There’s always a level of pent-up excitement and anticipation before an upcoming vacation. Once those feelings are there the next ones creeps in. The nasty dreadful duo of fear and anxiety. The fear of flying, which has never stopped me, but is nonetheless very real. I also get serious anxiety attacks and worry about the safety of my children while we’re on the road and exploring the world. Questions start popping into my head; what if we get separated from each other, what if I loose them? They can’t call us because our cell phones don’t work, they haven’t memorized the name of our hotel, they can’t speak the language, they don’t even know what a police officers uniform looks like in the country we’re visiting! YIKES! Can you relate to any of those fears?
There are a few things that i do to help negate those fears before we even leave our house for the airport. The first is to go through the closet (although I almost feel like hiding in it sometimes). I sort through the clothes that the kids will pack and I pick unique outfits so that they’re easily spotted in a crowd and easily identified by others if we need to find them. An orange t-shirt is much easier to pick out than let’s say a grey or navy one. Emma used to have an all weather jacket that always came with us. The fabric had giant multi-coloured butterflies all over and a reflective tape sewn along the bottom hem. It was fashion forward and a real showstopper! You could spot her from anywhere.
My next stop is heading to the local dollar store for split-ring address key-fobs. I’ve managed to find packs of 8 which I promptly label with our hotel address and phone number. I never include the names of our children. They know their own names and I don’t want a stranger spotting the name and then approaching them in a ‘friendly’ manner. On the day we leave, I attach these handy little fobs to the zipper of their jacket or belt loop on their pants. Should we get separated they can easily refer to the fob and ask a store clerk or person of authority to contact the hotel for us. I’m rather proud of coming up with that one. And, I have to say it does come in handy for me to quickly refer to the fob when giving the taxi driver directions back to the hotel.
Depending on where we’re headed we have also taken our walkie-talkies alongs so that we can stay in touch with each other. They come in quite handy when we’re camping and the kids want to run off to the playground or in places like museums, fair grounds and beaches. We usually appoint a meeting spot that everyone can easily find as well.
The last tip is also one of the hardest for me. You see, my babes are getting to an age where they can and should do things without constant parental supervision. Yes, we allow them to go on their own down to the hotel lobby, games room or up to a street vendor to purchase a tasty snack, amongst other things depending on where we are, of course. That’s when it crucial that they have their wits about them and make sure they stick together. I drill it into their heads until I’m sure they’re able to repeat it in their sleep that NEVER, ever, ever, should they wander anywhere alone or get separated from their sibling.
Those are a few of the things that I do. I’d love to hear what your family does to ensure that everyone stays safe.