Views from Daddy M
An advice on safety while travelling with kids
There are many times we took things for granted. Living in Singapore does create this sense of security (we hope it will continue to do so when you are Daddies) and sometimes it translates to the places we travel to as well. These misplaced sense of security could sometime result in a high price to pay for a vacation.
We had just returned from a trip to Bali. This trip was supposed to be a family bonding session with your grandfather, uncle, auntie and cousin. An adventure was desired, but we got more than what we had bargained for. We were robbed in our sleep during this trip. The unwelcome intruder was just centimetres away from our bedside.
I hate to think what may have happened if I had woken up and confronted the said intruder. Would there be a fight, a struggle and a casualty or casualties? The thoughts that raced through my mind on the aftermath is disturbing and terrifying at the same time.
To make it worse, the burglar had a choice ; to pick up the watch that is on my right or one of you who slept like an angel to my right. By God’s grace, I am glad he had chosen the former. Material things can be replaced, but you could not. I would be most devastated if I had failed to protect you. I would have failed as a father to a son.
There were many mistakes made during the trip that even allow a remote chance of this happening. I would thus share what I had learned and what I would do in all the trips that follow.
Choose a child friendly destination
Sun , sand, sea, pool , elephants and monkeys. What’s there not to like?
There is a reason why Bali is a destination for honeymooners (Daddy and Mommy had their honeymoon there). It may not necessary be the best place for younger kids.
We only saw tourists with kids your age at the Bali Safari. Other than that, there are more monkeys than kids at other tourist attractions. Perhaps we were too adventurous and optimistic. We are not against Bali. It is a beautiful destination. Perhaps we should have gone to the Gold Coast instead for the sun, sand, sea, pool sans elephants and monkeys.
Bottom line, choose a destination that would be more suited for the age group of your children.
Choose a Secure Hotel Location
We choose a villa thinking that it would be a great experience to have a private villa with our own pool (Comes at a great deal too!) However we failed to take note if there are security available. As our villa is a standalone, it does not come with a permanent security or a guarded compound. Bad mistake, especially our villa adopts a open concept ( i.e no doors to deter intruders from within, only 1 main door) . I guess you really get what you pay for ; Apparently , the villa hired part time untrained guards. Pay Peanuts and you get monkeys guarding the villa.
Don’t scrimp a dollar on safety. It would be wise to do your research before you embark on a trip.
Ensure that the Main door is locked and the area secured.
A simple task, yet at times it could be overlook. Sometimes it is best to err on the side of cautious than regret like I did. The main door was locked but apparently it was not secured as a few quick pushes would dislodge the bolted door, thus rendering any lock useless. I had failed to notice this. . The not so tall walls are no barrier especially if one can climb the ‘high wall’ in SAF obstacle course.
Not all doors are built equally and we should not assume it is
Locked all your room doors before you sleep
Do we lock our doors at home. I would assume most would not do so. Nevertheless a holiday venue is not home. That is why we need to adopt a different mindset.
At the risk of sounding like a psycho ; if that comes with the added assurance of safety, do it every time even at home.
Put your valuables and travel documents in the safe.
We lost quite a bit from the theft. However it was a good thing that we left our passports and some cash in the safe. Nevertheless all valuables should be locked up before you sleep. A passing thief can only do so much if his intention is only to steal.
Be safe(literately), not sorry
Never trust anyone
Does it mean that your Daddy is cynical?
No, rather the intent is to protect and not distrust. Make new friends at your holidays, but keep safety a top priority. Given the circumstances of the break in, Daddy thinks that this might be an inside job.
Be cautious in whom you place your absolute trust in.
Keep these in mind, take precautions, choose a safe destination for travel especially with young kids, buy travel insurance and stay alert. These are advices that you should take note. Keep in mind, in order to relax and unwind during a holiday. you need a peace of mind first. . Keep the safety tips in mind and you will not end up in anguish.
So my dearest sons, you may be too young to be aware of what had happened. But I do hope in time to come when you can understand this, know that Daddy is glad that both of you are safe. You will always be my priority till the day I am not around.
The full issue of this week's Weekender can be found here
This article is featured in the Weekender on 23rd Nov 2012
Weekender Featured is a collection of articles contributed by The Wacky Duo that were published on Weekender - a weekly paper providing information about events, food, sports and activities. This article was published on 2nd November.
Daddy M is the featured parent blogger for the month of November.
This article is a reprint (with some minor tweets) of the original article that first appear in sep 2012.