When preparing for a trip its never nice to think about the things that can go wrong but we have created this list to help you and your little ones be prepared just in case a situation does arise,
Have a plan for an emergency.
Obviously, when it comes to single parent travel you are it. Its important for your child to know what to do in a situation if something goes wrong. What would your child do if you were sick? Would they know what to do? It’s worth having a conversation with your child about the people they should approach for help, what should they do if mum or dad is sick or wouldn’t wake up etc. My son knows how to contact reception if we are in a hotel or hostel. Teach your kids how to identify staff of hotels, theme parks etc by their uniforms so they know who to ask for help. Instruct them in what situations would they phone reception to get help. We all hope our kids will never need it but its best that they have the power of knowledge to help if required.
Choose your luggage wisely. OK, so why is this a safety tip? Well the more you are carrying the more distracted you are. As single parents we don’t have a spare adult to deal with bags while one of us is with the kids. We all know kids are fast and its easy to get separated, especially when you are distracted dealing with cumbersome bags. I recently had a near disaster on a KL monorail, it was over crowded at peak hour and we were stuck in the middle of the carriage away from the doors, I had a suitcase which was huge and awkward (and a silly last minute choice.) At our station I couldn’t move with the suitcase and was struggling to get out but my super nimble small child squeezed through the crowd and straight out the door. Fortunately a very kind person shoved him back on the train when I called but, it just goes to show luggage choice is super important, Make sure your luggage suits ALL the situations you are going to be in. If you are moving around a lot choose something smaller or even a backpack.
Another not so pleasant thought but your child needs to know contact information for someone at home in the event of emergency. We travel with a piece of paper with details for our emergency contact people at home which my son knows to give to a trusted adult in an emergency so that our family can be contacted at home.
The following 2 tips apply to all travelling kids whether travelling with 1 adult or 6. They are important preparation tips for any family travel.
My phone number has been drummed into my chlid since a very young age and he will give it to ANYONE (OK so not always appropriate). On every trip I make sure he can rattle off my number (and the international dialing code) so that I can be contacted should the unthinkable happen and we become separated. I also teach him the name of the hotel we are staying in.
Teach kids who, where and how to ask for help
As a child I remember going to a crowded fair and my mum picking a tall structure and declaring that the meeting point if anyone were to get lost, in a similar fashion as soon as we arrive at a theme park or a zoo etc. I show my son who the staff are so he can identify their uniforms and ask for help if lost. He has also been taught that he could go into a shop or restaurant etc. and ask the staff to call me or for help. Discuss it with your kids, have a plan so that if they do get separated they have ideas on how to help themselves and you know what to expect they will do.
Please, Always, Always, Always purchase travel insurance, I cannot stress this enough. Travel insurance isn’t just for the financial cover in the event you lose your camera. Most good travel insurance companies offer a 24 hour help line you can call in an emergency. They can guide you to the best medical facilities, evacuate you, give advice, make arrangements and more. Some policies will get your travel companions home or fly a family member to you if you are hospitalised. Please, travel with travel insurance, their assistance goes beyond the financial.
The above safety tips mean your child will know what to do in a stressful situation. Chances are you will never need to use them but you will feel safer knowing your little ones know what to do if an incident arises. When The Wandering Child got off that train in KL without me (even though for only seconds) I was seriously panicking wondering what we would do but knowing that he knew my phone number, where we were going and who to ask for help is a comfort in those seconds of panic.
I wish you all happy & safe travels!! Now on to happier topics……
For more on Single Parent Travel click here