As the events from the terror attacks unfolded across the media, the world felt the loss of lives that occurred in Paris and Beirut in November 2015. Emergencies can come in all shapes and forms, from natural disasters to terror attacks to medical or personal emergencies that affect you or your family.
Thankfully, it is possible to make some preparations for emergencies. Below are useful ideas for how to prepare for an emergency whilst abroad.
Carry photocopies of passports (and children’s birth certificates) in your luggage, but don’t stop there. Have photos of them on your mobile phones and saved on an online cloud system such as Dropbox.
Before my family travels, I email a copy of our full itinerary to myself as well as two members of our family. I include copies of our passports, flights, accommodations, and general travel plan ideas. This is an essential step of our travel prep because it ensures there are backups elsewhere in the world if we were to ever need them in any type of emergency.
I am a Scout leader so am accustomed to emphasising the need to know details about members of your family. In an emergency a child who knows a parent’s name will be much more helpful to law enforcement and others, meaning the parents may be found that much easier. I encourage families to help their children remember their parents’ names, their address(es), and a telephone number. This is as important for international travel as it is for local travel and days out.
Information Your Children Should Have
Upon checking into hotels or other accommodations, I take business cards and give them to my children, just in case they or someone else needs to know where we’re located. I also ensure that my children know the name of the hotel in which we are staying.
A Plan for What to Do in an Emergency
Whenever I arrive at a new destination, I spend some time with my children, explaining what to do in an emergency and where our emergency meet-up point is. A meet-up point is vital even if you have mobile phones or your children are older. In an emergency items like mobile phones are usually defunct, batteries can die, and phones can be lost.
When we arrive in a new city, we try to find our local embassy and where the local hospitals are. I also always have a rucksack with me in which I carry spare clothes for the children, snacks, contact details of family at home, a first-aid kit, a small torch, and details of the local embassy (if abroad).
Here are a couple of great ideas that I have seen for how to keep information on a child:
A Money Belt Worn Under the Children’s Clothes
Inside the money belt should be a card with parents’ details, address, and telephone number. Be sure to include your international code if you are travelling abroad. You can also add cards of your current hotel to the money belt. Including some money in case of an emergency is also a good idea. I would place these all in a sealed bag, so they are fully waterproof.
A Luggage Tag Added Onto a Child’s Clothing
I love this idea, especially if you are visiting a busy place like a theme park or festival. On a luggage tag, add details of the child’s parents, and then attach the tag to your child’s clothing (on a belt or button), so it will remain on your child. It’s such a simple thing but so effective.
Part of travelling is, of course, to be free of constraints, but when travelling with children, it is better to be safe than sorry. Take steps to prep should you find yourself travelling in an emergency.