Are these your parents?It is a sad fact, but due to custody disputes and human trafficking, children are sometimes taken out of the country in situations where both parents do not consent.Will your child be traveling internationally without both parents? If so, it is your responsibility to ensure that clear permission from both parents is on hand when your child arrives at the airport, or reaches Customs.The most common situations occur when one parent is traveling with one or more of their children, while their spouse stays at home, or the custodial parent of a divorced household is traveling with their children. In both of these situations a letter of permission from the other parent needs to be on hand. The letter should indicate the full details of the child: full name, date of birth, place of birth, passport number and passport issuance details (date/location). The letter needs to give all the same details for the parent that will be traveling with the children, as well as the full name, contact information and custodial status for the parent that is providing consent. You should include the dates and locations of the travel, so that officials are sure you know where your child is.The letter and consenting parent’s signature should be witnessed, preferably by a Notary Public or someone authorized to commission oaths. Including the passport number and details is very important, as the officials can compare the child to the picture on the passport to ensure consent was provide for the correct child. If you are traveling with your child, but are not the primary custody holder ensure the letter from the other parent is clear that they have primary custody.In the event of children travelling without either parent (such as friends, grandparents etc) you need to ensure that the letter has all the contents mentioned above, as well as the details of the relationship to the guardian traveling with your children. BOTH parents need to sign such a letter, again with a witness. Some lawyers will also recommend attaching a passport photo of the child to the letter, to help verify the identity of the child.Letters of parental permission should be kept with the child’s passport, and ready for inspection at any time. Remember, officials that are asking questions about your child are doing so to protect them!For more information, consult a legal professional. If you are traveling to a country that you are not familiar with, always check the entry requirements by contacting their embassy/consulate in your home country.
Earlier in the travel season, I wrote a piece about how the percentage of American’s who travel internationally annually is low. However, my earliest memories of travel take place in Colombia, Canada, Mexico and South America. And through the years these earliest memories have fostered such a passion for other cultures, people, foods, wines and scenery that I cannot imagine a life without travel playing a rich part of my life.It was the great Maya Angelou who said, “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” And that is what travelling should be about – making friends, understanding and seeing new things and people, and expanding the mind and our own personal universe. Once you embark on a life of travel, it is life altering.My earliest memory overseas was in Colombia. My grandmother and her family lived in a small village on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. I was very young when my sister, father and mother went to visit her family. I remember uncles and a very loving aunt. And, I remember my tall grandmother who was the mistress of her domain.Part of this memory includes my sister and I venturing into the chicken coop. As girls from New York, we had never seen chickens in their pens. I remember asking my dad why they were in pens and he told me they were producing eggs and a little like magic, he was able to find a chicken that was nestled on top of her eggs. I remember the noise, the flying feathers, the heat and the disorientation and wonderment of being in something so foreign.The next thing I recall is being near a half door in a kitchen that was open at the top. I scanned out over dirt and a large turkey running around. Again, I asked my father what the turkey was doing outside by himself and I wondered if I could play with him. But no sooner had I asked that question than I heard my grandmother’s husky and booming voice summoning one of her workers. She directed a few quick words in Spanish to him and next thing you know, he walked swiftly passed the door and my father and mother were hurrying us inside to the main house. I sensed something was happening. I was not sure what, but a bad feeling lingered in the air. Needless to say, that turkey I wanted to play with became our dinner that evening.If I had not traveled outside of New York, I would have never had the experience of being in a South American country, in a little town, on a small farm – learning my first lessons about life and death.A number of years later, my family lived in Argentina. And as far as I am concerned, there is life before and post-Alfonsín. I remember going through the streets of Argentina in a taxi when the British were at war over the Falkland Islands, or as the Argentines called them, Las Islas Malvinas.Some of our experiences were not very good as the United States was on the side of the British and when we were stopped one time by the police and asked to produce documents, it was a very tense time as we sat in the taxi waiting for the policeman to throw the U.S. passports literally back in our faces after he gave us a few very crass and choice words about what he thought about Americans.Yet, one of my fondest and mind-altering moments happened in Buenos Aires and it is a country I very much adore all of these years later. On December 10, 1983, I had the great fortune to be with my family the night that Raúl Alfonsín was the first democratically elected president following the military government.I remember it being late at night and we heard what at first we thought were riots, but then was clearly joy. It seemed that hot night that the whole city, the whole county had poured onto the streets. I recall pulling up the wooden shades and opening the doors of our living room windows that led onto our balconies. The thunderous roar of the crowds below. The music. The lights cut through the darkness. A new day had dawned in Argentina and I was fortunate enough with my family to be witnessing the re-birth of a nation as it celebrated the early moments of its new destiny.My parents did their best as my sister and I grew up – and sometimes they did not. However, one of the greatest gifts they instilled in me was the gift of curiosity and wanting to see the world beyond the city where I lived. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
When you travel, you move from one place to another. This traveling can be for work or for leisure. Traveling due to work may be stressful however, when you travel with friends or family, it will turn in to a relaxing experience. With the summer vacations round the corner, many families plan a holiday together. Traveling abroad is perhaps the most ideal choice. Air travel may seem a little hectic especially when you are with your family. However, if you keep these basic tips in mind, you are sure to enjoy a pleasant journey.TIPS TO TRAVEL BY AIR- To have a well planned trip, one should first begin with buying travel indemnity. Traveling insurance is important as it will keep you safe and protected from unforeseen situations.- Travel insurance is also helpful when you lose your personal ID.- When you are traveling by air, make sure that you reach the airport well in advance to go through the security check process. The process is even longer plus difficult when you are travelling internationally.- When in flight, make sure that you stay calm and relaxed. If you like reading, you may want to get some of your favorite books and magazines along so that you don’t feel bored.- Carry a hand bag along with you so that you can keep your basic requirements in it. Make sure that you carefully check what you are carrying in your bag as there are a few things that are not allowed in flight.- Be aware of the size of the bag that you carry with you and be organized so that you don’t distract and slow down the security process for others and yourself.- If the airport you are flying out of is not close to your house, make arrangements to stay in a hotel that is nearby to the airport for a night to avoid last minute hassles.- Take some snacks and food along with you because some airlines do not provide you food or snacks but they do permit you to carry it.- If at all the color of your suitcase matches with the color of some other person’s suitcase, add a mark to it to better distinguish it from that of other traveler’s.- In case of travelling with children carry a lot of Snacks along with you so that they may be occupied and hence they may not feel bored.- Along with snacks also carry some story books and puzzles to keep your kids occupied.