The Safest Ways to Travel
The first day of spring has come and gone, bringing with it the anticipation of warmer weather, the great outdoors, and above all, vacations! This time of year, people around the world are sitting down to plan their next opportunity for rest and relaxation.
While it can be easy to become caught up in the excitement of going someplace new, don’t forget to think about one of the less glamorous, but no less necessary, aspects of travel: safety.
Don’t Advertise Your Vacation Until You’ve Returned Home
Advertising your prolonged absence on social media will alert enterprising acquaintances and friends-of-friends to your unmonitored home. They now know that if there were ever a time to rob you, this would be it! Avoid posting your plans or generally bragging that you’ll be away, especially if it’s going to be for a long period.
Consider a House Sitter
Young family members and neighbors, tired parent friends, and anyone else looking for some time to themselves may jump at the chance to stay in your space for a week or two. If you’re willing to let them use the amenities, invite someone you trust to have a mini-vacation at your house in exchange for doing things such as grabbing the mail, feeding the cat, and generally making it look like someone’s around.
Don’t Advertise Your Vacation Address While Away
It’s especially important to keep this information out of the hands of people you’ve just met. You might want to make plans with a couple you met at a restaurant, or maybe invite that cute stranger you met at a dance club back to your place. However, this makes you vulnerable, particularly if you’re staying alone. At least at the beginning, it’s better to meet new friends in populated, well-lit places. If you’ve met someone a few times and feel comfortable sharing your location, try and back that intuition up with an online people search at a site like PeopleFinders.
If someone you feel uncomfortable with already knows your location, such as your Airbnb host or a nosy neighbor, perform a quick criminal records check to try and see if you have real grounds for discomfort.
Ensure a Few People You Trust Have Your Travel Itinerary
On the flip side of keeping your address private, make sure a few close friends or family members back home know where you plan to be. Check in once a day, too. That way, if no one hears from you, they know to worry and how to follow up on your whereabouts. This is especially important if you become lost on a hike, or if something far more nefarious occurs. In both of these situations, it’s good to know someone will be looking for you sooner than later.
Exercise Caution When Exploring
Now that you’ve read about ill-advised hikes and nefarious deeds, consider how to avoid danger. Not to say you shouldn’t have adventures while on vacation. But when you’re in a strange place, it’s best to not stray too far from the beaten path. Don’t explore strange locations where you could become lost or end up in the wrong part of town. Stay in areas where there are plenty of other people nearby.
Know Local Procedures for Natural Disasters
Research what kinds of natural events occur in the place you’ll be visiting. Your destination country’s embassy may have this information. Or, if you’re traveling domestically, a quick Google search can do the trick. Are you headed out to the U.S. Midwest? Check whether you’ll be in the middle of tornado season. Is your destination along the Ring of Fire? Check procedures for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis.
Make Sure You Know the Local Emergency Numbers
If you’re traveling abroad, make sure you know who to call in the event of an emergency. For example, in the UK, you’d call 999. In Japan, you’d call 119 for fire and ambulance, but 110 for police. In Brazil, you must choose between three separate numbers for police, ambulance, and fire.
This study in the Emergency Medicine Journal on the relationship between distance to hospitals and patient mortality in emergencies clearly indicates that time is of the essence in an urgent situation. The seconds you spend calling the wrong emergency number could mean the difference between life and death.
Basically, plan for the worst and hope for the best! Taking extra precautions now could pay off huge on your vacation; it could literally save your life. Even if nothing bad happens, knowing that you’re prepared will help you sleep better at night, which is essential to a truly restful time away.
Image attribution: anetlanda – stock.adobe.comTags: Safety Tips, Travel, Vacation
Categorized in: Safety