Contrary to what many people think, having a family doesn’t take away your sense of adventure. And it shouldn’t stop you from enjoying what the world has to offer. In fact, traveling with your family is rewarding and memorable because you do things together. Sitting on an airplane together, moving from one continent to another…….unlike sitting at home playing video games, what you experience with your family when traveling has no age bracket. Not to say that there are no challenges when traveling with family, which is why we’ve developed a range of tips on how you can travel stress-free from Ireland to the U.S.
- Kids need less time on the road
Nobody wants to travel long distances with their kids. “Are we there yet?” “I want to go back home” These are common questions when traveling with your kids. A direct flight from Ireland to the United States takes 8 hours 5 minutes. You’ll cover a distance of 4,123 miles with your family. It is understandable why they get bored.
The duration of flight depends on many factors; weather conditions, congestion in the air, wind speed and flight path. The actual duration may be less or more than eight hours. Indirect flights also take longer as you’ll be landing and taking off in extra airports. In this regard, you should travel in comfortable airplanes. Ones that allow your kids to play video games or engage in other kid-related activities while traveling. We also advise you to take a direct flight to America to avoid being in the air for longer periods with your family.
- Average accommodation isn’t recommended
Just like on any other travel, accommodation during your family trip should be in a central location. Why? You want to visit many places from a central location where it’s easy to get a cab or local flights. Again at the end of the day when you’ve explored different sceneries, families come with an extra need especially when it comes to entertainment and comfort.
That’s why you should opt for guesthouses and hotels with multiple bedrooms or connected bedrooms when you have teenagers who want their space. Go for hotels that have kids clubs to give mum and dad a break. A careful selection of where to stay in America can be the difference between not wanting to leave and bored kids. Tripadvisor.com and booking.com can come in handy when booking accommodation online.
As an Irish citizen traveling with your family to America, you must obtain approval via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to America. An ESTA is a travel permit and not an American visa. This rule has been in existence since January 12, 2009. ESTA application is web-based, meaning you can apply and CHECK ESTA approval online. Technically, this application should be made no later than 72 hours before traveling, but it is recommended you do it at least two weeks prior to your journey. The ESTA application costs between $14-90 and you’ll get the feedback immediately.
Before traveling with your family, make sure all your passports are valid. Meaning for the duration of your stay in America, they won’t expire. A passport also allows you entry into the U.S. and is your identification document. The U.S Department of Homeland Security issued a notice on the requirement of an e-passport, but don’t worry.
All Irish citizens issued passports after October 2006 are electronic in nature. It is easy to identify an e-passport because it has a unique chip symbol displayed on the front cover. It has a unique chip embedded in it and it can be scanned to reveal your credentials. While in the U.S. you’ll want to ensure that you and your family members keep your passports on you at all times since the Federal Law requires that you do so.
While visiting other countries, international credit cards are the safest and hustle-free ways of carrying money. Your local bank will, however, charge you a small fee for the currency conversion so you are advised to call them and get information regarding the nature of the charges.
We also advise that you convert some of your money into the U.S. dollar to help pay for small transactions. It will come in handy when you want to buy simple things like candy and ice cream for your kids. Whereas you’ll be able to use an ATM in the U.S, there are some hidden charges that are typically higher compared to the ones charged at your local bank in Ireland. The most common international cards used include; American Express, Visa and MasterCard.
Understand your destination
Whereas traveling with family is fun, you should take your time and understand your destination. Getting from the airport to your hotel can be challenging when you have kids and you don’t know where to go or even how to get there. It is advisable to try and understand the city or town you’ll be staying in. you should book airport transfer in advance.
Small tips like knowing the time difference between Ireland and the city you’ll be staying in once you arrive with your family in America and the weather patterns can help make your visit less stressful. Depending on where you’re planning to visit in the U.S, the time difference will be somewhere between 5 to 8 hours behind Irish time.
The climate in the U.S also varies from state to state and the season of traveling. We advise you to carry out your research in advance and bring with you proper clothing. You don’t want to find yourself in the snow with clothes meant for summer holidays.
Traveling to the U.S with family is easy if you make proper plans, and this list of tips isn’t conclusive. It is always important to read and understand the different laws of the state or city you’ll be visiting in America, bearing in mind the U.S has some of the strictest laws in the world. You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
Have all the necessary documents before traveling. Also consider paying for traveling insurance and medical cover for you and your family. Furthermore, it’s by no means an offense to contact a travel agent at the U.S embassy in Ireland to help you with anything that needs clarification. Enjoy your stay in America!