Vanuit Curaçao met (jonge) kinderen naar het buitenland reizen

Traveling abroad from Curaçao with (young) children

It's almost time... the summer holidays are coming. Have the holiday plans already been made? Are you going abroad with the family? To the Netherlands to visit grandpa, grandma, family and friends? Or maybe something else, such as America, Colombia, Costa Rica or another island nearby? After a long period of restrictions due to corona, it is finally possible to board the plane again. We have been to Bonaire a few times ourselves, but that felt more like a bus ride than a long flight. Now the time has finally come and we will soon be going on holiday to the Netherlands with the family. Since the summer holidays are just around the corner, we thought it would be a good time to write a blog with tips that you should take into account when you leave Curaçao and go on holiday abroad.

Don't worry, I'm not going to give you a list of tips for flying with young children, because there is plenty to find on the internet. Instead , I would like to discuss what you can take into account when you leave Curaçao to go abroad with (young) children.

  1. The required documents
    Let's discuss the business aspects first. In addition to your flight tickets, you need other documents to travel abroad. If you are leaving outside the standard school holidays, you will need an official letter from the school. While the specific rules may vary by school, this letter must be requested in an official manner from the school board or principal. Previously you needed both a letter from the school and from the ministry, but these have now been combined into one letter from the school which is sufficient.

    In addition, there has been a lot of confusion recently about traveling with children. From July 1, 2023, there will be some changes. I have already read several messages on Facebook, where the information regularly contradicts each other. As we are leaving soon, we stopped by Kranshi this morning to make sure we can fly with our kids. What I can now say with certainty is that if both parents are traveling with the children, no additional consent form is required. If one of the parents is traveling with a child, an additional permission form is required. A letter of consent from one parent is no longer sufficient. On June 23, 2023, an article was published on showing that there will be some relaxation between July 1 and August 1, 2023, and the official new policy will be in effect from August 1. We recommend that you contact the official authorities such as Kranshi and/or immigration to be well informed about your specific situation and to avoid unpleasant situations. If you are traveling with your children, it is also always useful to have your marriage certificate with you, as this was regularly requested in the past.

  2. Reserve seats
    Seat reservations can be made 30 days in advance with most airlines. Unfortunately, we went wrong with this one time. We thought we could reserve the seats a week in advance, but that was a mistake. Suddenly we were no longer sitting next to each other. At that time we were only traveling with one child, so we hoped that the two of us could sit next to each other and take the child on our lap. However, that turned out not to be possible. We ended up sitting diagonally behind each other with an aisle in between. The child went back and forth between us. It wasn't ideal, but we made it. Nevertheless, we would like to warn you: do not forget to reserve seats in time. A warned person counts for two!

  3. To fly
    At the beginning of this blog we already indicated that we would not provide an extensive list of tips for flying with young children. A quick web search turns up tons of great lists. What we do want to share here is our own experience that we think more parents are not aware of. When we flew to Colombia with our little one, who was 9 months old at the time, we made a stopover in Bogota before flying to Medellin. It turned out that there were special rows for parents with (young) children. Initially we neatly joined the 'normal' queues, but other people pointed out to us that we could go to that special queue. That saved a lot of time. Instead of a line where you stand like you're waiting for a roller coaster, there were suddenly only 3 families in front of us. This gave us a lot of extra time and rest. We were able to have a drink and a snack at our leisure before flying on. Not sure if this is how it works at multiple airports around the world. Let us know in the comments if you know if this is also the case in other countries (this way we can help each other), but in Colombia this was the case.

  4. Clothing

    When you depart from sunny Curaçao, it is important to realize that as soon as you enter Hato airport, you immediately end up in a cool environment. Both at airports and in the aircraft itself, the air conditioning is often set correctly. So it is important to dress yourself and the children properly. Wearing layers works best. Always make sure you have extra clothes with you. A glass of drink, yogurt or similar can quickly spill, leaving you with a sticky child for the rest of the flight. So always take an extra set of clothes with you (from underwear to sweater), and a bag to put the dirty clothes in.

    In addition, it is important to take into account the weather at your final destination. Although it is always warm on Curaçao, this does not apply to all destinations. In countries like Colombia or America it can be pleasant to walk around in shorts and a t-shirt during the day, but it can get quite cool at night. It is therefore wise to also bring some warmer clothing. Finally, it is useful to plan well in advance and think about what you need. This year, for example, we are going on holiday to the Netherlands again, so we will definitely do some extra shopping for ourselves and the children. So it is not necessary to bring too many clothes.

  5. Maxi Cosi, buggy, handcart and baby carrier.
    Depending on the age of your children, it is important to think about local transport. Which items do you take with you, such as a maxi-cosi, buggy, handcart or baby carrier? Several options are available. If they are still very small (less than 6 months), it is useful to bring a maxi-cosi and accompanying pram. As they get older, we found a buggy indispensable. The distances you travel can sometimes be greater than you initially think (and what they are used to on Curaçao). Think of walking in a park, visiting a zoo or just shopping. It is then nice to let the little ones rest in a buggy. When our little one was younger than a year, we also used a baby carrier a lot. In Curaçao we personally found this too hot, so we didn't use it often. But abroad we used it almost every day. It gave us so much freedom. You can of course also combine this with a pram or maxi-cosi. As soon as they start walking, the baby carrier was used less with us.

    When they were both still small, we bought a handcart during the holidays. Just an affordable option (HEMA for 50 euros), and it was a great outcome. The kids (1 and 3 years old) could sit in it and we could dump all our stuff in it. We walked through the zoo with the wagon and through cities, and so on. Since they could both sit in it (even lie down), we thought it was perfect. Now that the children are a bit older (3 and 5 years old), we will only bring a good travel buggy. The distances are sometimes still too great for the youngest and then it is nice to sit (and rest) in the buggy. Even the oldest can still sit in it and secretly he also likes it. This year we are taking the Easywalker Miley2 as a travel buggy. It is light, compact and can even be checked in as hand luggage. Travel bag is included, so just put it in the bins above your head. This way you have it immediately at hand when you get off the plane and you can be sure that your buggy will stay tidy.

  6. Meeting with family/friends

    For people who have not been living on Curaçao that long, it may be useful to read this. People who have lived here for a long time know exactly what we are talking about. On holiday to the Netherlands... to be honest, we sometimes find it quite difficult. On the one hand it's great to see family and friends, but on the other hand we really want to have a holiday and not have a tight schedule from one appointment to the next. We've been through it all in recent years. Almost overcrowded agendas in advance, where we even made schedules to determine when we would meet with whom, up to the decision to see as few people as possible and just enjoy. Since we have children, we also notice that we don't want to make it too busy, both for ourselves and for the children. We don't want to constantly rush from one place to another and maybe even sleep somewhere different every night for the kids. This brings a lot of unrest and in the end it doesn't really feel like a holiday. Of course this is different for everyone, but it is good to think about this in advance. You can choose to stay in a central location, so that you have a fixed base and can make trips from there. Another option is to invite all the family and friends you want to see for one day, and make your own plans around it. Or you can even plan a vacation within your vacation. If you go on holiday for a bit longer, you can choose to spend a week somewhere in Europe where you will not meet any acquaintances. As said, everyone has to fill their holiday in their own way. But we have noticed that we really want to enjoy our holiday and have therefore made certain choices.

So, this is it for now. We are now preparing for our vacation. We have already bought the "snack boxes" (sorting boxes for tools) at Home Plus. We are also going to buy headphones for our youngest (the oldest already had one). We have checked our papers again and still need someone to look after our dogs, cat and fish during our holiday. The countdown has begun!

We wish everyone a very happy holiday!

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