By Jessica Thiefels
Your family vacation will be full of memories to last a lifetime, but don’t let those memories be bad ones. Prepare for (and try to avoid) dangerous situations with the following safety tips. You’ll leave home with a greater peace of mind, allowing you to truly relax on vacation.
Print and Distribute Emergency Contact Info
If you’re traveling with kids who have a hard time remembering names and phone numbers, create emergency contact cards. On the card, include emergency information like phone numbers, names, and locations. Have your kids keep it in their pocket so if they get separated from the group, they can show an adult and find help.
Practice “What If” Situations
Your vacation may be flawless, with minimal issues and no emergency situations. However, there’s always a chance something could happen. Go over the ways in which your kids should handle an emergency situation if it comes up. Cover topics like getting lost, getting into a dangerous situation (for teens who are exploring on their own), and getting locked out of the hotel room.
Remind them to look for a responsible adult, like a person working in a store, hotel or restaurant, or someone wearing a uniform.
Make Photo Copies
Instead of bringing all your important paperwork on the trip, bring photocopies. Airlines accept pictures of these documents and most medical facilities will too. If your travel requires a passport, that may be the only physical item you need,” explains Kathy Borkoski, COO of TripSafe.
Borkoski recommends making copies of:
- Birth certificates
- Shot records
- Medical insurance cards
- Recent, clear photo of each traveler
Keep Electronics Packed Away
When not in use, keep all electronics and other expensive items packed away. Don’t let anything hang out of the top of a bag either. Simply being able to see the item makes you a target for mugging.
Have a Meeting Spot
Traveling with a big group can make it hard to keep track of everyone. Before heading out for the day, set a meeting spot in case anyone gets lost. If someone notices a group member is no longer in tow, everyone can head to the meeting spot and find each other quickly and easily.
Pack “Go Bag” Emergency Items
A “Go Bag” keeps all the essentials you might need if you have to leave your house quickly, like during a disaster or emergency. While you don’t need to bring your whole go-bag on vacation, you should pack a few of the most essential items for the trip. Here are a few suggestions from Putting Together the Ultimate Go-Bag: The Essentials:
- Tactical knife (road trips only)
- Battery operated flashlight
- Extra batteries
- Waterproof matches
- Small first aid kit
- Water sterilization tablets
All of these items can fit in the side pocket of one of your bags. If something goes wrong while you’re in an unfamiliar place, you’ll feel more at ease knowing you’re prepared. You can also purchase a small emergency kit that comes with many of these items.
Follow All Local Warnings
This is especially important on beach vacations, with unfamiliar water and weather patterns. All beaches are different, so even if you live near one at home, take note of signage about currents, swimming areas, and lifeguards on duty.
Travel Insurance Review explains the basic flag warning system that consistent acros most of the U.S.:
- Double red flags: Don’t even think about going in or near the water; it’s too dangerous.
- Red flag: Dangerous conditions and you should stay very close to shore and be prepared to leave the water in an instant.
- Yellow flag: Moderately dangerous conditions, but strong swimmers can venture out farther.
- Green flag: Mild ocean conditions. It’s safe for all levels of swimmers.
Check with the hotel or rental about other warnings about the local area. There may be places that visitors are advised to avoid, etc.
Store Credit Cards and Cash in Different Places
If you get mugged, and all your money was in one place, you’re about to fight a tough, uphill battle. Eliminate this possibility altogether by spreading out your financial assets. Split all cash and credit cards between yourself and your spouse, or other adults on the trip. You can also keep some in a locked room safe or money belt.
Vacation safety is paramount, yet easy to forget about in the excitement of prepping for a big trip. However, preparing for an emergency is not only important, but it reduces stress while traveling—if something goes wrong, you won’t be frantically running around trying to find paperwork or extra batteries. In the end, when you know these important details are taken care of, you can sit back, relax and enjoy the vacation you deserve.
Images courtesy of Unsplash.
Author: Jessica Thiefels https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicathiefels
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