Travel fears and Is it safe to travel internationally with baby/children? 

I was watching one of my favorite travel bloggers this morning talk about travel fears, and how it is a major concern for people these days. It made me realize how many of you mommas and papas probably feel that fear heightened when bringing your most prized processions (your babes!) along. So I’m going to talk a little bit about how I combat my fears/why my momma bear instincts don’t stop us from traveling. 

Let’s tackle this in a question answer format for organization and because time is of the essence as my little man is not really into solo play this morning. 

What if we have an emergency? 

Program all local emergency numbers into your phone!!! Police, EMT, Fire Department,  numbers all in your phone. I even favorite the closest hospital, police station, grocery store and pharmacy in my google maps on my phone. If you don’t have international service, you can download the local area map and use it without service. 

We have utilized resort health services in Mexico after making a mistake eating fresh fruit in a market (ooops I even knew better!). Luckily, obtaining medication in Mexico is really easy and we didn’t need an actual hospital visit. I have only been to Mexico sans bebe, but I imagine the resorts marketed with children in mind would be able to assist with a child’s medical emergency as well. With children in Mexico, I would definitely go the resort route. I’m sure there are some really great non-resort areas, but when it comes to travel with baby I like to advise on making your location and accommodations as easy and baby friendly as possible. In Mexico, this means resort to me. 

In Peru (no baby here either), I traveled with a tour group and our group had our own nurse traveling with us who had her own medical supplies and managed our malaria medication as well. I was fortunate to not find myself in any medical situation, but one guy in the group was bit by a snake and our local guide knew exactly what to do. Another woman had many fire ant bites and our nurse was prepared with the right tools and medication to help. Our group spent 3 days in Lima, a day in Iquitos, and 10 in the Amazon Rainforest. If you want to do an ecologically adventure and/or service trip the Amazon has a lot of great groups that go, and again for something like a rainforest I highly recommend an organization and lodge with meals, guides, activities included. The Amazon is amazing, but very dangerous in the sense it is wild and emergency assistance is not a phone call away. 

While my husband has not needed any medical assistance in Japan, he said the hospitals are very modern. If he were to need help he would not have any worries about receiving care. 

If you travel in the European Union have no fear. You will be given great and affordable care at any of the government hospitals. I can’t say what the price will be everywhere, and if you go to a private hospital I really have no idea. As an American traveling without purchasing international medical insurance (maybe I should post why we don’t usually purchase it? If you would like me to post on that leave a comment) in the EU we have never had a problem with baby or without. While in Paris December 2016 our son, 16 months at the time, was taken to the pediatric emergency and the care was exceptional and affordable. No insurance the visit was 62€ and his 3 medications were 2€. We have good American insurance and still can’t get away with an emergency visit that cheap. 

What about terrorism and violence?!

I actually had people give us a hard time about going to Paris over Christmas because terrorists might attack due to the Christian holiday. I literally laughed at them, and replied you realize we live in Chicago, right?! Violence is every where. Not too long ago BLM ripped apart the giant Christmas tree downtown and were shoving and screaming at Black Friday shoppers on magnificent mile. I lived less than a mile from all of this. We stayed inside that day. I live in one of the most violent cities in the United States, making it really one of the most violent places in the western world. It is more likely we will be victims to violence here than really anywhere else we would travel. Most Americans wouldn’t bat an eye at a trip to Chicago as dangerous, we sensationalize the unfamiliar. Try to keep that in perspective when questioning the safety of a destination. 

 It’s all about doing your research and avoiding areas known for violence. When you come to Chicago, you obviously aren’t going to be wondering around the south side alone at night. The acts of destruction and violence a Black Friday ago didn’t seem to stop tourists (or locals as we were out there, gotta get my deals!😂) from shopping the mag mile this year! Why should that not apply to foreign destinations as well? Paris is a fantastic city, that has had a couple of terrible tragedies, like almost every major city in the world. 

The media sensationalizes most of what we hear and see. They also love to leave out the wondeful and amazing good things that are happening. They prey on our fear. Don’t let it get to you. Find local blogs of the place you wish to go and find out from a real source what the area is like. Email the hotel or apartment you are interested in and ask if it is in a kid friendly neighborhood. If lots of families live there, it’s probably because it’s a safe neighborhood! 

We don’t know the language, how will we manage? 

One, you can learn some basic words and phrases. With just a little practice this is a very easy way to make your trip wayyyyyyy more enjoyable. You should always learn hi, please, thank you, have a good day/afternoon/night. You will learn this goes a long way, and is greatly appreciated. After that if you convey you don’t the language it is likely they will still try to help you. It really is disrespectful to not even make an effort, and will not get promising results.

Two, make a list of important phrases and keep it with you all the time. Numbers, how much?, where is (bathroom, the elevator, the exit, a good restaurant), I would like, we want to go (blank), we are staying (with the address of where you are staying). You can even open the list and point to it if you need to. I put these in my husband’s phone. I’ve been fortunate that everywhere I have traveled I have at least an elementary level knowledge of the language. My husband speaks only English, so this is a vital tool for him and works very well:)

Bring a small English-Language dictionary to keep your room and when you have something you struggled to convey that day that might be helpful later look it up and add it to your list.

We also always grab multiple business cards with address of where we are staying and put them in our wallets, passport holders, taped to our stroller, pockets. You can never have too many on hand. It’s also good to memorize at least the intersection. Then if you get lost and can’t find any of the cards or your list you can have some idea of  what to say to get help as the location of Hotel Orange probably isn’t common knowledge. 

Any travel fear I left out? Leave a comment! 

Ciao amici!!

P.S. We have some exciting things happening here at home! Can’t wait to fill you guys in! 😘😘

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7 thoughts on “Travel fears and Is it safe to travel internationally with baby/children? 

  1. Great attitude. We’re travelling Indonesia with our daughter and have always had wonderful experiences (but we definitely take out insurance for our travels here)

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    1. Indonesia, so cool!! I want to go to Asia, anywhere there really, so bad!! But we either follow hubby’s work trip or are meeting up with friends who still haven’t seen our precious babe! My husbands work provided health insurance has an international policy, but we’ve never used it. We could have turned in our Paris ER visit, but I was too lazy and it was already way more affordable than any bill we have paid here. Somewhere like Indonesia I might take out additional coverage, but I’m not very athletic or coordinated, so I’m not to adventurous. Peru I was required by our group to get it, and that was definitely worth the extra money. Luckily, I didn’t need it, but I was glad I had it. Especially after seeing the snake bite😖

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  2. SOS: starting to plan for Paris/Venice. what diaper bag do y’all use to fit all the crap necessary for international flights?!

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    1. My husband takes a big Swiss backpack and I have a couple of the petunia picklebottom bags that turn into a backpack, and then I take a large tote size handbag. Bash is pretty good about eating the children’s meal (you have to request it in advance) so we just bring a sippy to fill with water, footie pjs, extra simple outfit, 10 regular diapers, 4 overnight diapers, pack of wipes, a couple books, a couple small toys, a few purée packs, goldfish, iPad and his headphones. I keep the iPad/headphones, bedtime book, sleeper, a little toy and a snack or two in my handbag/David’s backpack that we put under the seat in front of us, a couple diapers/wipes in our bags too, then the rest we put in the overhead bin in the diaper bag to get when/if we need it. We ended up putting the sleeper on before even getting on the plane on the way home from Dublin bc he soaked through during the 3 1/2 hrs we waited for the pre-customs check. So it’s good to have some kind of clothes right on hand. We got to the airport 4 hours before boarding and we walked right up as they called pre-board. They also double checked his birthdate on his passport at the gate bc they didn’t believe he was under 2. He was 14 months! CDG is also a nightmare to check in as they let people cut the line based on when their flight leaves. I threw such a fit bc Sebastian had pooped while waiting (2 1/2 hrs) and I wanted to change him but not lose my place in line (they put my husband and father in a different line bc they had a separate reservation number bc they flew in after us). They decided to let me go ahead and get my place back, so gracious of them after letting at least 100 people cut us because their flight was departing before ours. Personally, those people should have gotten their arses there earlier then, but the AA agents didn’t see my logic.
      BTW AA was a terrible choice on our part. Fly any airline, but AA to CDG.

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  3. I’m intrigued by the reason not to buy international health insurance? I never really even thought about it!

    Peru sounds like an amazing trip! The hubs and I want to do machu picchu in the next few years! We are thinking a 30 birthday present to ourselves.

    Can’t wait to hear your exciting news! And hopefully see some of your home renos!

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    1. Unless there is a preexisting medical condition or it’s an adventure trip (my Peru trip had medical insurance as part of the costs of going, mandatory for the group) it is a total waste of money in our opinion. Most of those plans cost more than it costs to just go to the hospital. I think for David, Bash and I to get covered for 2 weeks in France was like $275. We could have all gone to the hospital with a double ear infection for less than that, and what are the chances of that? Our regular insurance allows us to turn in our international medical receipts for sure me reimbursement, but I haven’t done it because it’s not even worth the effort for how little we spent on the excellent health care we received. Not having insurance in the EU is cheaper than having really great insurance in the US. I had mastitis while visiting my parents once and went to the ER. It took 2 hrs before the doctor finally saw me! I was the only one there and had a 104 fever. The bill was almost $600 and all he did was give me medication I told him had worked for me the time before. I love our country, but the cost to receive medical care really is ridiculous, and from experiences in both France and Italy the quality isn’t compromised. The hospital in France treated my son with a double ear infection better than when I when I went to ER heavily bleeding naturally having my miscarriage. I told my bff Giulia I’m going to start flying to her house to be sick bc the plane tickets and the hospital bills combined would be cheaper and at least I would be in Paris! 😂😂

      House renovations have come to a bit of a halt. I’m no longer helping with any painting, and don’t want any of the fumes in the house until the weather is nice enough to open all the windows. But my husband and my brother’s college buddies promise they will get it done this summer:) We were planning a big 4th of July party, and I really still want to throw it. Plus side all of the ceilings are done and white at least! 😅

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      1. I think I have a feeling what that means! At least I hope so!

        We have fantastic healthcare too, but it is still ridiculously expensive to be sick in America.

        Mastitis is awful isn’t it? Luckily, my dad is a physician, so he can call in meds and check us out if any of us are sick!

        Hopefully renos can get done with you supervising from afar 😂

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