Gone are the days when you could just roll out of bed, pack a bag and show up at the airport. Once kids come into play, our entire concept of travel has to be altered. One suitcase becomes six, and we exchange our window seats on the plane for anywhere with a bassinet (if they’re still small enough to fit). And then there is everything else anxiety tells us to worry about, like whether or not they’ll be safe and healthy.
To keep some of that stress in check, here are our tips for what you can do now, before your trip, to keep the youngest members of your family strong.
#1 Strengthen Your Immune Systems
A vacation begins in the planning stages, so start your health trip way before you check into your villa. Get enough rest and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds.
If your kids can take probiotics, have them take a course of it before you go. This method is not proven to prevent things like Bali Belly, but some people swear by it.
#2 Visit the Doctor
You should see a doctor or medical professional at least eight weeks in advance. This gives you enough time to learn about and organise any necessary vaccinations.
As well, if your child has a pre-existing medical issue, make sure to get a letter from their doctor detailing the condition. If the condition becomes a concern that needs attention during your trip, the letter will help the doctors in your country of travel manage it.
Read also: How to do Bali with a baby
#3 Get to know local health facilities
Organise a list of health facilities in the area around you. This way, if you have any concerns, you’ll already know where you need to go. If you travel with The Luxe Nomad, however, your villa manager will already be aware and be able to assist.
#4 Learn about Daycare services
If you’re going to use a daycare service or kids club for younger children, call around beforehand. When you do this, ask about the child-to-carer ratio and what they do when another child is sick. There is no place for spreading disease quite like daycare, so you want to choose carefully.
#5 Research local customs
Research local customs in the areas you’ll be travelling. It’s important to know what the locals will consider appropriate vs inappropriate when it comes to keeping your little ones safe.
For example, if you have a breastfed child, you are going to need to be aware of whether or not it is okay to breastfeed them outside of your accommodation. Some countries, like Thailand, love babies but are quite conservative when it comes to breastfeeding in public. Knowing this ensures you’ll be able to feed your child when they need.
Read also: Kid Friendly Activities in Bali
#6 Arrange for Safety Gear
If your child needs it, arrange for one when you arrive at your destination. Services like Bali Baby and Samui Baby Concierge can meet you at the airport or wherever you’re staying to make sure your baby is safe.
If you prefer, you can bring your car seat with you – some airlines will allow you to take one on the plane. Some actually recommend it for travelling with younger children as it keeps them safe when you encounter turbulence. The airlines will, however, need to know and potentially test your car seat in advance.
If you’re staying somewhere with a private pool, make sure you’ll always have someone to watch the child or request a safety gate in advance.
#7 Don’t feed them new things before you go
This is especially relevant for infants when you don’t know how well they can tolerate different ingredients. Avoid the risk that they’re going to have an adverse allergic reaction to something just as your holiday is getting started.
#8 Make sure they’ll be protected from mosquitos
If you’re headed somewhere tropical, make sure you’re bringing plenty of mosquito spray of your choice. Mosquito spray is not widely available in some countries as it is often considered too expensive for local use. At night too, you’ll usually be provided with mosquito netting for your bed, but confirm that every member of your family will be covered.
Read also: Kid Friendly Activities in Samui
#9 Don’t just pack for one season
Be prepared for cold and hot weather regardless of where or when you’re travelling. In some areas that you would typically think of as being hot, the temperatures can drop at night. You don’t need to go overboard and pack snowsuits for your kids if you’re going to Thailand, but make sure to have a couple of sweaters on hand.
#10 Stock up on medical supplies
Just because you’re doing your best not to get sick, doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Keep a stash of medical supplies that you’ll use just for travel, so you’re ready no matter what. Suggested items to bring include pain/fever reliever, decongestants, cough syrup, antibacterial ointment, small bandages, and medication for relief from constipation or diarrhoea.
#11 Take gear you trust
Any favourite brands? Pack plenty! You don’t want to find out too late that the local shops by you don’t carry what you need.
#12 Defend against the humidity
If your little ones are in diapers, pack extra stuff for diaper rash. Humidity (if you’re going to a humid climate) is more likely to cause it or make it worse.
#13 Register with your nation’s foreign travel service
Many governments provide a free service for its citizens travelling abroad. When you register with this service, you will be provided with the latest travel advice for the country you’re visiting. These bulletins range from local elections and sporting events to widespread health and security issues, ensuring you are always kept up-to-date on what’s happening wherever you are.
#14 Get Travel Insurance!
This won’t keep you healthy, per se, but if things go south, you want to be covered!
Where are you travelling with the kids next?
Disclaimer: This story is based on tips from travellers, not medical professionals. Please check with your family doctor or paediatrician regarding any health decisions.