Family travel, especially foreign family travel can be an immensely rewarding experience, however, there are are also risks to traveling. Concerns about safety aren’t usually a good reason to stay home, and there are things you can do before leaving and once you arrive to stay safe. We asked a group of experts for their top expert tips for family travel safety – here are their answers.
Expert Tips: Family Travel Safety
“Before traveling, make copies of your driver’s license, medical insurance card, etc., and give these to a trusted adult. Have another set of copies in your home. Scan them and email to yourself”. – Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com
“When staying with your family in a vacation rental, always call and talk with the homeowner. Once you have selected a home, pick up the phone and call the homeowner or property manager to ask about anything important to you, like if there is a childproof gate around the pool or if it is wheelchair accessible”. – Homeaway.com
“Give a family member or trusted friend your contact information and itinerary while overseas. It’s also a good idea to give this person a copy of your major documents and the contact information for the ‘Family Office of Overseas Citizens Services’ in Washington D.C.” – Family safety and self-defense expert, Jarrett Arthur
“We always travel with a role of duct tape in our luggage. It can be used for so many purposes including sealing a room from smoke in the event of a fire, taping up a gap or loose rail on a balcony, or simply taping together a suitcase that has split mid-journey”. – Tara Cannon at Pint Sized Pilot
“Know who to call if in trouble. Have the phone numbers of the US Embassy 24-hour hotline pre-programmed into your phone and be sure to test the numbers. Sometimes the international dialing codes can be tricky and you don’t want to be figuring out if you need the +1 before the number when you’re in the middle of an emergency”. – Spencer Coursen, Coursen Security Group
“In my carry on bag for the airplane, I always have a thermometer, Kids Benadryl (for an allergic reaction) and Kids Tylenol. It allows me to have a sense of control should my child start to come down with an illness mid-flight”. – Tara Cannon at Pint Sized Pilot.
“Make Yourself Aware of Insurance Policies. When traveling, be sure to research and find out what your health, auto (if renting a car) and credit card policies cover and determine what additional insurance you and your family may require for your trip. When researching, keep in mind your travel destination as well as the type of adventure planned, as insurers tend to have different policies based on these key factors.” – CheapOair’s SVP of Supplier Relations, Tom Spagnola.
“Drive during daylight hours whenever possible for better visibility. Be thoroughly rested before getting behind the wheel. Take frequent driving breaks on long trips. Avoid road rage by using breathing exercises or playing soothing music”. – Jonathan Peele, president of Coastline Insurance Associates
At Your Hotel
“Upon arrival in your hotel room, walk around and check for exposed electric outlets and secure any heavy furniture that could be a danger to your child. Make sure to take outlet covers with you and try to baby proof the area before allowing your child to explore”. Rania Kfuri of Free Like Birdie
“Never use a hotel-owned computer, such as those located in the hotel “business center” for guests, to log into any personal websites. These public computers are often infected with malware designed to capture the login credentials and personal information of guests”.- Doug Fodeman, Co-Founder and Content Director TheDailyScam.com
“A fire chief taught me that you should always count the number of doors between your hotel room and the emergency exit, in case you need to exit in the dark. I have taught my children to do the same”. Tara Cannon at Pint Sized Pilot.
“When we arrive at a new location and check in at the hotel, we take a moment to meet as a family, get our bearings and make an emergency plan. We discuss where we are, what rules are necessary for the trip and what to do if we get separated. When venturing out, we put a hotel business card in each daughter’s pocket. Should we become separated, our daughters know where we are staying, so they can take a taxi or tell an officer”. Cynthia Bowman for Joy Journist
On the Go
“We have a rule in crowded areas for our kids to hold hands or interlock arms with a parent at all times. As tourists, we can be momentarily distracted with the new environment. Kids might walk along as a parent stops or vice versa. Losing each other, even momentarily, is frightening. – Cynthia Bowman for Joy Journist
“Never post your travel plans on social media until you return. You never know who’s reading about you”. – Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com
“Always have a plan B. Even with just two people it is possible to get separated when traveling. We try to establish a plan B ahead of time in case that happens. Meet you at the next metro stop, train station, fountain in the plaza, etc. Defining a plan in advance decreases the need for outside interventions and increases the prospects of rejoining”. – Roger Brinkley, CEO Pac2Go
“Use only an ATM that’s inside a bank, never a free-standing one outdoors somewhere. Cover the keypad with your other hand as you enter the PIN to thwart ATM skimmers”. – Robert Siciliano, personal and home security specialist to BestHomeSecurityCompanys.com