10 Expert Safety Tips For Family Travel
November and December are big travel months. We travel near and far to visit family, get someplace warm —or snowy—or to give our family the present of a dream vacation.
It’s good to be reminded that even amid all that holiday travel cheer things can go wrong on vacations in ways big and small. We asked travel experts for their best safe family travel tip. Here are the 10 best.
10 Expert Tips for Safe Travel With Kids
1. Carry a Photo:
CheapOAir’s Travel Expert Tom Spagnola suggests parents keep a recent photo of the entire family on them. If anyone gets separated or lost you’ll have a photo to help share with the authorities.
This should be a real photo you stash in your wallet; not just a photo on your phone.
2. Label Your Kids:
Family travel blogger Nicole DeBickes adds, “When traveling to crowded places with young children, attach a small luggage tag with mom and dad’s cell phone numbers to their back belt loop. This way if they get lost or separated from you, whoever finds them knows who to call.”
Spagnola suggests giving older children an identity card “with your name, your mobile numbers and the name, address and telephone number of where you’re staying.”
Decide whether your kids will carry their phones on them over vacation; they might not know your cell phone number if they’re used to speed-dialing it. And they might not have their phone with them for all your activities, for example at a water park.
3. Make a Plan B:
Family travel Blogger Paul Kortman says “Make safety plans with your kids. If they get lost in the woods or in a park they should know to stay put.” If they’re lost in a theme park or on a cruise ship, they should be able to identify a park employee.
In busy places like resorts, cruise ships or theme parks it also helps to have a meet-up spot. With tweens and teens who are going around on their own set a meet-up spot and times for periodic check-ins.
Apps like Life360 and FindMyFriends are helpful for locating family members in cities, but in a resort or theme park they might not be precise enough.
4. Be Discreet:
Christopher Burgess – CEO of Prevendra, a safety, security and intelligence firm, suggests that in the age of Social Media, we share more discerningly when we travel and advise our social-media-savvy tweens and teens to do the same.
“Don’t over share your current location. Share where you’ve been, not where you are going.” And wait until your home to share all those lovely vacation pics.
5. Look All Around:
Travel Psychologist Michael Brein says to be more aware of your surroundings and behavior when traveling than you might be at home. “At home we organize our lives to basically ignore much of what goes on around us. But theft, pickpocketing, sexual assault all stem mostly from inattention and distraction.”
6. Act Like the Locals:
Phil Derner, Founder of NYCAviation, says, “Keep a low profile and blend in as much as you can. When in Rome dress like the Romans. Check maps before you leave the hotel.”
Always walk with purpose, even if you aren’t sure where you’re going.
Rent a car locally that looks like everyone else’s. This counts for other parts of the US, too, not just internationally.”
7. Carry the Right Bag:
Gregg Owner, Director of Jolly Good Tours recommends leaving your most stylish tote or high-tech backpack home. “It’s best to use an old tatty backpack or tote. There’s more chance of a mugger moving on than with a posh one.”
He adds that if your tour group or travel agent give you a branded travel tote, leave it at the hotel. “It advertises ‘I’m a tourist.’”
8. Insure Your Trip:
Consider the following statistics from Allianz Global Assistance when deciding whether to buy travel insurance and what kind: Most people buy insurance for trip cancellations but 60% of claims relate to trip interruption or delay, medical expenses and lost luggage. Only 40% are for cancelled trips.
9. Use Bank ATMs:
Travel Blogger Lisa Shusterman notes that ATMS are the easiest way to get cash while traveling, and overseas they can be the cheapest way, too. But she says, “I never use stand-alone ATM machines. I always use one that is connected to a bank, preferably during hours when the bank is open.
If the machine eats you card or something goes wrong with the transaction you can walk into the bank and resolve it then and there.”
10. Remember, Better Late than Never:
Robert Richardson, author of The Ultimate Situational Survival Guide: Self-Reliance Strategies for a Dangerous World, notes that particularly in winter when weather is bad, “A lot of accidents can been prevented by the driver pulling over and finding a safe place. Driving through dangerous conditions so you can make it to your destination on time is not worth the safety risk.”
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