One of the things we loved the most when we were wandering around the streets of Morón, Cuba, was the fact that we seemed to be the only tourists. Unlike other parts of the country, visitors to the Ciego de Ávila province rarely leave their resort, or only venture out via organized tours. We saw a number drive by in one of the drive your own Jeep “adventures”, but in terms of foot traffic, we were definitely an oddity.
Bub was in his buggy, and M. was either on Dada’s shoulders or holding one of our hands. I’m not quite sure why, but as we were crossing a street I had a fleeting sense of panic that if one of the children became separated from us, how would we ever find them? I tend to be a worrywart about lots of things but this particular worry was a new one for me. None of us spoke Spanish – lots of Cubans speak English so that wouldn’t have been a huge concern, but we were way far away from the resort area we were staying at.
We had our cel phones with us. One thing that’s changed since we had kids, is I now leave my cel phone on while away from home. Regardless of the roaming cost, I feel I need to be reachable, especially if my husband and I are not together. Of course, M. can barely remember her home phone number, never mind my cel. So when we returned home, I turned to the Internets, and of course there are a number of options to save ourselves the worry of being separated from our kids while traveling.
Some parents suggest writing your cel number on your child’s arm, or pinning a card with your info onto their shirt or sticking a card with your deets in their pocket. These are good, cost-effective suggestions, but I’m not certain I want to scribble on my kid (especially when I’d rather she not write on herself), and I’m not sure I’d trust someone to notice something pinned or in her pocket. Mabel’s Labels have handy-dandy wristbands that you can customize to put your phone numbers and other pertinent information. Best of all, they’re resistant to water, sunscreen, chlorine and sweat – great for crowded water parks and the like.
It’s also a good idea to have all important information about your child (and you, for that matter), written down in one place and stored somewhere safe. Great tips include scanning your passport and emailing a copy to yourself – so you can access it anywhere there’s an Internet connection. There’s a company called Forms 4 Travel that sells different forms that you can fill in stuff like your child’s blood type and medical history. I’m not sure you need to shell out for a form but it is a good idea to have all that sort of relevant info together and accessible, should you need it. Most definitely if your child has any medical issues that would require urgent attention.
It’s not my intention to be a Negative Nellie or a Debbie Downer. It’s just as with everything to do with travel with children, the more prepared you are, the better!