Over 85% Americans are expected to whip out their tan lotions and beach wear and head out for a vacation this summer. And most vacationers seem to feel that if they are going to be out in the hot weather, they might as well come back with a tan to show for it. So, it is no wonder that half of all these travelers prefer their sun with a healthy dose of sand and sea.
Although some chose destinations that are off the beaten path, nearly 40% go for popular tourist destinations. Also, a whopping 90% people prefer to travel by car. In light of these figures, here are the top summer vacation safety tips that will keep you, your family and your property out of harms ways.
Get your home ready for your vacation!
Don’t turn your vacation into an invitation for burglars. Did you know that 9 out of 10 home breaks-ins can be prevented if people burglar-proof their homes? So, if you want to keep anti-social elements at bay, this is what you need to do:
- Piled up mail and newspapers are a dead giveaway that the owners are not around. The simplest way to prevent this blatant announcement of your absence is to inform the local post office and the newspaper delivery man of your vacation plans and have them hold your mail.
- Ask your neighbors to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity while you are away.
- Although you may be tempted to let your friends know about all the fun you are having through social media sites, hold off the urge until you get back home.
- Lock up all the doors and windows, including the garage door and draw the curtains or blinds, so nobody can peep inside your home.
- A light timer would certainly be a good investment as it gives the perception of the house being occupied. But, do not leave the lights on without a timer. This will not only send your utility bills soaring but also look suspicious.
- You will be surprised at how many homes are broken into by using the spare key. So, either take it along or hand it over to a trusted friend.
- Switch off and unplug all electronic appliances.
- If possible, hire a landscaper as untamed grass in the lawn also signals the absence of the owners.
- Get a neighbor to park his/her vehicle in front of your home.
Getting ready for travel
- Regardless of how you are traveling, pack a first aid kit along. If you are going to be vacationing outside the country, carry your prescription medication along with the prescription if possible. Ensure that you have enough supply to last you through the trip and a few days more.
- Check the weather at your destination, including the forecast for the next couple of days, so you can pack your clothes accordingly.
- It is summer after all, so make sure that you don’t fall short of sunscreen.
- If you intend to drive to your destination, get the vehicle checked beforehand. Your pre-trip inspection should include battery, fluids, brakes, lights and tire checks.
- Because things can go wrong at anytime and anyplace, carry an emergency kit in your car that should include: basic hand tools, reflective warning triangles, flashlight with extra batteries, flares and jumper cables.
- You could be traveling to far off foreign shores or to the next town, but it is always a good idea to learn more about the tourist attractions that you intend to visit as well as the local customs and traditions.
- Book your hotel rooms in advance and check for client reviews online, so you know what to expect.
- Carry an ID card along when traveling locally and make sure you have two copies of your passport with you if going abroad.
- Right before you leave, take a family picture using your cell phone. This way you will have current photographs of all family members.
While on the road
- Take roads that will help you to keep your speed constant and bypass high traffic areas.
- The best time to start your trip is early morning when traffic is light.
- Keep your valuables locked safely in the trunk.
- When parking after dark, choose well-lit areas.
- Make sure everybody has buckled up before you get on the road.
- Kids can be many times more distracting than cell phones. Keep them entertained with video games, books and DVD players, so the driver can concentrate on the road.
- Children under 12 are the safest when traveling in the back seat.
- Take plenty of breaks and give yourself and your passengers a chance to stretch.
- Driver fatigue causes 100,000 accidents on American roads each year. So, if you are feeling tired, take a quick 20 minute nap instead of endangering your life.
- Keep extra water and hydrating snacks such as fruits and fresh veggies in your snack pack in the event of an emergency.
- Protect your skin with sunscreen and your eyes with shades even when you are in the car.
- Never leave your child or your pet in the car; not even for a few minutes!
If you are traveling by air, keep a photocopy of your ticket along. On journeys that are more than a few hours long, get up and walk around for a bit. If you don’t feel the need to do so, remind yourself of the pulmonary embolism episode that Serena Williams suffered.
Bet she is in better shape than most of us, so if this could happen to her it can happen to any of us. Also, keep your travel plans from the airport to the hotel ready even before you land.
If you are on a cruise, don’t take those safety briefings lightly. Keep your valuables and your room locked and always stay in groups on board and when on the shore.
At your destination
- Kids and water, whether it’s the beach or the hotel pool, can quickly turn into a disastrous mix if you don’t keep an eye out for trouble. Make sure your children are constantly supervised and always have their flotation gear on whenever they are near the water.
- Have a “what to do if we get lost” plan ready and discuss it with your children. Explain to them who they are supposed to reach out to for help.
- Do not wear flashy jewelry or carry expensive electronics along, particularly when traveling to crowded places and in foreign countries.
- Do not carry a lot of cash and if you need to use the ATM, do so during the day.
- If you are traveling to another time zone, don’t hit the sack as soon as you get to your destination. Instead, try to get into the local time zone.
Don’t let the weather work against you
- It is summer, so your very first thought when heading out, even if you are not going to the beach, should be SUNSCREEN. And, do not forget to reapply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours!
- Keep an insulated bottle of water along at all times to keep yourself hydrated.
- If you are going to spend any time at all in areas like hiking trails or even the local park, be ready for bug bites. The best way to keep the critters away is to use an insect repellent.
- Although you may be up for the adventure of trying the bizarre, local delicacy, your stomach may not be too keen. The best way to avoid food issues is to stick with familiar and safe choices.
Finally, try not to suffer from an adventure burnout! You are going on a vacation, which is supposed to relax and rejuvenate you. So, it would be pointless to come back exhausted from all the fun you have had.