Savvy Vacationers Cover All Bases

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

In one week I’ve heard two different stories about problems friends had during recent vacations. One family allowed their young teen daughter to go with a school friend on her family’s vacation to Florida. From this negative experience, parents that might also have such an invite might want to consider questions to ask the host family about the trip before allowing a child or teen to join them. The host family told the parent what the price of the plane ticket would be and that they would book the guest student’s ticket along with their family’s tickets. Then the parent of the guest teen would give them a check to pay for her ticket. What the host family didn’t tell the other parent was that the plane ticket booking was for “standby”. Later during a call from Florida, the daughter called home and told her parents it was over seven hours waiting for a plane they could board. During the first four days at Florida, there was only one trip was to the beach as the friend’s mom loved to shop. Visiting malls was done several days into the trip, since everything was open there and no restrictions. There was no mention of when the family would make another trip to the beach to go swimming she told her mother. For spending money during the week, the guest teen’s parents gave her a thousand dollars for the week, figuring this was more than enough. But it wasn’t. The friend’s mother called the other mother at home and said to send more money as the family only ate in fine restaurants and the funds were not enough. It was obvious they were not paying for any of the guest student’s meals. Needless to say the young teen was not having a good time and called her mother to come home early, since no beach time was enjoyed. Naturally her mom agreed, but the ticket was more costly to return early and her fourteen year old had to travel back home alone. Lesson learned here is know the classmate and parents much better than a short friendship during the new school term and ask a lot of questions before agreeing to let you child join another family on a trip.

This second story comes via a friend that went on vacation with her husband and brother and sister in law renting a cottage through a popular online site. Being very safety minded, when the two couples arrived at the vacation cottage they found several items that made them uncomfortable at the thought of staying there a week. First of all there were no smoke or carbon monoxide detectors in the cottage. Nor were there any fire extinguishers located in the kitchen or basement laundry room. After searching the kitchen cabinets they discovered there were no flashlights handy in case of a power failure and they needed to get around in the dark. Luckily they had two flashlights in the car to use while staying at the cottage. Here are some safety reminders for anyone staying at a vacation cottage or condo. Check exits and have a plan in case of fire or any other emergency. Make sure the windows open smoothly in case you have to exit from a certain room and can’t get to a staircase. Pack extra flashlights from home to bring along and even a smoke detector that can be attached to a ceiling during your stay. Also, even before you book an online vacation rental, ask all of these questions and make sure you know that you and your family will have a safe and secure visit to the property.