When Mom and Dad Leave Town

by Shera

I’m so excited to have the opportunity to represent 5 Minutes for Mom in Cozumel, Mexico at the Park Royal. (Yes, being on the 5 Minutes for Mom writing/editorial team has some SERIOUS perks!)

When Janice asked me if I wanted to go, I immediately phoned my hubby, and asked him, “So, how do you feel about going to Mexico? Think you can squeeze it onto the calendar?”

What followed was a rather interesting silence, but once he regained his composure (doesn’t take much for my mellow hubby), and made sure I was serious, he started to get excited and said he was definitely on board.

So began the journey on my end to begin getting everything together. Suddenly though, the gazillion and one things that needed to go on my to-do list astounded me.

Just for starters, if you haven’t gone out of the country in the last 8 years, things have changed….drastically! When we went on a trip outside of the US in 1998, all we needed were our drivers’ licenses, birth certificates and marriage certificate.

Fast forward to 2009 and we now need a passport book to leave the country, a process that typically takes 3 to 4 weeks to receive or 2 to 3 weeks for expedited…I don’t have that luxury.

Then there’s the fact that when we took the trip 10 years ago, we only had one child (though I was 7 months pregnant with our second son), so finding childcare and all that implies wasn’t a problem. Now, we have 6 sons to find care for and oh-my-goodness that has been interesting!

Then, as if all that wasn’t enough, I suddenly realized that I need to come up with medical releases and information for all of my kids and each caregiver during the time we’re gone. Also, as hard as this is to think about, should anything happen to my husband and I while we are gone, we have to have documents in order stating who is to handle all decisions for our children.

If your family, like ours, rarely travels and never leaves the country, there are definitely a lot of things to think about…they absolutely did NOT occur to my husband, and were just offhand thoughts for me.

We are mere days away from leaving for the trip and haven’t even begun packing, yeah, we kind of procrastinate that way. Our childcare is arranged, our passports are now in order and tonight we begin the task of packing 8 people for various adventures.

Here is my checklist for leaving town:

  1. Research and Book Travel Arrangements
  2. Prepare Budget and Get Cash/Travelers’ Checks
  3. Get Passports
  4. Arrange Childcare
  5. Prepare a List of Cell Numbers and Emergency Numbers for Childcare Providers
  6. Prepare Medical Releases and Medical Information for Childcare Providers
  7. Prepare Guardian Documents and Wills
  8. Pack Children’s Bags (Janice has a fun tip — include a special note or gift for each child!)
  9. Pack Our Bags

For a comprehensive packing and trip preparation list, visit http://www.workingparents.com/trvlist.htm

Did I forget anything? What do you make sure you do before traveling?

Make sure you follow me on Twitter (@afroginmysoup) … I’ll be updating the whole time we’re there!

This post was written by Shera from A Frog in My Soup. Shera is a Contributing Editor for 5 Minutes for Mom and 5 Minutes for Giveaways, and is the Managing Editor for 5 Minutes for Faith.

Email Author    |    Website About Shera

Shera is the mom of 6 boys ranging in age from Kindergarten to High School. She loves writing, color, photography and all things pretty. You can find her blog at A Frog In My Soup. You can also follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Angela Nazworth April 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm

So excited for you girl! Looking forward to those updates.


2 Jennifer April 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I understand what you are going through. We are leaving 3 kids behind in July when we go to Mexico! I can’t wait! But, yes…there is so much to do that I hadn’t thought about. Happy to say, passport is applied for. Now…just a million and 1 other things to do! Have a great trip.


3 Susan April 23, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Isn’t it amazing how much there is to arrange just to take a holiday?

I cannot even imagine all that work organizing the 6 kids! Yikes. I guess that’s why I only plan on having 2.

I hope you have a fabulous trip!!! We’re looking forward to seeing photos.


4 tracey April 23, 2009 at 7:36 pm

WOW! Have a fabulous time!! I get excited over the teeny little perks of my little blog. Can’t imagine how thrilled I’d be to go to MEXICO!

5M4M, need any new writers?



5 Angie (Losing It and Loving It) April 24, 2009 at 8:29 am

Sounds like a great experience! We have to make sure someone is available to come in and take care of some of our pets, book the kennel for our dog and make sure someone will bring in the mail too. We don’t have kids at home but it still seems like I have a lot to do before we leave every time.

Have a great time!


6 Heather J. April 24, 2009 at 9:40 am

One important tip: Before you leave the country, notify all of your credit card & bank card companies that you are leaving and let them know what countries you will be traveling to. If you don’t, they will likely turn off your cards as soon as you charge your first item on your trip. That happened to hubby and I on a trip to Northern Ireland a few years ago.

Another tip: We found it very hard to use travelers checks during the past few years. Of course we could still exchange them at the local banks, but most hotels, stores, restaurants, etc. would not accept them. I think this has to do with the widespread use of credit/debit cards but regardless of the reason, we don’t purchase travelers checks any more.

Hope that helps … and I hope you have a WONDERFUL trip!


7 Maggie April 24, 2009 at 10:32 am

Oh I’m green with envy! I’ve never gone on a trip without my kids! I don’t have any advice, but have a great time! I can’t wait to get updates and see pictures!


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