Before we begin a long-distance journey, we generally spend a considerable amount of time in activities concerning travel tickets, visas, hotel bookings, local maps, food options, local attractions, and foreign exchange if required. While many of us prepare checklists in order to stay organized, how many take time to pore over safety tips? Not many. Though safety may be a top priority for all, we feel its consciousness and practice works like an auto response mechanism within us that triggers off when the need arises. However, many aspects of safety may not occur to us, or we may find ourselves in a situation quite unprepared, leaving us vulnerable to risk that could otherwise have be totally avoided. To make your journey and stay safe and enjoyable, here are eight safety tips that you simply should not ignore. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
1. Make your hotel stay snag-free
It is generally advisable to book a hotel that has a fair number of positive reviews. That way, you don’t end up being a guinea pig. Once you check-in, ensure that the windows of your room and doors if any leading to a balcony are secured shut, preventing children from opening them. If you room has an interconnecting door with another room, make sure it is latched. Look around to see if there are any exposed electrical cords or sharp objects. Sensitise the elderly about any furniture that may have sharp corners. Make sure to keep a night lamp on at night to prevent any fall. In case there is a switch for the geyser, make sure not to allow children to operate it. Do not use wet hands to operate any switch.
2. Step out fully prepared
It’s easy to get fatigued when out on a holiday. To stay fresh and energetic, avoid a heavy itinerary that demands you to wake up early, pack your bags and set off from your hotel on a journey almost every day. Download on your phone the local map of the place you are visiting so you don’t feel lost or literally taken for a ride. Carry cash only to the extent absolutely necessary – opt for travel cards instead, which come with advanced security features. Also, be aware of any bank transaction charges applicable on your cards. Do not leave your passports, visas, cash, important documents, and precious belongings in the hotel room when you go out. Do not allow children to use the hotel elevator alone. At the hotel restaurant, and for that matter at any public place, avoid discussing any personal, confidential or sensitive information, which others may overhear. To avoid unscrupulous elements from thinking of mugging you, we suggest you wear minimalistic jewellery that stays inconspicuous.
3. Outdoor safety can be child’s play? No kidding!
Keep a card inside your child’s pocket flashing the child’s name, your name, contact number, and the child’s blood group in case of any emergency. If you’re travelling by plane, don’t let the child use the washroom unaccompanied. Make sure children do not run along the aisle. When in a moving vehicle, prevent children from sticking their heads or hands outside the window. If you’re out exploring a hill station or trekking, don’t let kids go close to the edge of the hill or a cliff. While crossing the road, make sure you hold the hands of children, especially in a country where the traffic lane directions may be different from your home country. When walking along the road, in case there is no sidewalk, keep children away from the side of the road. Even if children know how to swim, do not let them go alone into the deep end of any swimming pool or further into the sea unaccompanied.
4. Simple mantras for keeping your child cheerful
Children take time to adjust to a new environment, and may exhibit mood swings. It can be bothersome to manage a child’s tantrum while on a vacation. Carrying the child’s favourite book, music, toy, pillow, blanket, or comforter can make him or her feel comfortable without feeling being too far from home. Sometimes, just a new or a favourite game or a cartoon clip on the mobile phone may do the trick. When going out, slather a suitable sunblock or sunscreen lotion, and dust prickly heat powder especially in places that are subject to friction and perspiration. If you are going outdoors in the evening, you can daub some mosquito repellent lotion on the child’s clothing to prevent mosquito bites.
5. Stay organized and equipped
Make sure all your bags are tagged with your name and contact number. Place your passports and visas in a separate handbag – that way, they will be easily located and also stay safe from any spillage. Keep your cash and cards in different places – that way, in the event of the loss of one, you will still have the other, and not become totally stranded. Make sure cosmetics and toiletries are packed in a closed plastic pouch with a zipper to prevent your clothes and other things in the bag from getting stained or wet. Pack your worn or wet clothes and towels in a bag separate from the washed and dry ones. It’s always ok to carry just a couple of extra pairs of clothes, a hand sanitizer, and some tissues. Carry an extra pair of soft, comfortable footwear – you’ll be surprised how soon you may need it. And carry a dustbag to carry slippers or footwear, which you can slip into a small zipper compartment inside your suitcase.
6. Play it safe online
When travelling or on a holiday, we tend to use the complimentary WiFi at hotels, airports, malls, cafes, coffee shops, and some other public places too. Little do we realize that these, barring the ones offered by a genuine dependable source, may be carrying potential risk. Make sure not to allow the unauthorized download of any app or software through such networks that suggest or prompt you to update your software, or to offer to scan for viruses, or to clean up an existing virus, which it may falsely claim to have found. Avoid making any financial transactions including online shopping on these networks. Avoid logging into your internet banking account, and even social media profiles. Log off from any services that you may use on such networks, immediately after you’re done with your browsing. Also, command your device to ‘forget the network’ to prevent it from reconnecting again when in range.
7. Keep the bug away
Arm yourself with a first aid kit that includes cotton wool, antiseptic ointment, pain relief spray, and adhesive bandages. Carry medicines for cough, fever, cold, indigestion, and nausea – just in case. If you’re already on some medication, carry a couple of extra doses, in case you drop the medicine. Those vulnerable to motion sickness can carry cologne water and splash a little on a handkerchief to feel refreshed. Use a cap to protect yourself against sunstroke, and carry enough drinking water to stay hydrated. If you have certain food-related allergies, make sure you know what you are ordering before consuming it. Avoid heavily-spiced food, as it could irritate your digestive tract and prevent you from enjoying the rest of the day.
8. Little precautions that go a long way
When hunger strikes, consume hot and freshly prepared food that you are reasonably sure is not exposed to flies and germs. Wash your hands thoroughly using soap after touching your or the children’s footwear, and also before eating. It may be a good idea to also carry some soap strips, as they can come in handy at certain public washrooms that may have run out of liquid soap. Small children don’t think twice before picking up and putting into their mouth things that have fallen on the floor. They also have a habit of running their hands over parked cars and dustbins as they walk past. Prevent them from contacting germs in this manner - sanitize their hands immediately. Make children eat in moderation, without overeating. Carry extra pairs of clothes, just in case it rains, or the clothes become soiled. Staying in wet or unclean clothes could easily cause an infection.
Prevention is always better than cure, and when it comes to safety, it’s hardly ever acceptable to compromise it for oneself or for others. A little precaution and readiness can go a long way in making your holiday trouble-free.