It’s that time of the year again… the school holidays are creeping ever closer and with that the much-anticipated annual summer holiday! Wherever you’re off to it’s the perfect opportunity to escape the temperamental British weather and enjoy some quality family time.
Holidaying with the family should be a happy, stress-free time. But anyone who has ever travelled abroad with kids (myself included) will know that the reality can be somewhat different.
Our top 10 safety tips will help reduce the holiday stress and keep you safer over the summer holidays.
Planning for the Trip
The key to any successful family holiday is smart preparation!
1) Check with Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Have a look at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for updates on any situations in the area you’re travelling to (such as conflicts and weather) and then plan accordingly.
2) Local Customs and Regulations
Research the local dress codes and laws of the destination you plan to visit. This will help you and the kids slip under the radar, avoid being recognised as tourists when you’re out there and reduce your chances of being a target for pickpockets.
3) Emergency Contact Details
Give the kids a notebook (in a waterproof bag) with their emergency contacts (their name, age, accommodation contact information and blood group). Also, recent photos of the family members who are travelling. If you do become separated the photos will help officials reunite you and the children.
Passport tips – leave this in your hotel so it stays safe (you can keep photocopies on you). Scan photos of the passports on your phone so you have the necessary information handy in case you lose a passport.
4) Plan Your Journey
Plan your journey between the airport and hotel and have a taxi waiting for you all for when you arrive (or alternative transport). You may arrive feeling disorientated and tired which could cloud your judgement.
Once You Arrive
5) Accommodation Checks
Once you’ve checked-in make sure your accommodation is child-friendly (unfortunately, nowadays, some are not).
Things to check:
- Locks on the doors and windows - make sure the room is adequately secure.
- The sturdiness of the fittings - wobbly balconies and railings are unsafe. If you have these you should change your accommodation immediately.
- Loose towel-rails or curtain rails? – Point these out to the staff.
- Exposed wires or sockets? – use heavy furniture to block these off.
- Water temperature – if the water is too hot make sure you warn the kids.
On the Move
6) Identify the Best People for Help
Show your kids how to identify officials such as police officers or security, as well as mums with children. If they become lost they’re more likely to get help from trustworthy people.
7) Assign a Meeting Place
Visiting somewhere new? Make sure you set up a group meeting place to go if someone gets lost or separated. For young children mark the meeting point on the guide map (if the location doesn’t have a guide map then you can draw one to give to the kids). This will help adults steer your kids to the meeting point even if they’re too young to navigate on their own.
8) Travel as a Family
Travel with your children positioned in between both parents (one parent at the front and one at the rear) so you can keep an eye on them at all times.
9) Distinctive Clothing
Dress the kids in bright, distinctive clothing to make it easier to spot them in a crowd. If you’re visiting somewhere in the dark provide them with something that lights up (for example, a glow stick).
10) Invest in a Child Locator
From personal experience kids are not fans of backpacks with a leash, reins or anything that impairs their freedom. Another option is a child locator – to keep tabs on them in public places such as train stations, airports and crowded attractions where they can easily run off. The child wears a small unit and you will have the transmitter. If you lose your child, simply set off the alarm and follow the sound to find them.
There’s lots you can do to increase your family’s personal safety and reduce the risks whilst on holiday. Planning in advance helps give you the confidence to respond positively in times of stress and difficulty. Don’t wait until a difficult situation arises – plan, plan, plan now.
For a complete list of safety tips for travelling abroad simply drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.