5 Things Parents Still Forget While Travelling with Young Children
Diapers, check. Wet wipes, snacks, extra clothes, umbrella, personal medication, vitamins - all check?
If you thought that you’ve pretty much packed a pharmacy or supermarket inside your family vacation backpack and that there’s nothing else you would need on your family trip, don’t be too sure and read on.
Parents with young children under five years old know all too well the struggles of being… simply, a parent. For those who’ve never been one, it means your life is constantly unpredictable, you’re always running around for your child’s needs, and what usually ensue are frustration, anxiety, fatigue, and of course, joy - after all of the first three are overcome. It’s a never-ending cycle.
It is easy to get lost in the busyness and tiredness of parenting that we forget some crucial details such as the ones listed here, which can be potentially harmful when you’re on a family vacation with young children. If you’re reading this while carrying your baby or toddler in one hand, make sure you don’t just scheme through but read the details carefully!
1. Don’t forget to find out health risks at your holiday destination
Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, H5N1, Cholera, dengue fever, and yellow fever always feel too far away until it hits you. Don’t regret it only when tragedy strikes. Find out if the place you’re visiting requires your child or you to receive the vaccination in advance. Besides critical health risks, other health risks such as a renovation spot near your accommodation could pose health risks to any asthma patient, for example. At the same time, make sure you’ve packed any personal medication that you may need during the trip that is sufficient for the number of days you’ll be away. Go the extra mile and bring along some supplements such as Vitamin C’s to keep everyone healthy and happy.
2. Don’t forget to rigorously check weather forecasts up to the day before the trip
Most families with young children tend to rely on general weather forecast months ahead of their trip, assuming that all will be well closer to their family trip. However, the most accurate weather forecasts are always the ones nearer to the date (next-day forecast, or 5-day forecast), since weather changes are so unpredictable. A 10-day forecast is known to have greater deviance, so let’s not even go to forecast from months or even a year before - if that’s when you book your trip. On top of this, climate change is real. Scientists are puzzled by cooler winters in North America and Europe despite overall year-round warming trend. So check, check and check so that you know you’re equipped to your best for the right weather to your best, whether it is by packing warmer clothing or ensuring you’ve got enough umbrellas and such.
3. Don’t forget to purchase a local SIM card or an international roaming plan
While this may be a given for most of us smartphone junkies, staying connected locally and internationally is particularly important so that in the event of emergencies such as when you are lost, or when the children are suddenly ill, you will be able to call the emergency lines immediately without being overcharged. On that note, you are strongly advised to keep a list of emergency contacts such as the nearest hospitals, embassy and clinics from the accommodation you will be staying at. If you have purchased a family travel insurance package, some packages offer 24/7 emergency call centre services - so do keep these numbers close by. If you haven’t purchased one, read on.
4. Don’t forget to purchase a family travel insurance plan, or check the coverage of your current plan
While the diagram above shows the simple difference between travel and medical insurance, what we’re suggesting is that a family travel insurance plan is the way to go due to the value and savings you receive. Hospitalisation costs as a tourist overseas without insurance can be really costly. For example, if your child or you are hospitalised during your vacation in Australia, you will need to pay a minimum of $AUD120 as the initial charge at the emergency department, and for every subsequent procedure performed will be charged another $AUD120. This does not include charges for the use of equipment and medical devices. This means costs can easily come up to a few thousand ringgit, while a family travel insurance package cost starts at around RM264 for up to 4 family members!
Don’t embark on your family trip without ensuring protection for your children and saving up on unnecessary costs. Read our article on Five Things to Know Before Buying Travel Insurance to find out more. If like many of us, you’re not sure where to start, especially with pages of confusing insurance terms and conditions, we feel you.
Start with Qompanion’s travel insurance comparison page which saves you the trouble of opening multiple tabs of different insurance providers.
5. Lastly, don’t forget to enjoy the moment
We live in an increasingly narcissistic and exhibitionist society that it’s hard to tell if we truly needed to take those 100 photos of ourselves with the same background and different angles, or was it just for gaining more ‘likes’ on our social media accounts? Whatever your reasons are, we’re not judging your motives. What we’re really saying is, record the moment in your heart first and enjoy it. Not everything needs to be recorded (for people to see). Having some family timeout is already rare enough, so treasure it while you’re at it.
Hopefully, with these five tips, you’ll be a more vigilant parent and a happier traveller with peace of mind!