With the holidays fast-approaching, many people will be hitting the road or sky to be with family and friends. While traveling is meant to be a fun adventure (who doesn’t get excited about seeing new places and having some time to kick back?) there are some things you should know before you go in regards to what to bring.
Packing can be stressful enough making sure you’re bringing everything you need for the trip. Toothbrush? Check. Deodorant? Check. Enough outfits and are they weather appropriate? Check. You get the idea. It is especially important to make sure you’re covered with all of the medicines and first aid pieces you’ll need for a safe and enjoyable vacation. Packing these essentials with the whole family in mind takes it to another level.
To simplify the process and make it as painless as possible (after all, you want to have fun!) I’ve compiled a list of dos and don’ts for keeping both yourself and your family safe while on vacation.
- Do make a list of all the medicines (prescriptions, supplements, vitamins, etc.) everyone in your family will need and check it off as you pack these items. First make a list of the essentials. A basic travel first aid kit should include all of your and your family’s prescription medications, hydrocortisone cream for bug bites and rashes, Tylenol or Advil as a pain and fever reducer, band aids, a copy of a recent EKG if you or anyone in your family has heart problems, antihistamines for allergic reactions, alcohol wipes, small scissors, tweezers, and adhesive tape.
- Do consider where you are traveling and who you’re traveling with. There are other things to consider if you are traveling abroad, extreme traveling (camping/hiking), traveling with seniors, and especially if you are traveling with children. For instance, you may want to bring antibiotics for bacterial infections if you’re traveling abroad, as well as emergency contraceptives. Children and seniors often require extra care, so make sure they are equipped with everything they’ll need to stay healthy, such as antibiotic cream for seniors and cold medicine and a digital thermometer for children, in case they run a fever. If you’re going to be out in the wilderness, make sure you have iodine tablets to purify your water in case of an emergency situation and dramamine to keep you from getting sick due to rough terrain or extreme sports like whitewater rafting.
- Do check your family’s vaccinations, especially if traveling abroad. In some countries, diseases like Typhoid Fever and Polio are more prevalent.
- Do make sure you have travel insurance. Evaluate the best plan for your family at insuremytrip.com. This is especially important if you are traveling to a foreign country and/or traveling with children, as you would not want your children to receive suboptimal healthcare at a hospital overseas.
- Do rent from a reputable company if you plan on renting a car. Go with an internationally-known company and bring your own car seats for your children.
- Do kid-proof your hotel room for your children. Hotel rooms can have many safety hazards that you have already child-proofed at home, such as looped window cords, choking hazards, electrical outlets and appliances, and heavy furniture that could topple.
- Do have an emergency medical plan before you travel anywhere. Make sure you have your doctor’s number back home in case you need to get in touch with them. You should also check out iamat.org, an organization connecting travelers with experienced, English-speaking doctors in over 90 countries.
- Don’t let your kids go shoeless. Wear slippers or socks in hotel rooms and, it may go without saying, but be sure to wear shoes outdoors. Parasitic infections are common in some countries, and in general, kids are more likely to put their hands and feet in their mouths, so bring along some hand sanitizer or hand wipes!
- Don’t drink water that is not potable. Use boiled or bottled water for everything if the water is not safe for drinking.
- Don’t let your children pet wild animals. They could carry rabies or other infections. Get medical attention right away if anyone is bitten!
…And lastly, don’t worry and don’t forget to have fun! With these simple precautions in mind, you and your family are sure to have an exciting vacation and make some priceless memories!