Nothing defines the summer season better than the ultimate vacation. In 2009, U.S. residents logged 1.5 billion trips for leisure purposes and most often traveled to visit relatives, shop, visit friends, sightsee and visit beaches. When the kids are out of school and the weather is warm, airports and highways are packed during the months of June, July and August with travelers eager to reach destinations more exciting, fun or relaxing.
Preparing for an upcoming vacation requires a good deal of planning. We put a lot of thought into where we'd like to go, how we'll get there, where we'll stay and what we'll do. In the midst of making those preparations, however, remember to plan for your safety as well. While vacations are meant to relieve stress, they often include traveling to unfamiliar locations and situations that can place you at greater risk of injury, illness or crime.
To help make your next vacation worry-free, follow these simple travel tips:
Tell a trusted friend. Make sure someone knows where you are going, the route you plan to take and when you plan to arrive and return. Give them the phone number of the place where you are staying and your cell phone number so they can contact you in case of an emergency.
Route it out. Know before you leave the route you plan to take. Make an itinerary and include contact information for the airline and rental car company. If you're driving, identify safe places to stop for a meal or to stretch your legs about every two hours.
Action plan for emergencies. Pack a basic first aid kit and copies of important paperwork, especially for international travel. If you're traveling with children, make sure they know what to do if they become lost or separated from you.
Vigilance is key. Educate yourself on the area before you head out to explore. Always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Exercise caution when discussing your vacation plans. You may be making polite conversation when you talk to neighbors or co-workers or post on social networking sites about your vacation plans, but remember that you are also advertising that you won't be home for a specific length of time.
Lock it up. Keep your valuables safe by locking up your house and leaving the key with a friend, not under a doormat. When you arrive at your hotel, ensure that the door to your room can be adequately secured. Do not leave valuables in plain sight in your rental car.
Follow these simple tips to keep you and your family safe this summer and create positive memories of your vacation. Safe travels!
For more information on safe summer travel, visit the U.S. Travel Association at www.ustravel.org/sites/default/files/page/2009/11/USTravelAnswerSheet.pdf.