Travel season is here once more and I am super excited. It seems like the world has finally got back to some level of normality and people are once again booking holidays, flying and having a well deserved break abroad. It’s been a tough few years, and the whole family deserves a holiday. I’ve been browsing TripAdvisor and looking at all the amazing destinations out there. There are some things you’ll want to think about when traveling with the family though, and I want to talk through them here. If you have any safety tips for holidays, please share them in the comments so everyone can benefit!
Get Travel Insurance and a Health Insurance Card
Make sure you’ve got travel insurance. If you’re booking a package holiday then it may come with some form of travel insurance. Make sure you’ve read it through and that it meets your needs. If you’ve traveling around Europe and you have an old EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) then it needs to be renewed manually. If you’ve never had an EHIC them you now have to apply for the GHIC (that’s the UK Global Health Insurance Card). It’s free, but you do have to do it in advance. We’d all love to have the perfect holiday, but the fact is things can go wrong, and it’s not that uncommon to have an accident on holiday. When something goes wrong you want to know that you’re going to be able to get the help you need.
Back Up All Documents
My advice is to back up all your personal and travel documents, and have a physical copy available if possible. Don’t ever rely on one source of a document. You might not have access to Wi-Fi or your phone might run out of charge, or if you only have a physical document, it could get lost of stolen.
The most important things to have copies of are:
- Driver’s License
- Plane Tickets
- Travel Insurance Details
But I would also recommend you carry copies of:
- Accommodation Details (such as a hotel or AirBnB details) and your Travel Agency details if booked through them
- Any attraction tickets that you’ve pre-booked
- A printed copy of your emergency contacts
- A copy of important details for where you’re visiting – that could include the local police number, local hospitals, the embassy or consulate for that country.
Have a Family Meeting
A family meeting will make sure everyone is aware of what’s happening. This can include letting everyone know where you’re staying, and what family rules there will be for the holiday. Trying to get kids to obey rules when they’re already excited and hyper on holiday can be hard, but reminding them of rules in advance – with rewards depending on their age – can help a lot. Younger children will benefit from being talked through the process of flying and being prepared for travel, whilst teens will benefit from knowing what their curfew is going to be and what number to call in an emergency. And if your partner is anything like mine, even if only the adults are listening, a little reminder of where you’re going won’t hurt!
Every day of the holiday it can be good to have a little mini meeting as well. This doesn’t need to be particularly formal; just over breakfast discuss what the plans are for today and what the safety considerations are. Make sure everyone knows where to meet if they get lost, or if teens are allowed to go off on their own, make sure they know to always reply if you message or call them, and what time they need to be back by.
Make sure your phone is holiday ready
We all rely on our phones, perhaps a little bit too much. On holiday you’ll want to use your phone to keep in touch with family, both those on holiday with you, and people at home. You might want to look up details, to buy attraction tickets, or to call someone in an emergency. Before you go away make sure your phone is able to receive and send calls and access the internet in the country you’re going to, and that you understand how much that is going to cost. When you go make sure you have a charger with you, and I highly recommend a battery pack for emergencies. They’re really light to carry but can charge a phone multiple times to full – a lifesaver if there’s no charging facilities available.
If you’re traveling with teens who have their own phones, make sure those are up to date as well, and have your contact details in them stored in a way they can contact you abroad – that may require you to input the phone number with a +44 in it. If it’s going to cost money to be texting or sending photos back home, set limits on their phones so they can’t rack up a huge bill talking to their friends!
Brush up on your Safety Knowledge
There’s no such thing as too much knowledge when it comes to safety. Whilst there are plenty of hazards all around us at home, going abroad can bring fresh challenges. Research the area you’re going to and make sure you know if there’s anything dangerous there. For example if going to a beach holiday, make sure you know whether a beach is policed by lifeguards and what the rules are for swimming. Having good first aid knowledge will always stand you in good stead, but if there’s going to be a lot of swimming with kids involved, knowing the signs of dry drowning or secondary drowning can be very important.
Bonus Safety Tips for Traveling with Small Children
Travelling with small children can be extra challenging, but I have a few tips for you!
If you’re going to a crowded theme park or attraction or a very busy beach, take a photo of your child in their outfit in the morning. If your child gets lost this will help you remember what they’re wearing, but also give you a good photo to show people when looking for them.
Make sure your child is wearing a bracelet – it can even be one made of beads, or just a paper or plastic bracelet – that has their name and your phone number on it. Make sure your phone has signal and you can receive calls!
Give the room a safety check as soon as you get there. Little children may be able to open doors they’re not supposed to, or squeeze through spaces on balconies, or get into drawers where something dangerous is. Do a little home safety proofing for the room.
I hope that all these tips have given you something to think about, and a plan of action for getting ready for your next safe family holiday! Share your safety tips in the comments so that others can benefit.