November 18, 2009

When Your Kid Gets the Travel Bug: Tips from the Trenches

A couple of weeks ago I posted about our family trip to Nicaragua . This photo is from our zipline tour above the bay of San Juan del Sur. It was almost the last day of our trip, and the experience had been fun, smooth and exhilarating. But despite our vigilance of all things food & water, our eldest daughter came down with a stomach bug as we were packing up.

She got dehydrated so quickly that after 24 hours air travel was out of the question, and we needed to seek medical attention (and an IV) at a hospital in Managua. Although she recovered the next day, I don't think I ever fully recovered.

To anyone considering a similar trip, here is what I wish I had done better...

1)Partnered more closely with my pediatrician during the planning stages to come up with an action plan in the event of a travel bug. Although I called our pediatrician's office to let them know where we were going and inquire about meds we could take along, that phone conversation didn't accomplish much. Moving forward, I'll plan a face to face with our doctor, complete with a checklist and prescriptions.

2)Known which medical facility we should use in case of an emergency, and check in advance to ensure it provides reasonable medical care. A bad situation was made worse by the fact that we didn't know the location of the right hospital.

Two years later I can finally look at the hundreds of pictures and memories we created together as a family in the beautiful country of Nicaragua. I can see their smiling faces on the beaches, playing with the other kids. I can see them on horseback. I can see them flying down the zipline. I can see them at the playground in the town square with the local kids. I can see them at Thanksgiving dinner with our dear friends who live there. But those memories came with tough lessons, and the least I can do is pass those along.

And can you believe it? The next year we went in the complete opposite direction and headed up to cruise Alaska. What did my youngest come down with just after that trip? Mono. No kidding. Maybe, it's just our luck.

This post is part of the Delicious Baby blog round-up, where more travel tips and stories await!


Carolina said...

It's hard enough when they get sick at home, but when you're traveling, it seems as if you're never prepared enough. And it's almost impossible to keep kids from getting sick, they don't take the same precautions most adults take.
You've had some bad luck on those trips, but it's good for you to share your lesson learned.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

It is so hard when kids get sick during a trip. Very good tips. My husband is a family medicine doc so we usually travel with quite a load of supplies, but our scariest medical experience happened when we were completing our daughter's adoption in Taiwan. We were both bitten by a spider (they think brown recluse). When we sought care at the local hospital, they told us she just had an ear infection...we got on the first flight out and immediatedly headed to the hospital near our home in Japan. My daughter ended up needing surgery within few hours of our arrival. Very scary and just so glad we were able to make it to a hospital we trusted. It is also hard for me to look at those photos of such a memorable trip without feeling upset about our final day there. Glad your daughter is ok.

Wanderluster said...

It's gotta be tough when the little ones are ill but it's hard when adults, too, get sick on a trip.

Great advice to be prepared with your doctor's info as well as medication, natural or otherwise, so that you can get over your illness as quickly as possible.

The last thing anyone wants is to be sick on a short adventure.

Sharlene said...

Having a chld get sick in a third world country must be so scary when you aren't famliar with the medical facilities. Thank you for all the advice. At least the zipline looked like tons of fun.

Abi said...

Ouch - I don't really want to imagine what it must have been like for you.

As an adult, I've ended up ill pretty much across the globe despite taking all kinds of precautions.

The most galling, though, was during my trip to Washington.

Is nowhere safe?!

Unknown said...

That must have been a scary time for you. I would have been more afraid of the hospitals and possible germs there.

Thanks for passing on the tips!

Dominique said...

Hopefully the harsh experiences of that trip wlll fade enough over time that you all can find some enjoyment in what sounded like an otherwise nice trip :)

penandview said...

seriously...your family trips make me so green with envy. :) What amazing memories you are building.
So, whenever you want to come down this way, we'll take you to Moss Beach and Fred's Fish Shack. We can go with the kids and make it a fun outing! And I'll bring my camera of course!

Lorraine Akemann said...

I appreciate the feedback - I get my inspiration from you guys and will certainly keep moving forward!