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Travelling is always an exciting adventure, especially when children are part of the crew. It can be difficult to balance fun and safety, especially when you or your child may be in a place where you don’t the layout or the laws. Before your trip, create a family plan of action in case of emergencies. Every state presents its own set of unique challenges, but there are a few safety rules that apply wherever you plan to go for a fun and super safe family-friendly vacation:
- PLAN THE VACATION TOGETHER. Be realistic when planning your family vacation. Use common sense, and include your family members in the decision. The vacation will be all that more enjoyable when everyone in the family is onboard from the beginning and feel like they are part of the process. Your trip will be much more fun and most memorable if you plan the family holiday together. Have each family member write down where they hope to go and what they want to do, then review them together and determine which destination meets everyone’s objectives. Preferred Guest Resorts has a slew of options for family-friendly destinations and cruises that offer adventures for everyone in the family, from the youngest baby and kid to adults and grandparents. Call your Preferred Guest Resorts reservation agent for help planning an itinerary that suits the needs of everybody in your group so that the whole group has their Best Vacation Ever at resorts, hotel and vacation time shares right in the heart of the action, no matter your itinerary.
- SET GROUND RULES: Establish rules for family members before you even leave on your trip. Talk about the dangers and obstacles that may be faced in such a destination, and how you expect the family to act accordingly. This can be as simple as a young toddler being told never to let go of Mommy or Daddy’s hand, to teenagers that must travel in pairs and be home to the hotel by 11 pm.
- CREATE A PLAN OF ACTION: Establish a family plan of action for the most common family travel troubles: a lost family member, getting separated or an injured child. Give each person a specific task – even toddlers can learn to grab onto Mom or Dad or look for somebody official like a police office or a retailer with a nametag when repeatedly taught. Practice each scenario at home until everybody knows what he or she needs to do in an emergency situation.
- FAMILY CELL PHONES: Make sure each person in the family has a cell phone, even young children can have a prepaid phone with minutes for emergencies that is pre-set to dial Mom or Dad. Program each family member’s name and number, along with their identifying picture if capable, into each phone so everyone knows how to reach each other at all times. Establish a family code word that signals when someone is in trouble that only the family would know. Make sure to call you cell-phone provider as well to ensure you have international service at least the dates you are there. Many companies will pro-rate international calling plans, so you only pay for the percentage of the days you are there.
- STASH EVERYONE WITH CASH: Pack each person’s pockets with enough cash in case of emergencies and separation. There’s nothing worse than feeling stranded without any money and not knowing what to do. Also be sure to call your bank and let them know the days you will be in what countries and when so they do not assume your card was stolen and cut if off.
- FAMILY PHOTOS: A picture truly is worth 1,000 words. Collect and bring current family photos of each person in your party in case of an emergency. Better yet, before heading out to explore each day, snap a photo of family members on your cell phone. That way, if someone should get lost, you have a current photo of that person with the exact clothing and hairstyles they were wearing that day.
- ASSIGN ROLES: Designate each person to have a role during the trip, which may include one person counting heads each day, another for buying the day’s tickets, or older teens being responsible for younger children while you attend to the baby or more emergent parental issues. Enforce responsibility and accountability for family when it comes to traveling to a different state.
- DESIGNATE A SAFETY SPACE: Wherever you go on your family trip that day, find a “safety spot” that everyone knows to go to immediately of they should get separated or lost from the group. Pick a public, highly visible, easy-to-find central spot like a fountain in the square, a large statue, a lobby in a museum or a restaurant café, so that younger children kind easily find it and remain in a safe open space. Remind younger children to seek help only from a police officer or a retailer at a store wearing a nametag, and if they have their cell phone to call you immediately.
- USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM: It works just as well for adults as it does for children. Require that young children hold the hand of either Mom or Dad or an assigned responsible teen at all times, especially in crowded areas or getting on certain transportation. Even have teens hold the back of a parent’s shirt. A hands-on approach ensures the family sticks together in the tightest of situations and no one strays from the pack or gets left behind.
Travelling with children to fun family-friendly destinations can be one of your Best Vacations Ever, especially if you take a proactive, pre-planning approach that offers a strong peace of mind because of a family plan in action. Preferred Guest Resorts has done part of the legwork for you, offering a wide variety of family-friendly destinations and cruises that meet everyone’s hopes and dreams for a memorable family holiday with reliable, premium family-friendly vendors in everything from budget hotels, luxury resorts and vacation timeshare rentals. Call your Preferred Guest Resorts reservation agent at 1-800-656-2780 for any questions you may have and any help planning your itinerary for your Best Vacation Ever.