Just for Women
Travel Tips for Women with Children
- Before starting out on a trip, prepare your children with maps, information, and if you are online, check out your destinations website. It is fun to have kids involved from the beginning.
- Do a test day. Take your children on a long one day driving trip; make sure it is a bit tiring and a very long day. You will get an idea of what can go wrong, who gets tired, or carsick. You will probably also be testing your own endurance.
- Pack as light as possible for the whole family; especially if you are a single parent with a brood of kids. Remember that when everyone is tired, it will be you who carries the luggage. As a test carry the luggage around the block without help from the kids. Similarly have the kids pack their own backpacks and test their ability to carry what they have chosen plus one change of clothing for them. Label any especially loved blanket or toy so you at least have a chance of recovering it if lost. And assume some of their things will get lost.
- Avoid baggage, clothing and backpacks which have the children's names emblazoned as a safety precaution. You do not want strangers to know their first names. Talk to them about dealing with strangers and stress the don't do it message once again. The exception is that if they get lost, they should try to find a person in a uniform or a family with children.
- Assign seats in the car especially if you have a large family. There have to be some tough rules if a trip will succeed. By assigning seats, you will not lose anyone along the way.
- Have your itinerary and important contact numbers on the children somewhere out of sight if they do get lost. Along with that is important medical or other information. You should bring a recent photo of your children with you to identify them again if they wander off. Finally you should be aware of what color they are wearing each day and perhaps assign a color they must wear so that you can quickly find them in a crowd or again, give information to others if they get lost.
- Hotels are easily checked for friendliness to children: call ahead of time or again use the internet and see how their site is prepared and whether they show children in the photos of patrons. Obviously a swimming pool, cafeteria, etc are signs that the hotel gets lots of kids.
- When you check into the hotel, you can child-proof it yourself by taking certain measures:
- Check that the windows and doors do not front on the street
- Check that the window locks are higher than children's reach and that they cannot get caught up in any curtains or blinds.
- Show children how to get in touch with the front desk if necessary as 911 usually does not work on hotel/motel phones and explain to them not to open the door unless a code is used. You can then create a code for say room service or other to use to enter their room.
- Remove shampoo and other such from their reach so that they do not ingest these.
- Check that the bathroom cannot be locked from inside-if necessary tape open the lock.
- Check that children can actually see out the peep hole and that they can double lock the door if necessary. Older children should be shown the fire escape map; younger children should be shown the emergency exit.
- Scan the room at their level looking for other dangerous objects such as a bottle opener, coffee maker, iron etc.
Most of all have a great trip and make it fun, with a few favorite toys, some car games and a balanced not too rushed itinerary.