When I meet strangers and tell them we’re travelling the world with our small children they always tell me how brave I am. People assume travelling with kids is hard work, infinitely more so than day-to-day life at home, but I just don’t feel that way. Many people feel that travelling with kids is just too darn scary. What are all these parents worried about? What’s the worst that could happen? The absolute worst, unthinkable things, only happen to a very, very small percentage of travellers. It doesn’t bear thinking about actually. The culture of fear is not one that I succumb to. I’m a practical person so I really only think in terms of things that will actually be happen and are unavoidable. Illness and minor injuries are the most common problems parents face while travelling with children and these can be easily managed (as they would be at home.)
The Kids Get Sick
Newsflash! Kids will get sick. Whether you’re travelling or at home, kids will pick up nasty gastro bugs, have rashes in weird places or get the sniffles. We had to take Hazel to the doctor in Kauai for a case of conjunctivitis. If we were at home I would run her to the doctor for ointment to clear it up, but when travelling it can be a little bit more of a worry to find a doctor and get treated for these minor ailments. I was mostly worried about the cost of visiting a doctor in the US as I know how expensive medical care is but it didn’t end up costs a lot – under $200 for the visit and medication. It’s important to insure your trip with a good travel insurance policy so that you don’t need to stress about these expenses.
These things will happen and it’s nothing to put you off travelling with your kids. Just deal with it as you would at home.
A Parent Gets Sick
Sometime a parent gets sick. When I was in hospital in Koh Samui for a whole week last year, things we actually pretty easy for me. After all, I was laid up in a hospital bed unable to breathe so I wasn’t getting up to much. (Not that I enjoyed it AT ALL!) It was Lee and Reuben that struggled the most. As I’m the one who generally plans our travels and organises our life on the road on a day to day bases, it was a lot harder for Lee to cope with all of that plus looking after Reuben full-time, visiting me in hospital and managing to work as usual. It was a pretty tough week for him.
Have a plan of action in the event of a sick parent. Make sure the other parent knows where all the essential documents are, like your travel insurance policy, and has access to any travel bookings that might need to be re-arranged. If you’re a single parent, you should have an action plan in place with your child.
Everyone Gets Sick
It’s times like these when it is a lot tougher to be away from home and without family support. We had one awful week last year when all three of us (pre-Hazel) had a debilitating flu in Mooloolaba, Australia. With no family or friends to lean on, looking after a three-year old was near impossible. We had no energy, no groceries, no transport and desperately needed just one healthy person to get us back on our feet. I thought about hiring a nurse or home help but it was hard to find anything instant. I put a call for help out on Facebook and another travel blogging family in Brisbane drove two hours round-trip to spend the day helping us out. Tracey ran us to the doctor and supermarket while her hubby Gert got the house in order for us. They were a godsend!
Ask for help! People are generally kind and helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are not able to look after yourself and your family. If you’re staying in a hotel or guesthouse, staff will be able to help you find a doctor. If you’re housesitting or staying in a vacation rental, you may need to look to a neighbour or email the homeowner for advice. Social media is a winner here. The world is small, particularly for travellers who have friends in all corners of the world.
Most of the mishaps that happen on the road are the same as you’d have to deal with at home. You just have to find a way to deal with them as a family. It’s not scary. It’s parenting. So long as you’re prepared with a good travel insurance policy and decent common sense, you and your kids will be just fine!
Have you ever had to deal with illness or injury on the road?
Either yourself or with your children? How did you deal with it? I’d love to know what plans you have in place for dealing with illness and injury on your travels. If you’ve got a blog post about it, feel free to add the link in the comments.