Raising a Traveling Tribe: Traveling With Sick Kids

by Tina on February 24, 2014

in family, Raising a Traveling Tribe

traveling mama sick kids spain

Hello, everyone!  We are back from Spain and getting settled back into our routine here in Copenhagen.  Our trip to Spain was a mix of business and pleasure, and while the business side went great, on the night before we were suppose to leave for a couple days of vacation, our son came down with a stomach bug which then got passed around over the next few days.  We managed to squeeze in a little sight seeing in between the kids feeling under the weather but nothing like we had planned.

At first we all felt pretty bummed out and a little disappointed to traveling with sick kids, but this was definitely not our first experience with it.  Sometimes it just happens, doesn’t it?  No one wants it and if any of us knew it was going to happen then we probably wouldn’t book an expensive vacation, but since we cannot know it will happen, being prepared and making the best of the situation can make things go a little smoother.

Here are some of our tips for surviving traveling with sick kids:

1. Always come prepared.  Pack over the counter medications for minor illnesses and band aids for scratches and bumps.  Depending on where you travel, pharmacies can have odd hours and it’s best to be as best prepared as you can so you don’t waste time trying to find the one pharmacy that is open in the city on a Sunday afternoon.

2.  Know your reservations.  Waking up in the middle of the night with a sudden illness is hard enough, but adding the stress of a flight booked a couple hours later only makes things worse.  Contact your airline and/or hotel to find out what your options are before panicking over how big the fees are going to be to change things around.

3.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Hotel staff are accustomed to visitors becoming ill, so don’t be afraid to call down for extra towels or a glass of sprite, even if it’s 2 o’clock in the morning.  The staff can also help you find a doctor who speaks your language if you are traveling outside your own country and need more medical attention.

4.  Invest in Added Insurance Coverage.  Many times you can contact your personal insurance company for extra coverage, but either way, make sure you are covered for added medical costs if you are traveling overseas.  Medical emergencies can be very expensive, especially if you don’t want to try your luck in some of the less than ideal free clinics available in certain countries.

5. Protect yourselves against germs.  Most of us do not want to be reduced to wearing a face mask while traveling, but carrying antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizer can help ward off some of those unwanted germs.  When you travel, you can be exposed to a new set of germs, so be sure to give kids their vitamins and have them wash their hands regularly.

6. Be careful where and what you eat.  One of the biggest challenges while traveling is knowing where to eat.  Look for seals of approval and crowds of people in restaurants before dining there.  If locals don’t want to go there, then you probably shouldn’t either.  Never eat street food, no matter how cheap and tempting it looks.

7.  Look on the bright side.  If someone has to be sick, at least a nice view and a warm breeze in the winter will help make it a little better.  It is unfortunate to lose time  and money over illness, but it happens to most of us at some point, so try to make the best of it.  It will definitely make you more appreciative of your own bed while you get home!


Maybe some of you have dealt with traveling with sick kids?  What did you do to make the best of it?


Visit this post for our tips for handling a true medical crisis in a foreign country.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

simplystylishmom February 24, 2014 at 2:56 pm

Last year unfortunately we had a hospital visit in Cheshire, fever and flu in Rome and a crazy stomach bug in Berlin…. argh. Thankfully the trips since then have been less eventful. The best thing is if you’re a resident in Europe it means you’re pretty much covered for hospital fees etc within Europe. As you said – be prepared, I now travel with all my supplies – especially medication for the adults – nothing worse than getting sick when your kids are sick! We always have low expectations and are very careful with restaurants – and food choices. Since those sicknesses we give our kids vitamins daily, since then (touch wood) I have noticed a HUGE reduction in illness within our family.


Tina February 24, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Bless your hearts! It sounds like you got everything out of the way at once. I’m glad you guys at least got a period of wellness to make up for it!


Corinne February 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm

This is a good list. I feel this is when dual parenting is such a bonus. When one of our girls got sick, one of us took the day off from sight-seeing and stayed with the sick one while the other parent and child took off. It also seemed to help save all of us from falling victim as well. Great post.


Tina February 24, 2014 at 7:06 pm

So true! My daughter and I snuck out for a bit to the mall which was opened until 10pm (unbelievable since everything closes at 6 or earlier on the weekends here!) We were able to grocery shop and pop into Zara home which felt like such a treat.


Lindsay February 24, 2014 at 9:11 pm

Oh, I ‘m sorry to hear that! Last week our kids had a week off from school and we all came down with a stomach bug, too. I did get to see the House Hunter Int’l show where you appeared with your family. Loved it. Great job on your apartment.


Tina February 24, 2014 at 9:37 pm

oh no! Being sick on a school holiday is awful! Don’t you just want to scream at the unfairness of it? Hope you are all much improved!


Belle February 25, 2014 at 10:47 am

Excellent advice and we’ve definitely been there! Our vacation to Italy in 2011 included a trip to the Jesu Bambino Hospital in Rome. Turns out our little guy had a throat infection. And then I, being newly pregnant and very stressed and unable to take anything more potent than a Tylenol, came down with the mother of all migraines that left me in utter and complete misery the entire train ride to Naples. Good times.


Tina February 25, 2014 at 11:18 am

ugh! Your poor little guy and poor you! It is always a little scary to go to a foreign hospital but thankfully we have always had very good experiences.


Battle Maiden February 25, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I will surely pass this along! Hope our family didn’t pass it to you. Sometimes it takes 1-3 weeks for the virus to kick in. We now take milk bacteria few days before and during traveling.


Tina February 26, 2014 at 9:00 am

There is no telling where it came from, especially with airplanes and trains involved. I’ve never heard of taking milk bacteria. I’ll have to look into that.


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