10 Top Tips For Safe Family Travel
A good summer vacation can generate memories that stay with you long after you’ve returned home to your everyday routine. When something goes amiss on vacation that is often memorable, too, but for all the wrong reasons. We want families who read FamiliesGo! to have the best possible memories from all their travels, so we’re offering a list of tips for safe safe summer travel from some of our favorite family travel writers.
10 Travel Safety Tips for Families
Tourist safety starts with having the inside scoop on local public transit.
1. Just because a transit system is available well into the night, doesn’t mean you want to use it at all hours. I’ve ridden the NYC subway as late as 11:00 pm, but I wouldn’t ride it everywhere at that hour. In Mexico City we paid for cabs after about 6:00 at night even though the subways ran later. Ask your hotel concierge or another local insider how late you can safely take public trains and buses.
2. Subways and buses, especially crowded ones, create opportunities for petty theft. If you can, get out of the crowd by moving to the other end of the train car or bus, or by switching train cars. If you can’t, keep your bag in front of you or your hand on wallet pocket. Be especially aware of groups of noisy kids, who might be creating a diversion on purpose.
Prevent Theft and Loss
Safe travel means not having your trip interrupted by the loss or theft of your valuables.
3. Michele Chan-Thompson of Malaysian Meanders suggests that “women to put their purse on their lap when eating out instead of hanging on the back of the chair or on the floor. It’s much harder to steal!”
4. Rachael Brown of Nate & Rachel suggests splitting your cash among different pockets, zippers, and bags. “It’s a good idea to keep some cash and a credit card in a money clip in a pocket separate from your wallet.” Even if a thief or pickpocket get your wallet you still have cash and a credit card.
If you are going someplace where you know ATMs are readily available consider being conservative in the amount of cash you carry and getting more cash at regular intervals. If you do need to bring a lot of cash, don’t carry it all with you at any given time and consider a travel wallet that goes around your neck or waist, or travel clothes with hidden pockets.
5. Heather Lopez of I Love Family Travel puts all of the customer service phone numbers for her credit cards in her phone and sends an email to herself. “If you lose your wallet or it gets lifted, you can easily call your card companies.
Karon Clark Warren of This Girl Travels, advises putting a photocopy of your passport in your suitcase or taking a photo of it on your phone. “So you have your passport info if your passport is lost or stolen.” You can email those passport photos to yourself, too, along with boarding passes, hotel information and other critical items.
6. Colleen Lanin of TravelMamas always buys travel insurance. “It not only protects you in case of illness or injury, but it also can help with a lost or stolen passport, an emergency funds transfer, or even a referral for legal help.”
While many people think to buy travel insurance to cover airline tickets, resort stays or cruises, they often forget to do it when they rent a vacation home. But if you have to pay in advance and it’s not refundable, then insurance for this can also be worthwhile.
Family safety away from home means knowing where your kids are.
7. Lanin dresses her kids in bright colors to prevent losing sight of them in busy public places. “We also assign a specific adult to watch each child at all times.” She cautions, don’t assume the other parent is watching them because they might be assuming the same thing!
Lindsay Nieminen of Carpe Diem Our Way is a fan of ID Bracelets for kids to young to memorize their parents’ names and phone numbers, especially in theme parks and other crowded places. “It only takes a second for them to wander around a corner.”
If you don’t want to buy custom ID bracelets, you can pin your business card or a piece of paper with your name and phone number in your child’s pocket (make sure they know it’s there).
8. La Jolla Mom‘s Katie Wood Dillon likes to have a plan in case her family members become separated in a hotel common area “I lived in a hotel and somehow only part of a family would make it on to the elevator.”
Having an agreed-on plan and meeting place is a good idea in any busy place. My daughter is still a bit young for that, but before heading into Disneyland last year I talked to her what to do if we were somehow separated; to find an employee, what to say and so on.
Protect Your Personal Health
Summer safety also includes keeping ourselves healthy.
9. Becky Mladic Morales of Kid World Citizen says it’s easy to become dehydrated when traveling. “Our schedule gets messed up and we forget to drink, or we’re in dry environments like airplanes, or we’re holding back because we’re trying to avoid 50 bathroom breaks on a long road trip.” But, drinking water is crucial to good health.” And kids can become dehydrated much more quickly than adults. Dr. Sears says that if kids seem lethargic or grouchy, their lips are dry or it’s been a while since they’ve used the bathroom then it’s probably time to drink up.
10. Similarly in the old days parents knew the family hadn’t gotten too much sun when their kids were sunburned, but with ample sunscreen it’s easy to overdo the sun and hot weather and for heat exhaustion can sneak up on us—and again kids succumb more easily. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include goose bumps on a warm day, dizziness, fatigue, cramps, headaches and nausea. When they surface it’s time to loosen tight clothes, drink plenty of water and rest in a cool room.
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