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St. Louis, MO
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Single Mom - Are kids safe overseas?

I am a single mom of a 4 year old and am dying to take my little cutie to see the ocean and play on the beach this december. My parents have succeeded in making me a nervous wreck about taking my daughter out of the country and/or allowing her to participate in any of the kid's club activities.

I would love some feedback about kid's clubs. How safe are they? Is there any place that I should avoid?

Canada
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1. Re: Single Mom - Are kids safe overseas?

Unless you are planning on visiting a war zone, you and your daughter should be perfectly safe. And just because a hotel or resort offers a kids' club, doesn't mean you have to use it, or leave your daughter in the care of the employees.

Taking your daughter on holiday is such a wonderful experience, you shouldn' t let fear (or fearful relatives) stop you, if it is something you really want to do. If you've never traveled with your child before, it is certainly a different experience - but that doesn't mean it's any less enjoyable.

You have many options in many different destinations. Some packages include all transfers and food/drinks, so you don't even have to leave the resort if you don't want to. If you're nervous about leaving the States, you could go to Florida. There's a Club Med there.

Didcot, United...
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2. Re: Single Mom - Are kids safe overseas?

I took my daughter to the South of France when she was 5 and stayed in a cheap hotel then (Eurocamp) permanent camp site. We travelled on planes, trains and buses and even got a lift to the beach from a friendly woman with baby in the car when we were a bit lost. We spent most of the week by the camp pool where my daughter taught herself to swim. We overslept a bit on the last day, caught a later train and just missed the plane to come home and had to spend the night at the airport with no money and no accommodation. We had a blast. Travelling was so much fun with my 5 year old because she had no fear or worries and was very easily entertained by beach, pool and other kids we met. There was a kid's club at the place we stayed but it was too organised for my daughter but being in a place where there were other children I think really made her holiday. On other holidays the only difficulty I have had is eating out as I have found european restaurants not to my now picky 8 year olds tastes. It made it much easier to have access to cooking facilities for some of the time.

Hope you go and have a brilliant time - if you're confident and not stressed your 4 year old will pick that up and you'll both have a lovely time.

Julia

Ridgewood, New...
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for Kiawah Island, Charleston
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3. Re: Single Mom - Are kids safe overseas?

Four-years-old is exactly the right time to start traveling with your daughter, but you will need to help your parents to adjust and to feel comfortable. Otherwise, they may unconsciously frighten your daughter.

Although I am sure they won't admit it, I suspect your parents may be feeling a bit "left out". Also, they are also probably affected by the constant media coverage of the very few bad "incidents" that have occured in vacation areas in recent years.

Your parents would probably adjust easier if you were traveling in the summer, because you could do a beach vacation closer to home. Unfortunately, you will have to travel far south for warm beach weather in December, so leaving the country (other than Hawaii and southernmost Florida) is probably necessary.

Newbury Park...
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4. Re: Single Mom - Are kids safe overseas?

We have been taking our kids out of the country since they were very young. We are on our way again on Friday (kids are now 2, 6 & 10). We went to Club Med in Ixtapa - the kids club was amazing. I have very fair skinned kids and for an entire week they were in their care most of the day (the kids choice) and not a single sunburn. The kids LOVED it. They all had to wear life vest when they went down to the ocean. They had a much lower "adult - kid" ratio then most schools in the US have. The doctor on site was very good too. We also have friends who swear by Beaches and FDR (and the nannies there).

Help educate your parents on where you are going, get them involved a little bit in the planning (not too much though as it is YOUR vacation) and once they have been able to read the reviews and see where you are staying, they might be more comfortable.

A couple of things to keep in mind -

Have a passport for you and your 4 year old.

Have a notarized letter from your ex (or your child's biological father, or a full custody statement) stating you are allowed to leave the country. A good friend ended up staying 48 hours in Mexico City trying to track down the father to get him to sign a letter and fax it to them. You'll also need this to apply for a passport.

Check on the travel advisory site to make sure that there are no issues with the country.

Check on the the CDC website http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/default.aspx to see if you need any vaccination's. We are taking malaria pills now as we are heading off to the Dominican Republic.

Talk to your cell phone carrier and get service at your destination - will give your folks a comfort that they can easily get in touch with you or vice versa.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Single Mom - Are kids safe overseas?

We have been travelling with our now 7 and 11 year old since the oldest one was two. Sometimes my husband can't take time off so I've gone with one or both kids on my own. We have been to hotels, resorts and rented houses all over mexico and the carribean - cuba, nevis, montserrat, st. kitts, antigua, and are heading to costa rica and el salvador this coming year. I have never had any issues with the resorts we've been to with kids' clubs but I have to say usually my kids aren't all that interested in the clubs unless they meet a new friend that is going there or something really interesting is going on, like they are planning a performance (my kids love drama). The staff at the resorts we've stayed in - two in Veradero Cuba and at the Club Med in Ixtapa Mexico have been terrific. I would say as a first-time out an all-inclusive might be the way to go until you are more comfortable travelling on your own.

In many of these countries they really love children and I would say I have a better experience when I travel with the kids than I do when they aren't there. Travelling has made my kids much more open to other cultures and people and more independent. They go to a bilingual school and we have gone to spanish school in Mexico so they are able to use those language skills when we travel.

Don't let your parents scare you off. They sound like they mean well but are either very protective or not very well informed. I find with my friends who are single parents of an only child that there is a temptation to become really insular with their kids because they spend so much time with each other. It's great to broaden the horizons a little. Travel is a great educator.

6. Re: Single Mom - Are kids safe overseas?

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