Vacations are a great way for families to connect and make lasting memories. But to ensure the best holiday possible, it’s important to plan a trip carefully and prepare for different eventualities.While most travel destinations do their best to create safe and enjoyable experiences for traveling families, there will always be circumstances beyond anyone’s control. Extra precautions are therefore advisable as protection against unwanted mishaps, especially with children present.
Here are some family travel safety tips for a hassle-free trip:
1. Get travel insurance
Travel insurance is critical to guaranteeing financial coverage for anything that might occur during your vacation – particularly if you enjoy “off-the-beaten-path” family trips. For instance, if someone gets sick or injured on a mountain trek, emergency helicopter rescue or evacuation may be required. With travel insurance, you won’t have to worry about the (sometimes significant) costs, provided that the needed services are included in the plan, of course.
Also, should you be forced to cut your trip short or cancel it due to illness or injury, travel insurance can help you get back the money you spent, especially on an organized tour, either through a refund or an insurance payout.
2. Photocopy and back up important documents
Scan the originals of your documents and save copies in a variety of digital locations: email, cloud storage, memory stick and other digital devices. Also, make at least two printed copies of all pertinent documents, including passports, visas, driver’s licenses, airline tickets and more.
Many accommodations usually provide secure storage, either in a safe in the room or in a safe deposit box at reception Leave your sensitive travel documents there and bring the photocopies instead.
3. Have a working smartphone at all times
Make sure that every responsible family member has a mobile phone at important times. This way, in case you have to split up, you can easily contact one another and coordinate your meet-up points. Having a phone also allows you to grab an Uber or Lyft, find nearby landmarks or check Waze if you get lost.
If activating international roaming on numerous phones is too expensive, pick up local SIM cards and/or purchase cheap phones from the nearest mall or gadget retailer.
4. Choose safe accommodations
As everyone knows, accommodation can get expensive, but don’t sacrifice safety just to cut back on cost, especially when traveling with children.
When looking for the ideal family-friendly accommodation, check reviews of the hotel and the surrounding area. If it well help put you at ease, don’t hesitate to inquire directly from a hotel about the security measures in place to keep your family and your valuables safe while sleeping or out exploring.5. Use public transportation
Although it might seem counterintuitive to some people, public transportation is usually the best – safest and certainly cheapest – way to get around a city.
6. Share socially but responsibly
In today’s world, it’s important to practice safe sharing and not give away too much information.
By all means, fill your family’s social media accounts with photos and videos of your vacation. However, while posting online may seem harmless, you’re revealing a lot about where you are, where you’re going, where you’re staying, what you’re doing and whom you’re doing it with. Just think for a second before you click.
7. Check for travel and health alerts
To help choose safe destinations for family travel, always check government-issued travel and health warnings before you book a trip.
Travel warnings are usually issued during instances of civil war, unstable government, ongoing intense crime or violence or frequent terrorist attacks. Meanwhile, health alerts are issued if there are disease outbreaks. These usually come in three levels:
- Green or Watch Level 1 – Practice Usual Precautions
- Orange or Alert Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions
- Red or Warning Level 3 – Avoid Nonessential Travel
While warnings and alerts are an important service not be overlooked, they are definitely often alarmist and of the “better safe than sorry” ethos. Read between the lines and put things in reasonable context when deciding whether a warning should be a deterrent. Notably, children are especially susceptible to airborne diseases, so it’s best to avoid travel with your child while a destination is still under alert level 2 or warning level 3.
8. Tap into services that can help you face emergencies
Keep a record of the telephone numbers and addresses of important places in the destinations you will visit, such as police stations, hospitals, or the nearest embassy or consulate. It is tough to be a foreigner in distress in another country, especially if you don’t know any locals.
Family trips are more enjoyable when you and your family do not have to worry about anything. Embrace these family travel safety tips when planning your vacation to ensure that you are prepared from the moment you step out of your door at the start of your trip to the moment you step back inside at the end.
Lacey Hauptman has been a freelance writer since 2009, with a focus on digital marketing, travel photography and home design. She is also a budding travel photographer. You can find her on Twitter at @laceyhaupt.
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