What can I do to prepare for our family holiday in Bali?
Travelling to any foreign country raises a lot of questions and concerns about health and safety, especially if you’re travelling with children. If you’re wondering is Bali safe for your family, Fast Cover Travel Insurance covers some of the most common queries about travelling to Bali. Follow these practical tips to help make sure your Balinese family holiday is memorable for all the right reasons!
Get the family health in check
before you travel
Take the family for a thorough health check-up as soon as you know your travel dates. Your doctor may recommend vaccinations spread out over several weeks or months, so the earlier the better. These could include: Tetanus and Diphteria, Typhoid, MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) and Hepatitis A and B. If anyone in your family takes prescription medication, remember to ask your doctor for enough to tide you over until you get back. Make sure you pack enough for the whole trip, plus some extra in case you’re delayed getting home, and keep all medicines in their original packaging to avoid any potential problems with airport customs. While you’re there, you may also want to ask your doctor for a letter describing any medical conditions or allergies your children have. This can come in handy if your child needs medical attention in Bali.
Bali’s climate is hot and sticky most of the year, so it’s best to pack light comfortable clothing made from natural fibres. Loose, long-sleeved garments will help protect you from the harsh sun and insects, and a ‘rashie’ or swim shirt will help prevent sunburn.
A wide-brimmed hat, flip-flops and sunglasses are also Bali essentials, and a light shawl or wrap comes in handy to drape over prams and create shade. Pack them within easy reach in your carry-on or you can pick up some bargains when you arrive.
You may also want to pack some basic first aid supplies like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gastro stoppers, throat lozenges and paracetamol to help treat common illnesses and minor injuries. Don’t forget to pack sunscreen and insect repellent too!
Chat to Your Kids
Before you leave home, talk to your kids and lay down some basic ground rules for your holiday. These will be dependent on their age, but as well as the usual ‘stranger danger’ spiel you might like to go over your emergency family plan so they know what to do or who to contact in an emergency situation.
If you’re travelling with teens who are old enough to go exploring on their own, make sure they have your travel insurer’s emergency contact number, some backup cash in the local currency, and a business card from your hotel. If they get lost and can’t contact you they can show the card to a taxi driver. For younger children, some parents like to put their contact details and hotel address on a lanyard for kids to wear in case they get separated.
Buy Family Travel Insurance
Travel insurance doesn’t just cover your suitcases and belongings, it also covers the most important asset of all: your family’s health and safety. In a commissioned survey of over 1000 travellers, Fast Cover found that 1 in 5 travellers needed medical help overseas, with some claims up to a staggering $60,000 AUD* for emergency transport and treatment. If someone in your family is ill or injured overseas, you might be coming home with a very scary hospital bill.
Insurance also has other benefits like cancellations, missed connections and travel delays, which came in handy for thousands of travellers in 2016 when all flights were grounded due to volcanic eruptions. Stranded passengers were forced to camp at Bali’s airport or fork out for extra accommodation to wait out the delay, and those who couldn’t fly in were left out of pocket for any pre-paid accommodation or tours they couldn’t use.
As well as the financial peace of mind, travel insurance also gives you access to a 24-hour emergency contact centre from anywhere in the world which can help coordinate medical treatment, emergency evacuation, consular services, and even translators.
How Do We Stay Safe and Healthy in Bali?
Let the Locals do the Driving
Hiring a moped to ride around in Bali may seem like a cheap and fun option, but Balinese traffic can be hectic. Road rules are rarely enforced and many vehicles are poorly maintained. Fast Cover reports that injuries from riding motorbikes and scooters are one of the most common claims in Indonesia, and may not always be covered. For safety’s sake, stick to licensed taxi drivers on your family holiday and let an experienced local deal with the traffic. Bluebird Taxis are generally agreed by travellers to be the safest and most reputable company in Bali. You can book them online, at the airport, or ask your hotel reception.
Watch What You Eat
One of the best things about travel is tasting the local cuisine, but be mindful when choosing where and what to eat. Children are especially vulnerable to food poisoning and a case of Bali Belly can quickly ruin a great holiday – especially if there’s only one toilet in your hotel room!
Choose cafes or restaurants that look clean and are busy enough to have a fast turnover. If you’re feeling adventurous enough to eat street food, pick a stall where you can see the food is cooked at a high temperature, fresh to order with minimal handling. Fruits and vegetables may seem like a safe and healthy choice, but avoid eating raw vegetables or salads rinsed in contaminated tap water. Fruits which you can peel yourself like bananas, mandarins and oranges are the safest option for snacks.
If you or your children have food allergies, learn how to say it in Indonesian or download a translator app on your phone to say it for you. The English word for “allergy” or “allergic” sounds very similar in Indonesian. Most Balinese restaurant staff in touristy areas speak excellent English anyway and will be used to accommodating food allergies, but you could also take a photo of the food to show them if you’re concerned about getting lost in translation.
Be Water Wise
Tap water in many overseas countries including Indonesia can be swimming with bacteria and nasty parasites like Giardia. To minimise your risk, drink only bottled water and forego ice cubes in your drinks away from the main tourist areas. Also remember to keep your mouth closed in the shower and use bottled water to brush your teeth!
Most hotels will provide clean bottled water in your room, but if you purchase water from a street vendor or in a restaurant check that the cap is still sealed and hasn’t been tampered with.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Mosquitoes in Bali can carry diseases like Dengue Fever which can be especially dangerous for your little travellers. Unfortunately there are no preventives for Dengue Fever, so the best way to avoid getting sick is to avoid getting bitten!
Fend off mosquitoes by wearing long, light-coloured clothing and using a tropical-strength insect repellent to spray exposed areas like the top of your feet and the back of your neck! Also avoid hanging around areas of stagnant water such as rice paddies and creeks, and try to stay indoors or cover up at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Appreciate the Local Wildlife from
a Safe Distance
Bali is famous for its beautiful beaches, water parks and resort swimming facilities, but be aware that most beaches and swimming pools are not patrolled by lifeguards. It’s up to you to keep an eye on your little ones around the water. Even if your family are all confident swimmers, respect local warnings about surf conditions and be wary of strong currents and undertows.
So, is Bali Safe?
Don’t Forget to Relax and Enjoy Bali with Your Family!
Kids will love exploring the ancient temples, splashing around at the beach and running rampant at the amazing waterparks. Stories of meeting funny, friendly locals and hanging out with wild monkeys will be retold at family dinners for decades. You might have such a great time you’ll want to take a Bali break every year!