Safe family travel doesn't have to be boring or complicated. Here are some simple and easy to implement practical tips that can help minimise dangers and get the most out of your time together...
Safe travels for all the family
Travel insurance is a must to cover you not only for any possible medical needs and emergencies, but also for lost or stolen items. A family policy means that everyone is covered by one policy - nice and simple. If you or your children may be taking part in activities like winter or water sports, make sure that the policy you choose covers this.
While many of us go away for the sun, too much can ruin a holiday. If you have a favourite sun cream, make sure you buy it before you leave as there's no guarantee that you'll find it on holiday - some parts of the world only have lower SPF's on sale. Re-apply sun cream regularly, and explain to children why and when they need it. If teenagers are heading out on their own, make sure they have access to their own bottle.
Travelling with young children
When you arrive at your accommodation, do take a little time to go through your room and make sure it is up to your own safety standards. Look at it through the eyes of your own child and notice if there are any potential hazards. Can they open the windows? Are there sharp edges that might hurt if a toddler falls on them? Don't forget to check out the balcony too. If you're not completely happy don't be afraid to make a fuss and request other accommodation. If that simply isn't possible, then do what you can to minimise dangers. Make sure you check out your fire escape route and ensure your children know where to go if a fire breaks out.
A first aid kit often comes in very handy - keep one readymade that you can pop into your case each time you go away. You should make sure that you take Calpol, plasters, bandages, ice packs, and electrolyte powders which are good for sunburn as well as diarrhoea. Along with these, don't forget to take your own medical supplies. If your child is on prescription medicine, such as an inhaler, take a note from your doctor if you are travelling - some places may question it. Put the medication in a clear plastic bag or box and you will not only be able to see everything much more easily, but customs and security will appreciate it too.
If a child goes missing
A lost child is every parent's nightmare. If they are old enough to understand, make sure your children knows what to do if they ever get lost. Don't give your children clothing or accessories with their names on - if someone calls them by their name, they are much more likely to trust them. Carry physical photos of everyone in your party so that if someone does get lost, their photo can be handed around and photocopied. There are plenty of children's identity bracelets or wristbands available (look on Amazon or eBay) where you can write your mobile number). Look for waterproof ones that are hard for children to remove. Keep one on your children at all times.
Travelling with older children
When you are out and about, designate an area or place to meet should you get separated. This could be anywhere that they will recognise and could easily get directions to if they needed them.
Do set some rules about social media - the big one is ensuring they're not letting people know your house is empty whilst you're away. Use your discretion and teach them to be sensible.
Don't be afraid to set some boundaries – for example, they may be allowed to play with other children, but can only stay within the hotel grounds. Allowing them a little leeway helps them learn whilst making sure they know the limits.
If your children are taking part in activities, make sure that they wear the correct safety equipment.
Travelling with teenagers
If your teenagers will be heading off on their own, get the whole family to bring phones and get everyone a local SIM when you arrive. This means that everyone will be able to stay in contact cheaply and easily without worrying about wifi or roaming bills.
Encourage your children not to flash expensive phones, cameras or tablets about, especially if you are in a country or area that is poorer than your own. Likewise, designer clothes and handbags are just as likely to attract thieves, so make sure they're being careful.
Research the culture online before you go. Some countries prefer beachwear to be kept on the beach, and working this out before you travel is much better than letting your teenagers learn the hard way.
This quick and easy checks will mean you can have complete peace of mind - all that'll be left to do is enjoy your holiday.more blog posts