When travelers are surveyed about what is most important to them when planning a family vacation, the number one answer is not sunshine, or a wealth of activities. It is also not great food, or even a low price. Invariably, studies show that the most important element of a family vacation is a safe environment.
But while safety is essential when planning a vacation, many families often forget the most common-sense safety rules once their vacation begins.
Here are some simple tips that parents can follow to ensure their families enjoy a fun, safe vacation.
For a Safe Family Vacation That is Fun:
- Make sure the door to your hotel or motel room always is locked. Instruct children that only adults should answer the door, even when someone identifies himself as a hotel employee.
- Review the resort’s safety information with your children upon check-in. Make sure everyone knows how to find the nearest exit. They should also know how to reach the front desk in case of emergency.
- Even in resorts with lifeguards, parents always should monitor their children’s activities in the pool.
- Accompany children at all times in a hotel’s public areas. Hotels and resorts are getting larger and larger. For that reason, it is easy for a child to become lost.
- Make sure your children know the name of the hotel where they are staying in case they get lost.
- Whenever you leave the resort, place an index card in your children’s pockets with your name and contact number. If your children become lost, this will help authorities reach you quickly.
- Keep recent photographs of all children with you. This can speed up the search process if family members get separated.
- Ask your family doctor or pediatrician to recommend a doctor or facility near your vacation destination.
- Bring plenty of water with you on airplanes, while driving, and while walking through the theme parks. Children can become dehydrated quickly.
- Dress your children in brightly colored clothing, so they are easier to spot in crowds.
Keeping your family safe and secure while traveling does not require a lot of work. Simple attention to some general safety guidelines will help put your mind at ease. This also allows you to enjoy a fabulous family vacation.
Family Vacation Car Game Fun
Traveling with children is always an adventure. Whether it is a short drive to a soccer game or a two-day trip to Grandma’s house, car games can be a welcome diversion for the “Are we there yet?” blues. Car games are fun. They can also be educational. So the next time you are out and about, try one of these games!
Family Vacation Restaurant Hunt
Each player chooses a fast-food restaurant. Score a point for each time you see that restaurant or an advertisement on a billboard or exit sign, and so forth. Set a time frame in which the winner will be decided.
- If one child spots another child’s restaurant and calls out the name first, he gets the point.
- Choose a chain of gas stations or hotels instead.
Prize: Eating lunch at the winning child’s restaurant, of course!
Before your trip, make Bingo cards by drawing 5 rows with 5 squares in each row. Make or photocopy several sets to play more than once, especially on long trips. In each square draw a picture of something you might see along the way. You might even use magazine pictures or stickers. Some examples: animals, vehicles, farm or construction equipment, people, various buildings, signs, plants, and trees. Give each child a pencil and card. And when he spots an object on his card, he crosses it out. The first person to complete 5 in a row, up, down, or diagonal, is the winner.
- For younger children, include a “Free Space” instead of a picture in the middle box of the card. Or you can make a smaller grid of 3×3 squares, like in Tic-Tac-Toe. For older children, it might be easier to write the names of the objects.
- Laminate the Bingo cards. Or you can cover them with clear adhesive paper and use washable markers to make them reusable.
- Use a different theme on each card. — different colored cars and trucks, all farm animals, various city buildings, and so forth.
Prize: A set of markers, rubber stamps (and ink pads) with pictures of objects you might see along the way for making their own Bingo cards.
License Plate Sentences
Each child chooses the letters from a license plate. He or she then tries to make a phrase with them, using each letter to begin a word. For example, “137 SIC” could be “School Is Cool.”
- Pick the letters from two license plates. Then come up with a whole word. Using the letters from 137 SIC and 334 ETI could spell “cities.”
- Include license plate numbers, assigning a letter to each number: 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, and so on.
Prize: A comic book or stickers goes to the person voted with the silliest phrase.
Write the letters of the alphabet on a piece of paper so they can be marked out. The object of the game is to find every letter of the alphabet in order on cars, signs, buildings, and so forth. The first person to cross out every letter on his paper wins.
- Confine your search to license plates only.
- Do not require the alphabet letters be found in order.
Prize: Alphabet cereal or flash cards can be a great prize.
This article is shared with us courtesy of Parent Life Magazine. It was originally posted on the Lifeway.com web site. You can read additional posted articles and subscribe to this and/or other Family Magazines, as well.
Terry Whaples wrote this article. She is president and co-owner of Holiday Inn Family Suites Resorts. The Car Game Fun is contributed by Doris Schuchard.