Below is the third (and last) portion of the travel tips from Alex McCord and her husband Simon van Kempen. You can learn more about their family at their McCord van Kempen site. (You can see Part I here and Part II here.)
Hiring a babysitter in a foreign destination:
Alex suggests speaking with the hotel manager or concierge and finding a babysitter who has an affiliation with that hotel – the closer the sitter’s connection with the hotel, the more invested the hotel is in the experience being positive. Also make sure that when in a foreign country that language will not be not a barrier. Obviously parents want a care taker who can communicate with the children, parents and the hotel, especially in case of an emergency. If parents cannot communicate directly with the sitter, get an interpreter.
If your child requires medical attention while on vacation:
It’s a reality that children can get sick at the most inopportune times. If you child needs a pediatrician while you are away, you have several options. You can call your child’s own doctor to see if he/she has any recommendations at your destination or you can also call the hotel concierge to see if they have a doctor whom they regularly send their hotel guests to. Lastly, if you are traveling abroad and not staying at a major hotel, you can always contact The American Embassy for a list of accredited doctors.
Traveling to an exotic locale:
Update immunizations for the entire family. These days, most everything you might catch is covered in standard vaccination schedules unless you are traveling to an area with a risk of yellow fever. For more information visit the Center for Disease Control’s website at http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentVaccinations.aspx
General Safety Tips:
* Keep a recent color photo of your child with you at all times.
* Always accompany children into public rest rooms.
* If your children are old enough to talk, make sure they know the name of your hotel or accommodation in case they should become separated from you.
* Leave a copy of your itinerary with family or friends at home in case they need to contact you in an emergency.
* Make two photocopies of your passport identification page, airline tickets, driver’s license and the credit cards that you plan to bring with you. Leave one photocopy of this data with family or friends at home; pack the other in a place separate from where you carry the originals.
* Just in case, create a “if I get lost” plan and review it with your child.
* http://www.faa.gov/passengers/fly_children/ and
A Word on Etiquette:
Staying in a hotel or just traveling in general is a privilege and should be treated as such. This experience shared with the family will help prepare children to be considerate of others as they get older and begin traveling with their peers. The most important thing for children to remember is that there are other guests in a hotel. They should be mindful of the noise level in their hotel room so as not to disturb their neighbors. Electronic devices should be played quietly and voices should be kept low. There should never be any running or talking loudly in the hallway. In the hotel, although there is maid service, children should pick up after themselves and keep their clothes neatly folded in drawers. They may also organize their towels and toiletries. Upon completion of their stay, children should be encouraged to help pack their belongings before checking out.
(I hope that all of these tips have been helpful. Happy travels!)