Lessons Learned Traveling With Children - My Family Travels

We were stopped at the Canadian/US Border in Blaine, Washington about ten years ago enroute to a weeklong salmon fishing trip.  My husband and I (not married at the time) were stopped, as he was taking his son across the border without any documentation from the biological mother.  The border patrol agents had us all exit the vehicle (it was 2:30 AM) and they took my step-son (6-years-old at the time) into a separate interview room to “interrogate” him to make sure our stories all matched.  They scolded my husband for not having a notarized letter from my step-son’s mother in which she allowed us to take her son into Canada.  They then tried to call her, however, failed to reach her.  After an hour or so, they let us continue on our way.  We take the same salmon-fishing trip to Northern Vancouver Island each July and now we bring a notarized letter, signed by his mother, allowing us to take her son with us.

We have taken my step-son and also a variety of nieces and nephews to Mexico with us.  We always travel Alaska Airlines and they’ve been excellent at telling us in advance of the proper documentation that we needed when bringing children to Mexico that were not ours.  We’ve used a standard letter for both Canada and Mexico over the past ten years and it’s worked well.  When entering Mexico Customs at the airport they don’t always ask to see proper documentation – it’s sort of a “hit or miss” scenario.  However, we ALWAYS make sure to have the proper, notarized documentation when bringing children along or when one of us travels alone with the children.

Two years ago we traveled to Europe as a family.  After two weeks, my husband returned to the States with our two-year old daughter while I continued on to other countries.  We were proactive in having proper, notarized documentation for my husband to return to the States with my daughter alone, as I was not returning at the same time.  It also worked out well, as I accompanied them to the departing airport in Paris and assisted my husband while he checked himself and our daughter in.

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