Families on the Move

by | Feb. 05, 2005


Safe Vacationing

Cut down on a lot of potential stress by preparing. Make sure these items are in place before you leave on your next family adventure.

Leave your home looking the same way as when you left it: leave blinds in their normal position, put a hold on your newspaper and mail or have a neighbor pick it up, arrange to have the grass mowed or the snow shoveled.

Make sure each member of your family carries ID—even if it is not official. Make sure it includes: name, address, telephone number, emergency contact numbers, parents’ names, allergies, etc. As parents, carry with you current photos of your children. If you are separated from them, the faster you are able to get an image to the authorities, the better.

Before leaving, talk with your kids about what to do if they are lost or approached by a stranger.

Consider dressing your children in bright colors so that they are easier to spot.

The excitement, new location, and change of routine can all add up to sick kids. Be sure to pack medicine such as Pepto Bismal, Dramamine, and Tylenol. And don’t forget to bring any prescription medications a family member may need. If traveling by plane, place these items in your overhead luggage so that if your checked luggage is lost you aren’t without them.

If you are traveling with young children, childproof your hotel room upon arriving. Tie up any long cords; move furniture away from the windows; remove dry cleaning bags or put them away; make sure the doors and windows securely lock; and bring childproofing equipment you would normally use at home such as outlet plugs, night lights, or cabinet locks.

Don’t run the risk of getting lost. Ask for directions often if necessary and find out which areas should be avoided. Some rental cars now include navigation systems that may also be worth the additional cost if you’re in an unfamiliar area.

Make sure someone at home has your departure and arrival itinerary and that he or she has a way to contact you if necessary.

Family-Smart Packing

It takes more than a great destination to make a trip memorable for everyone. These tips can help everyone save time and worry during the trip. Check this list as you pack and then check it again before you leave.

Bring a few extra plastic grocery sacks so that dirty or wet clothes don’t mingle with clean clothes.

Pack smaller items and toiletries in plastic baggies. This will help you organize and it will also prevent items getting lost or leaking in your luggage.

Divide younger children’s clothing into outfits for each day. You may also want to place each outfit in a separate clear garbage bag so that the children can more easily get themselves ready each day.

If the items are small enough, bring a child’s favorite toy or blanket to make your stay a bit more like home.

Depending on what activities you will be doing, it may be useful to give your children their own day pack or fanny pack in which they can place items like water, sunscreen, sunglasses, and a snack.

Suggest your children pack their journals and provide them with inexpensive disposable cameras so that they can document the trip. Packing an address book is also a good idea so that they can write and send postcards to friends and family members.

Especially for older kids, check to see what each child is bringing and if some of those items can be shared such as: toothpaste, a hair dryer, sunscreen, and hair styling products.

Make sure everyone brings shoes and socks appropriate to your activities. An extra pair of shoelaces is also a smart idea.

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