Travel is fun, enriching, and relaxing. It is a great way to connect with your family and teach your kids about the world.
Unfortunately, the world can be a dangerous place and it is important to think about safety when planning your journey. By taking the following precautions, you and your family can have an enjoyable and safe vacation.
Plan and Share Your Itinerary
Create a written itinerary for your trip. Online services such as TripIt can review your e-mail and compile all of your travel-related information into a single document (flight, hotel, car rental, etc). Share the itinerary with your children so they are aware of times and locations of events during your trip. Also share your itinerary with a trusted relative or friend in case of emergency.
Secure Identification for Kids
I recommend getting a passport for each member of your family. The process can be cumbersome at times, but having a passport can make life a lot easier when you travel. You can avoid many problems when each member of your family has a form of government issued ID. Before my kids had ID, I would give them one of my business cards to carry in their pockets. The card not only had my name and phone number on it, but it also had my picture. If they were separated from me, they could hand my card to authorities to contact me.
Give Kids Short-Term Communication Devices
You may not allow your child to have a cell phone, but it is a good idea to get a Pay-as-You-Go device while traveling. These phones are relatively cheap and you only activate them as you need them. Program your phone number and any other important number into the device. Also make sure that your children know how and when to dial and emergency number such as 911.
Don’t Take Rides from Strangers
At many airports around the world, people will offer you a ride for a low price. Don’t accept rides from these people. In fact, you should report them to authorities at once. Only accept rides from licensed vendors such as taxis and shuttle services. Taxi stands and shuttle stops are clearly marked at airports. You can also use on demand services such as Uber or Lyft. Even with these services, it’s important to remain vigilant. If the driver makes you feel uncomfortable, get out of the vehicle and report the driver.
Avoid Large Crowds
Large gatherings can be exciting, but they can also draw unwanted attention from people who wish to harm us. Try to avoid large crowds or celebrations if possible. If you must attend the event, keep your children close to you and keep your eyes open for suspicious activity. If you see something that doesn’t look right, report it to the authorities immediately.
Create an Emergency Plan
Every time you travel, you should create an emergency plan and communicate it with your family. You should select a central meeting location in case you are separated from one another. Identify one person that everyone can call to check in with. Locate escape routes in hotels and other buildings in case you have to exit quickly. And pay attention when the flight attendants are making the safety announcements.
Talk to the Concierge at the Hotel
While the concierge is great for recommending restaurants and activities, he or she can also give you advice on how to stay safe in the city. They can tell you which parts of town to stay away from and how to avoid danger during your visit. You this resource as much as possible.