With the wild weather we’ve been having, many Torontonians are dreaming of escaping the winter for a little bit of fun in the sun. If you’re planning your own getaway, you are probably thinking about things like finding somebody to water your plants, making sure everyone in your family has a good suitcase and appropriate clothing, finding quiet toys for your kids to play with on the plane, and a whole lot more. Today, though, we’d like to make the case for thinking about safety, as well. Today we’re sharing five travel safety tips to make sure you can really relax and enjoy your trip.
1. Check with the Government
The federal government has information that can help you when you head outside the country. Visit their website at travel.gc.ca for travel news and warnings, information and more. You can also find out more about re-entering Canada, including land border wait times, information about what you can bring back, and your personal customs exemptions. Just how much booze can you buy at the duty-free on the way home? This is where to find out.
2. Have Someone Check on Your Home
Last fall, the intake valve on the back of my toilet burst while I was working in another room. Fortunately I was at home, so I was able to turn off the water right away and mop up my bathroom floor before it caused lasting damage. 2012 Top 30 Toronto Mom Blogger Haley Overland wasn’t so lucky. If you follow her on Instagram you know she’s been chronicling her own family’s odyssey since their home was seriously damaged when a pipe burst after seven days without power. They are now living in temporary housing. Stuff happens. Having someone drop by every so often while you’re away is a good idea, just to make sure everything is okay.
3. Insurance Matters
If your plans are derailed for any reason, you don’t want to be on the hook for plane tickets and hotel rooms you’re not using. On top of that you’ll want to make sure you have health insurance if you’re travelling outside of Canada. Health costs can add up fast in countries without public health insurance. Some employers offer emergency medical insurance when you’re outside of country, and some credit cards offer travel insurance as well. One of our biggest travel safety tips is double-check out what coverage you already have, and top it up if necessary. It’s bad enough if someone gets hurt during your trip, without it costing an arm and a leg to boot.
4. Review Safety Rules
As a mom, you’ve likely spent a lot of time teaching your kids the safety rules they need to know in their daily lives. In fact, when you have little ones, safety is almost always on your mind. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re suggesting that you explain any new safety rules to your kids well in advance. For instance, is the tap water safe to drink at your destination? Are there plants, animals or insects to look out for? What should your kids do if they get separated from you? Writing your cell phone number on a sticker that you can put somewhere on your child’s body may help you re-connect more quickly if you can’t find each other for any reason. Cell phone roaming fees are expensive, but peace of mind is priceless.
5. Stay in Touch
Before you leave, make sure that someone back at home knows your travel itinerary. Scanning important documents, like your passport and insurance information, is also a good idea in case something gets lost. It probably won’t happen, but anything you can do to make your life easier if it does is going to save you a lot of time and energy when you’d rather be enjoying your vacation.
Talking about travel safety may feel like a buzzkill, we know. If you take the time to do it before you go, however, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be able to really leave your cares behind. Or, at least, as far behind as you can leave them when you’re traveling with kids. Bon voyage!