Traveling on your own with children can be fraught with headaches, inconveniences, and even risks. In fact, some transportation experts acknowledge that traveling mothers may be at more risk for danger than other citizens. The following tips can help you minimize your risks and maximize your potential for a safe and pleasant journey with your kids.
The Trip Starts at Home
When it comes to traveling with children, particularly any children beyond the age of four, it is essential to cover the rules of the road with them before you even walk out your front door. In some ways traveling with a toddler is easier.
If ever there was a time to get the discipline of your children in order, it’s before you decide to take them anywhere. Not only can unruly children get you booted off the plane, they can seriously distract you from paying attention to your safety and theirs.
Your children’s behavior is going to have more influence on the nature of your trip than probably any other factor save the safety of your decided mode of travel. Infants aren’t so easy to control; in some cases, it might be best to book a flight with a family-friendly airline if possible.
Your hitch-free trip begins with a well-organized carry-on. Have all your travel documents for yourself and children in order and ready to be presented.
You don’t want to be fumbling for items in a purse or searching your luggage for essential paperwork. A frantic search means that your attention is also lifted from your kids–a definite negative at a busy airport or train station.
Have all your bags organized even if it means keeping a master list of what items are where in your pocket. Planning your trip in advance gives you adequate time to organize all your belongings and needed items for the journey.
Yes–your children, even the older ones. You can pin a name tag on them or stick an identification badge in their pocket, but it only makes safety sense to have them carry important information such as your cell phone number, your home number, and the numbers of a few relatives in case of emergency.
You’d be surprised how easy it can be to become separated from your party. Older kids will often ask if they can run to a stand to pick out a magazine and somehow lose you on the way back. You might think your kids realize you’ve only gone to ask for a packet of sugar for your coffee, but they wander off, instead, searching for you in the opposite direction.
Ideally, you want to keep your family group together during the trip, but just in case, be sure to instruct your children to call you or choose a place to meet at the airport should you become separated.
Arms Free is a Good Thing
Some days you might envy octopus mothers who have eight tentacles to see to their duties. When you’re traveling, try to opt for backpacks and fanny packs whether your idea of style or not. When you don’t have to clutch a bag, you can clutch a hand.
When you know your money is clasped securely around your waist, you don’t have to worry about it; you can focus on getting to your gate or locating your seats. If you feel bogged down by a lot of baggage, you’ll look bogged down to pick-pockets and the like who might very well surmise that a frazzled mom won’t be able to put up a fight or prevent them from taking what they want.
Having your arms free will allow you to look like you have your act together, which could minimize your risk of danger.
Don’t Just Be on Time–Be Early
Arriving with time to spare means there’s time for a comfortable bathroom break, time to check in, time to watch the planes go by, and even enjoy a snack. Traveling with kids is tough enough; don’t exacerbate the situation by allowing yourself to run late. Wear a wristwatch and set alarms if you have to. Your trip will go much smoother if you get to each leg of your journey with time to spare.
Have Plenty of Money
You may not want to spend it, but you’ll sure be thankful if you have enough cash on you in case of emergency. Travelers are always faced with headaches–no rental car even though one was booked in advance or no record of your hotel reservation. Things happen that are beyond every travelers’ control.
As a mother, you need to be financially prepared to feed your kids in case of an unplanned layover or provide a hotel stay in the event of inclement weather and canceled flight plans, for instance. A credit card and a stash of cash will make your trip more secure for you and your children.
By following these tips, you can ensure your trip is safe and relatively happy. Safety and security are essential; you can protect yourself and your kids by careful planning and adherence to this bit of advice.