No one wants to think about problems arising while they are traveling. But the reality is that disaster doesn’t care if you are on vacation. Things happen and it is wise to prepare for them before you even leave the house.
We learned this two years ago while vacationing in Florida. Ladybug was a little over a year old and a total mama’s girl. She always wanted to be right next to me. We had plans to go swimming in the hotel pool though a bad storm kept us indoors. Instead, we stayed in our room and hung out on the bed, Ladybug in between D and me. Wanting to do something on the other side of the room, I got up from the bed. Ladybug saw me get up and before D could grab her, she jumped up and ran off the bed. She didn’t just fall- she ran. Before I could catch her, she tumbled down and smacked her head on the corner of the nightstand on her way down, landing on her face. The sound was sickening.
Of course we were worried. As first time parents, even a little bump was a big deal so the large gash surrounded by the black and blue bruise already forming was definitely concerning. We scooped her up and headed straight to the emergency room.
Thankfully, everything turned out fine. The three hour ER wait was the worst part of the ordeal for her. She didn’t have a concussion and she bounced back to her happy self before we even left the hospital. We were able to continue with our itinerary the next day.
I don’t tell you this as an invitation to judge us as parents. Trust me, no one felt more guilty about that event than I did. The what ifs and I should’ves and why did I’s consumed me even after the doctor declared her alright and cleared her to leave the hospital. And I still cringe every time I think about that day. But we did learn a few lessons from the experience.
1. Write down addresses and phone numbers of nearby medical facilities.
It’s not a bad idea to write down the addresses and phone numbers of the local medical facilities before you leave your house. You can even program them right into your phone. You never know when you will need to see a doctor. If you know where to go before you leave for your trip, if there is an emergency, you won’t have to spend time looking up where to go.
2. Make sure you bring your insurance cards.
I keep our insurance cards in my wallet at all times. With small children with me nearly all day every day, it gives me peace of mind in case there is an emergency and I need to take one of them to a doctor or the emergency room.
3. Remain calm.
Children feed off the emotions of others, especially their parents. Many times when Ladybug is scared or hurt, she will look at me to gauge my reaction. When I’m calm, she’s calm. But when I panic, she freaks out. Being a mom has been a huge learning experience for me because I tend to panic when something goes wrong. But having a child rely on me has forced me to learn to keep my emotions in check. Remaining calm helps you to keep the situation under control.
4. Be flexible.
No one wants to spend three hours chasing a one year old around an emergency room waiting room, trying to keep her out of places she’s not supposed to go. But when that’s the reality of your life at that moment, there’s not much you can do to change it. Getting annoyed or angry won’t help the situation. Maybe you have to give up a few things or change things around on your itinerary. Or maybe, it’s necessary to forego the rest of your trip and return home. It doesn’t do any good to dwell on the past. Being flexible helps you not get too flustered and angry about the situation.
5. Do something for yourself to help you unwind.
I don’t know about you, but when something stressful happens to me or a loved one, I need time to decompress. It’s hard when I have to be the strong one so I make sure to do something for myself. I like to take a book and soak in the tub or splurge on a treat to share with D while the kids are in bed. You can do this while you are still on your trip or wait until you get home. But do something.
These tips don’t just help me while I’m traveling. They are a good rule of thumb when any unfortunate situations occur at home, as well. Of course, you hope that emergencies won’t happen while you’re traveling but it is always good to be prepared.
*For more tips for minimizing travel anxiety, read my post Minimizing Travel Anxiety: Tips for Navigating the Airport.