What documents do I need to travel with my grandkids?

Multi-generational travel was the biggest travel trend of 2018. More and more families are heading overseas with their extended family to make unforgettable memories together, but what if it’s just you and the grandkids?

You may need certain documents to travel with grandkids.

Grandfather playing with two young girls at Plaza de España in Seville, Spain. Travel documents for grandkids

40 per cent of all leisure travellers have taken a multigenerational holiday in the last year. Picture: Shutterstock

You might be surprised to know some countries require special documentation to prove your relationship to your grandchildren. For example, the South African Government now requires incoming passengers under 18 to carry an unabridged birth certificate and/or sworn affidavit in order to enter the country. While this is an extreme case, most countries have their own laws regarding who can accompany a minor abroad. Getting the ‘all-clear’ becomes even trickier when you don’t share the same last name as your grandchildren.

We believe it is always best to be over prepared than underprepared. We encourage all travellers heading off with their grandkids to carry a written letter of consent from the children’s parents or legal guardians. You can find templates you fill download online, but handwritten notes are adequate and should include the following.

Full names of children, parents or legal guardians, people who will be travelling with the kids

Description of the relationship between traveller and children

Parents’ or guardians’ contact details

Destinations and dates of travel

Insurance policy details

Necessary medical information

The document should ideally have the signatures of both parents or legal guardians. Having it witnessed and signed by a justice of the peace is even better.

Here are a few other things you should know before you take a holiday with your grandkids.

Flying with grandkids

Children under the age of 18 tend not to need any form of ID when flying domestic. However, it’s always a good idea to carry some anyway. A birth certificate or Medicare card will usually suffice.

When flying internationally, the rules vary between countries and airlines. Children require a passport as per usual but, in some cases, a visa or further documentation may be required. Check directly with the airline before you travel to make sure you have all the correct documentation to board the flight.

Dad saying goodbye to daughter at airport. Grandparents waiting. Travel documents for grandkids

Carrying the correct documentation can help keep you out of trouble on a multi-gen trip. Picture: Shutterstock

On the ground

When travelling abroad, some hotels may want to scan your passport for security reasons. This may include your grandchildren’s passports. In Australia, this is uncommon.

When catching trains and buses, ID for adults is rarely needed as long as you have a valid ticket. However, if you plan to take advantage of concession and student discounts, kids may need to show proof-of-age in order to redeem discounted tickets.

Before you go

Organise and compile all necessary documents. Keep these in a plastic sleeve or folder in an easily accessible part of your bag.

Be aware of any medical conditions your grandchildren may have and put a plan in place if things go wrong. You may need a note from the doctor for certain medications. For example, some medications for ADHD are banned overseas. Check these details carefully as the importation of drugs comes with strict penalties. Make sure you have the emergency contact numbers of relatives, emergency services and embassies.

Register your travel plans with smartraveller.com.au

Ensure you have the correct travel insurance to cover everyone in your party.


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