The majority of people who take vacations do so during the summer—that’s about 59 percent of us. Regardless of how you plan to vacation this summer or where you’re going, avoiding injury and staying safe should be one of your biggest concerns. We have some ideas that can help you do so.
Safety While on the Road
Do you plan to travel by car? Keep in mind that drivers tend to do 10 percent more distracted driving during the summer and spend 15 minutes of every hour in a distracted state. Here’s how to limit distraction:
- Know where you’re going, so you don’t have to consult maps. Keep in mind that GPS and paper maps may not be accurate. Especially don’t follow GPS blindly.
- Leave your phone alone, or give it to a passenger to monitor if you must have it on.
- Don’t multitask. Driving is Job One.
- Secure children and pets so they don’t distract you, and bring along items to keep the kids entertained.
- Carry an emergency kit and supplies should you become stranded, including water, protein bars, and other snacks.
- Use the “teddy bear system” to prevent leaving kids in hot cars because you were distracted. Keep a teddy bear in the child’s car seat. When you put the child in the car, switch the teddy bear to the front seat where you will see it as a reminder. When you stop and remove your child from the car seat, put the teddy bear back in it until next time.
Getting There by Plane
Flying? Remember that a lot of other folks are, too, so it’s important to allow a lot of extra time to get through security during peak travel season. The TSA has the following tips:
- Be prepared to take off your shoes.
- Be familiar with the rules (such as the 3-1-1 rule for liquids) so you’ll know what to bring and what to leave home.
- Stay hydrated and don’t get “hangry.” Carry plenty of snacks for you and the kids. While you can’t take water through security, you can pack fillable empty bottles to use once you pass through.
- Mind your valuables when going through security, in the rest rooms, and in crowds. Pickpockets are everywhere.
At Your Destination
It’s easy to become preoccupied with fun things at a new destination. Keep your wits about you by using the following tips:
- If you traveled to another country, check the S. State Department’s web site for important last-minute information.
- Be careful when choosing ground transportation.
- Know the escape route from your hotel room.
- Know the emergency number if you are in another country. For example, it’s 999, not 911, in the U.K.
- Confirm all visitors to your room with the hotel desk.
- Always lock your passport in a hotel safe, but carry a scanned image of it in your phone.
- If you are at the beach or using a pool, know the warning signs of drowning. Keep your kids well-supervised when they are in the water. Drowning is an enormous risk with children. During the summer of 2017, at least 163 children under the age of 15 drowned in pools or spas. Nearly 70 percent of them were under the age of five.
- Use bug repellent to prevent disease from mosquitos and ticks.
- Don’t try to befriend wildlife.
- Never show off money or valuables.
A Last Word
We have some final tips for you:
- Leave a copy of your itinerary and your contact information with a relative or trusted friend.
- If your pets are not coming with you, plan ahead so that they are safe and well cared for.
- Check that your health insurance is in order in case of emergencies. If you are traveling overseas, travel health insurance for gaps in your regular coverage could be a wise move.
Finally, one more tip: if you’ve used the ideas above, relax and have fun!