If traveling the world wasn’t enough of an adventure on its own, you could always take your kids! Ha! However, the adventure of adding your children on your trip of a lifetime means considering all the challenges of keeping them happy and safe when faced with language, layout and laws of foreign places. No worries though, you’ll figure it out and there’s always these tried and true safety rules that apply wherever you go:
- Be Real
Be realistic and don’t plan activities that are nuts for your family’s demographic such as taking your two year old surfing in Hawaii or on a 10 mile hike through a mountain. Plan the right trip for your family.
- Have a Plan and Practice it
Make an emergency plan for the most common family travel scenarios: a lost family member, getting separated or an injured child. Give each person a specific job – even the littlest tike can learn to grab onto mommy or look for somebody official. Practice each scenario at home until everybody knows what to do without missing a beat.
- Keep a Photo on Hand
Imagine having to describe what your child looks like while panicked, using a foreign language. Yikes, right?! Keep a current photo on hand OR, better yet, snap a picture in the hotel room with your cell phone each morning before you head out so it shows exactly what they were wearing and looked like when they got lost.
- Assign Each Parent a Distinct Role
One parent is “security” – responsible for all tasks outside of the family. Security buys tickets, talks with tour guides and keeps an eye out for hazards or problems. The other parent is the “home Base” and responsible for everything involving the family. Home Base tracks where the kids are, watches for heat stroke and upset tummies and mediates disputes and disagreements. This means somebody’s always watching the kiddos even when things get messy. Single parents traveling with kids can assign the oldest child to cover many of the responsibilities of the Home Base’s role.
- Assign a Meeting Place
Whenever you arrive at a new place, set a group meeting place to go to if somebody gets lost or separated. That place should be easy to see and find even to the shortest members of your family, and accessible without having to pay admissions or wait in long lines. For the littlest of your crew, draw a map – or use a guide map available for the location – and mark your meeting point. This will help adults steer your child there even if she’s too young to get there on her own.
Safe Ride 4 Kids offers great tools, tips and products for a safe travel experience for you and your kids.