If you’re getting out of town for the holidays to somewhere warmer, you’ll need to think about a completely separate set of safety tips. Family vacations are meant to be full of fun, sun, and time together. However, travel is often a time rife with mishaps – necessitating flexibility, safety precautions, and a contingency plan in the event of an emergency. For families traveling for school breaks in the new year, following these travel safety tips can help prevent situations from going awry.
- Put House Lights on a Timer
Some of the top concerns during family travel have nothing to do with your destination and instead pertain to the home you’ve left behind: Robberies and break-ins. When homes go dark for days at a time, they become targets for skilled burglars who use light patterns as a tip-off that the owners of the home are away on vacation. To prevent your home from being broken into while you are out of town, install a reasonably-priced light timer that you can use to program your lights so they turn on and off at different times throughout the day.
- Tell a Neighbor and the Police
Another good way to protect your home while you’re out of town is to alert a trusted neighbor and the local police station about your planned vacation days. You can rely on your neighbor to collect your mail/packages, take care of house pets or plants, and call you with any strange happenings on your property while you’re away. Your local police can also cruise by periodically to keep an eye on your home and look out for any suspicious activity.
- Photocopy and Backup all Documents and Store in a Secure Folder
Before you leave for vacation, make sure all important documents have been photocopied and stored and backed up on an external hard-drive. Make sure you print a copy of these documents out to carry with you on vacation. You also want to take a photo of these documents to store on your smartphone in a secure folder that is password protected. You can use download apps to create such a folder. Documents you’ll want to make sure you copy include drivers licenses, passports, major credit cards, health insurance cards, and proof of car insurance.
- Make Good Use of the Hotel Safe
Once you are out of town, locate the hotel safe in your family’s hotel room. Usually, it’s standard that the hotel keeps it in a closet or drawer. Set up a password that your family members will remember easily. Get in the habit of leaving valuable documents, wallets, and electronics in the safe so you are protected in case your hotel room is broken into.
- Know Your Family’s Limits
The number one thing to keep in mind while traveling is that each member of the family should be in touch with their limits, and with each other. Nobody should try to push themselves on a vacation if they are sleep-deprived, sick, or unable to get through a long day. Instead, make health a priority – ensure everyone is eating regular, healthy meals and sleeping an appropriate amount each night. Consider purchasing travel insurance on flights and activities in case someone falls ill or is past their limits.
- Be Prepared for a Travel Emergency with a Travel Emergency Kit
Make sure you are equipped to deal with sick or injured travelers in your family with a home emergency kit or an auto emergency kit, which you can carry with you while you are out of town. You can buy one pre-made, or assemble the necessary materials yourself. Basic items your emergency travel kit should include are band-aids/gauze, medical tape, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, flashlights, a folding knife, fire starters, and a compass. It is also wise to include a paper map of the city you are traveling to.