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By: Alison Jacobson
Posted on: Dec 19, 2019

Travel Safety and Planning Tips for the Holidays

Our guest blogger Alison Jacobson, The Safety Mom, is back again this week with her 5 top self care tips for busy parents!

This year close to 112 million people will hit the road or take to the skies this holiday season. Whether you’re going to the next state or another country, there are some important safety tips to keep in mind to make sure your trip doesn’t become a holiday nightmare.

Make sure you’re prepared. Along with car repair items such as jumper cables, a properly inflated spare tire and reflective triangles, be sure to have a first aid kit, water and a flashlight. If you or a family member needs an Epi Pen keep an extra in the car.

Don’t post online. This is especially hard for teens to stick to but don’t post photos on your feed or story of your vacation spot or getting ready to leave. Even if all your channels are private, someone else can share, letting anyone know your house is empty.

Tell the bank where you’re going. While it’s great that banks are mindful for fraud and theft, having your card shut down on a trip can be a major hassle, especially if it’s the card you’re using for a hotel or rental car. Let your bank know that you’ll be travelling so they can notate it in the computer and, if you’re travelling abroad let them know the specific countries.

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Understand your insurance options. Sadly, most people going away on a dream vacation don’t think about the “what if’s.” The most common emergencies that happen on vacation are fractures, injury from car and moped accidents, heart attacks and strokes. Most hospitals overseas require payment upfront. And, if it’s serious enough, you might need to be medically evacuated back to the U.S. Also, check what the policy states about pre-existing conditions such as asthma, diabetes and other chronic issues. Some policies will not cover these conditions unless you purchase travel insurance within a certain time period from when you book your trip. Before you leave check what your insurance covers. Also know that all travel insurance isn’t the same. Some policies require receipts for all lost or stolen items in your luggage before they will reimburse.

If you’re divorced or travelling abroad alone with your kids, you need a letter. In order to get a passport for a minor child both parents must appear in person to apply for their child's passport. If only one parent can appear in person to apply for the child's passport, the other parent may provide a signed and notarized consent form. In addition to this, you must have a letter from your ex or spouse giving permission for you to take your kids out of the country. You can indeed get stopped if you don’t have this. Plan WAY ahead if you have a difficult ex-spouse as you might need to fight this in court (as I was forced to do!)

Don’t keep money, cards or your phone in your back pocket. Pickpocketing is rampant in many countries but even in the U.S. Walk with purpose and be aware of who’s around you. A back pocket is the easiest opportunity for a would-be thief so keep it empty. Pick pockets often work in teams with one person distracting you while the other grabs your stuff. Be mindful if someone “accidentally” bumps into you or stops you for directions. Keep your hand on your purse, wallet or phone at all times. And, when you’re enjoying lunch at an outdoor café, loop your purse under the leg of the chair making it more difficult for someone to run off with it.