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 ecological 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 personally 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 or violent protesters might hurt us. 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 the 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, 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 rough neighborhoods alone at night. The acts of protest, 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 and some intense protests, 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!
P.S. We have some exciting things happening here at home! Can’t wait to fill you guys in! 😘😘