Traveling should always be a fun experience. Your family should have as little worrying as possible, and just enjoy your family vacation to the fullest. Even though your best laid plans may not always materialize, here are some family travel tips for helping you to have a wonderful experience!
1. Identification Card
Have each child bring an identification card in his pocket at all times. You can also have him bring a card with the name, address and telephone number of the hotel where you are staying. In case you lose sight of him, any person of authority can easily identify him and hopefully call your hotel.
2. Over-the-counter medicine
Bring a fair amount of over-the-counter medicine for most ailments, not too much to arouse the suspicion of the immigration people of course, but enough for a quick fix for headaches, colds, diarrhea, muscle pain, and possibly band-aids. Six tablets of each would suffice; you can always get some more from the local pharmacy.
3. Change of clothes
Bring change of clothes for a maximum of seven days only, even if you’re going on vacation for two weeks. You can do your laundry or just arrange for laundry service before you run out of clean underwear or something to wear for dinner at that fancy restaurant in that exotic city you are exploring. This way, you won’t be bringing too much luggage, and at the same time have more room for your souvenirs.
4. Soiled clothes
You will like this travel tips! If you have to change hotels because you’re going to another city, how do you separate clean clothes from soiled ones if you brought only one suitcase per person (remember the mantra for travelers…travel light!)? The answer is: Ziplocs and garbage bags. That ubiquitous little plastic in the kitchen transforms into a lifesaver for your clean clothes. Bring lots of them in different sizes, big ones for pants and shirts; small ones for underwear, socks, etc.
You can also use one for your toiletries, for make-up; whatever you need to keep separate from the other things in your suitcase. It also keeps your things dry as an added bonus, just in case you get drenched in the rain for some reason.
Any family vacation involves a lot of walking, and au naturelle, perspiring. Remember what your gym instructor keeps reminding you: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. So what do you do if you’re stuck somewhere where you can’t get water or a drop to drink? Here’s what you should do: get some of those small sizes of bottled water and chuck them in the freezer in your hotel room the night before.
In the morning, wrap them with a small face towel, put a rubber band to hold it in place and bring it along in the backpack before you leave. It will still be cold when you eventually need it in the hot, humid afternoon. Take the towel, wipe it on your face..and voila! It will be cold too because of the frozen bottle. This is a wonderful way to refresh, especially when traveling in tropical countries.
6. Research your travel location
Know your enemy, and know yourself. If you go to war, you shall win a thousand battles. That is Sun Tzu speaking. Well, in this case, you’re going on vacation, so it will be to your advantage if you do some research of the place where you are going. Find out where the bus and train routes are, maps of the city that you’re planning to visit, interesting places to see and explore, before you leave your own country.
It would be worthwhile to make an itinerary for each day of your vacation, with flexibility for some surprise activities along the way. It is also good to memorize some phrases in the local dialect like, Where is the bus/train station?, How much is this?, and also very important, Where is the clinic/first aid? This last phrase is exceedingly vital. Can you imagine playing charades with a policeman in a strange country and making frantic gestures trying to communicate to him that your companion needs a doctor?
7. Don’t forget to bring a camera
Your vacation is something that you would want to treasure, and you need a good camera for that. Any small digital camera would suffice or your cell phone, but remember to bring two things with that: a good supply of batteries and lots of memory for your camera. Personally I allot 1 gig of memory for each day of my vacation and at least four extra batteries for the camera. If you suddenly find yourself in a downpour, you can keep your camera dry by keeping it in a; you guessed it, Ziploc. You can also purchase a waterproof camera pouch that you can use up to 10 feet underwater (10 dollars on most internet sellers). It’s like a Ziploc, but more sturdy.
8. Lifesaving gear
Remember Sun Tzu? In peace, prepare for war so don’t forget to pack your lifesaving gear; sunglasses, hats, sunscreen, comfortable shoes and clothes; anything that will make your trip more comfortable.
Every family vacation will spring surprises on you and you certainly cannot prepare for all eventualities. The trick is to have an open mind, an open heart, and to bring a good dose of your sense of humour. These family travel tips will certainly help to have an awesome vacation! Don’t forget to print our family travel planner with checklist to help manage all the details of your trip!