Are your prepared for an emergency on your travels?

As the events from the terror attacks unfolded across the media, the whole of humanity was appalled and saddened by the innocent loss of life in Paris and Beirut.  This very summer on our travels in the Far East we had left Bangkok a few hours before several bombs shook the usual peaceful city.  These events are extreme but natural disasters like the earthquake in Japan or even a family only emergency can happen at any time so I thought I would put together some simple steps on how family travellers can plan around possible emergencies and try and be prepared for an emergency on your travels.


Copies of passports

We always carry photocopies of our passport (and the children’ birth certificates) in our luggage and now also have photos of them on our mobile phones and saved on an on-line cloud system such as Dropbox.

Photo by 7th Groove

Photo by 7th Groove


Before we travel, we email a copy of our full itinerary to ourselves and also to two members of our family.  We include copies of our passports, flights, accommodation and general travel plan ideas.    We like this idea as you have a back up elsewhere in the world if you were to ever need it in any type of emergency.  Even in cases of lost passports, you can find your local embassy and have someone email you copies across.  In relation to plans, unless you are on a planned tour, you cannot always know what these would be in advance but where we can we inform family of where we will be especially if travelling abroad.


I am Scout leader so we really emphasise the need to know details of members of your family.  In an emergency a child knowing a parents name will be much more helpful and will help find the parents that much easier.  My two year old knows my full name and if he was to get separated, at least I know he would be able to tell the person my name whilst Maya knows our address and telephone number.  We would encourage families to help their children remember their parents names, address and a telephone number.  This is as important for international travel as it is for local travel and days out. Having the children able to recite contact details in an emergency is one of the most important skills you can encourage your children to learn.

Information your children should have

Photo by Ewar Woowar

Photo by Ewar Woowar

When we check into a hotel, we now take a business card of the hotel and give them to the children.  Inevitably with children these can be misplaced but we do make a conscious effort that they have them on their person when we are leaving our hotel room and also know the hotel name.

I have seen a couple of great ideas of how to keep information on a child:

1.  a money belt worn under the children’s clothes.  Inside the money belt would be a card where the parents details, address, telephone number (also include your international code if you are travelling abroad) and also you can add cards of your current hotel into the money belt.  Some money in case of an emergency is also a good idea.  I would place these all in a ziplock bag so they are fully waterproof.

2.  Luggage tag added onto a child’s clothing: I love this idea especially if you are visiting a busy place like a theme park or festival.  On a luggage tag, details of the parents are added and then added to children’s clothing (belt, button) so the tag will always be on your child. It’s such a simple but so effective.  We will definitely be doing this on our future adventures.

Plan of what to do in an emergency

When we arrive at a new destination we spend some time with our children explaining what to do in an emergency and where our emergency meet up point is. A meet up point is vital even if you have mobile phones or your children are older.  It is vital for an emergency as most of your call to items like mobiles etc are usually defunct at this point and batteries can die and phones can be lost.  Sometimes the old ways are the best ways.  Again this is much more important when you are out for the day and arrange a place where we would meet in case any of the group was to get separated.

We have started to do this when using the underground as we have been using this a lot when in London and Singapore.  The little adventurers know that in an emergency they should stay where they are and we would find them.

Be prepared

When we arrive in a new city we always find out where our local embassy is, for us that would be the British Embassy is and where the local hospitals are.  There are lots of fab apps out there now which let you find the local English speaking doctor anywhere in the world.

Photo by Michael Pollak

Photo by Michael Pollak

We also have a rucksack which we always carry with us, which contains a spare pair clothes for the children, emergency snacks, contact details of family at home, a first aid kit, a small torch and details of the local embassy (if abroad)

I am a true lover of travel and though events which happened last week do make you think twice about travelling with your precious family, it is only momentary thought and my love for travel wins hands down.  Our planet is beautiful and deserves to be explored, by letting those who reek terror on lives on innocent people we are letting them win.  Emergencies can happen at anytime and can be of varying magnitude.  You can never predict when these will happen, but you can make some small changes which would help in an emergency.

Have you any suggestions of how to travel safely? What would you recommend? Please let us know in the comments below.


I am a traveller, mother and blogger. We love to go on adventures (big and small, near and far) and strive to show our children how amazing and beautiful the world is! I caught the travel bug many moons ago and despite having three little adventurers, I still suffer from "itchy" feet. We love the great outdoors and one another. Come and join the fun :)

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22 Responses

  1. Nibs these are fantastic tips and some I have never considered like email the passport details to a relative, I am always going to do this from now on. Its so scary isn’t it. Like you I love travel and never want to be put off, but this week has really been awful , really makes you think x

  2. Riz says:

    Great article nisbah… fantastic tips I will definitely consider. Thanks again!

  3. Alice Young says:

    Some really really useful tips here. I think it’s easy to forget to be prepared and safe when excited for a holiday or trip but reading this has got some things into my head for when we do go abroad. I think for some people the horrific events will put them off travelling but I’m pleased it hasn’t for you!x

  4. These are such fab tips. I love the idea of the kids wearing a bag with all the parents information in.

    Gemma xx

  5. Really useful tips – I must get back into the habit of doing some of these, and I like some of the suggestions for teaching the kids too.

  6. Delighted I came across this. Heading to DLP with my 5 y/o in January, just the two of us. Very informative post that I will put into action. Thank you!

  7. Life as Mum says:

    These are great tips. When someone gets excited to go on holiday you don’t really think of emergency plans. I will deffintley be taking these tips on board with me when I got abroad next year again x

  8. Jess says:

    Great tips, we tend to pack and prepare ourselves for the good things or things like delay in travelling times, but rarely is it things such as this, it probably won’t happen to me, is what we all think, But reality is, it really could. I wouldn’t know what to do so this post has really helped me 🙂 x

  9. Great tips and please please please make sure you buy good travel insurance and have all the info with you. Even a small accident on holiday can mean you need it and a good company will be there to assist you with medical issues and accommodation etc #love2blog

  10. Great tips here. I would have never thought of most of them as I don’t travel very often. I will definitely use the luggage tag idea x

  11. Danielle says:

    These are all such great points, especially to think of after such horrific recent events in Paris. I haven’t given much thought though, to be honest, because my family doesn’t currently have the means to travel, but will definitely make plans for the future.

  12. Janine says:

    Wow you are so organised. I don’t think there is anything I can add to that. I have never traveled with my kids yet so there will be some tips from here I will take away when I do.

  13. Ickle Pickle says:

    Great tips – I have never thought about a lot of these things. I always have insurance and our European health cards with us if we travel in Europe. Kaz x

  14. Lori says:

    I never thought about photocopies of passports and eithe keep them on me or in a safe. But this is a great idea. Lots of fab tips! thanks for sharing x

  15. Alex says:

    This is such a great post Hun. I rgink keeping a card with the hotel details is brilliant. And photocopies of passports etc is definitely something I’ll be doing on my next holiday. Thanks for sharing such great tips and advice xx

  16. These are such fantastic tips. You never think you will experience an emergency whilst on holiday, but its better to be prepared. We do take photocopies of our passports and keep them separate but I never thought of emailing them to a family member. We always arrange a meeting up place should we separate from each other, and this actually worked well when Morgan wandered off in a water park in Florida. Thankfully he was at the meet up area oblivious to the panic he had caused me for a few moments xx

  17. These are fantastic tips that every parent/guardian should follow. Most of the items you’ve listed I’ve not thought of, but we do always email our families the itinerary with all the hotel details, flight numbers, etc. I’d never thought about taking copies of passports. We will be doing all of what you’ve mentioned in future.
    Laura x

  18. Notmyyearoff says:

    One of the managers at my work (who is an ex copper) takes a plastic door wedge with him on holiday. He puts it under the door and it’s really difficult for anyone dodgy to try to burst in. I now take one everywhere ? excellent tips, we do some of these but not all of them!

  19. These are great tips thanks, have you any specific tips on travelling with an 11 month old? It will be our first family holiday abroad. I was considering an ID tag for him but think he might ge a bit young and we won’t be letting him out of our sight anyway x

  20. Becky Cowley says:

    Great post! Not nice to think about having an emergency when people are on the travels but these tips aren’t invasive on your fun and it’s better to be as prepared as possible xx

  21. This is a really great post Nisbah. Makes lots and lots of sense.

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