in your car seat, and strap in your child! If the airline cannot provide you with an empty seat most will check your car seat at the gate. You may also be able to use it when you are traveling from the airport to your hotel.

3) What to Pack

Traveling with a small child usually means bringing a lot of things that they will need that may not be immediately available when you arrive at your final destination. As far as clothing, besides the obvious bathing suit, beach/pool shoes, sun hat and children’s sunblock, bring lightweight light-colored clothing and always bring a sweater and a jacket as well. It can get chilly in the evenings and it will probably be cool on your flight. If your child is still in diapers, drinking formula and eating jarred baby food the best thing to do is bring enough for the first couple of days. As soon as you arrive at your hotel or resort you can arrange a trip to a grocery store. Don’t forget bottles, sippy cups, spoons and maybe a plastic baby bowl and plate. If your child is taking prescription medication, bring enough for your entire stay and bring a copy of the prescription as well. Check with your pediatrician to make sure your child has all the necessary vaccines.

4) Sleeping Arrangements

Most hotels in Cancun and the Riviera Maya have cribs available for small children, but you will have to ask for details. Is it a real crib or a portable one? How big is it? Will you be charged extra? How old it is? It may be difficult to determine if it is safe from pictures or just a description. If you don’t want to take any chances you may be more comfortable bringing your own portable crib and sheets. It may cost you a little more to check another bag, but you can’t put a price on your child’s safety, and some airlines consider Mexico an international destination and do not charge for the first two checked bags.

Vacationing with your family in the Mexican Caribbean can be a fun and rewarding experience if you are prepared. Once you arrive you will be able to concentrate only on creating memories that will last a lifetime.

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Tips for Traveling to Mexico with Small Children + vacation