When the vacation time finally arrives, the first thing on our mind is fun. A chance to get away from the hot, stuffy office, or from the winter blues and have some fun.
Exploring the vast world can be a great experience, but not every place is safe and not everyone is nice on the planet. A little pre-trip thought and a few precautions can help you make sure that your vacation will be safe and fun.
1. Arrange your home for maximal safety when traveling
If there are security systems fixed in your residence, you need to ensure that they are in good shape all the time. From cameras to motion detectors to alarms, check and double-check every single thing. Everything should be working well and in addition to this, put plans in place to ensure all works perfectly even when you are not around.
2. Make sure basic maintenance is done
Before you hit the roads, it is extremely important that your overall basic maintenance for the car is done. This means that tire pressure and tread depth have both been checked and confirmed to be at optimal levels. The wiper blades should also be changed, the battery should be checked and the windshield washer tank is refilled. Nothing should be left out, the oil should be changed and the brake pads must be checked.
3. Make an emergency road kit
Without a doubt, one of the biggest problems that travelers face when vacationing is car issues. You will surely not find it funny at all if your car ends up breaking down on the road in the midst of snow. It can even get worse in a situation where a tire bursts on the road as you are cruising along. In order to ensure this never happens, let experts inspect and maintain your automobile, especially the tires, which have to be in perfect shape at all times so as to function optimally under all conditions.
Get your emergency kit ready and it should contain important items like carjack, extra tire, jumper cables and others that can be of great assistance whenever your car breaks down on the journey. Another thing you should do is to have the first aid kit ready in terms of emergencies – this kit should also be in your vehicle.
4. Map your route
One of the smartest tips you can make use of is to coordinate your drive ahead of time. There should be meticulous planning for every stage of the trip. But that is not all, if you are traveling on a highway and you discover that it is closed due to maintenance work, accident or any other reason, you need to know all the alternative routes.
These alternative routes should also be mapped out well ahead of time. On how to beat traffic, the best thing to do is ensure your drive is not scheduled for the busiest periods of that route. To ensure you never get lost, it is advisable you make use of a GPS navigation system and you will always be able to retrace your steps in case you end up taking the wrong route or get lost for whatever reason.
5. Check on the weather
Since you will be driving, it is beneficial that you get to know what the weather patterns will be like. This will allow you to be properly prepared and not be caught unawares with changes in the weather. Follow the weather reports and plan your trip accordingly. The latest weather reports are often broadcast on local stations or one can make use of any of the several apps that are focused on weather.
6. Update your winter driving techniques
For those who will be traveling during winters, it is important that they update their winter driving skills. For example, there is the need to step up the usual following distance to about ten seconds instead of three seconds. To avoid skids, learn to step on the gas slowly when speeding up. But the most important step of all is to be calm and not give room for any kind of distraction.
7. Protect your valuables
Even though holiday periods are very exciting and adventurous times for everyone, it is also good to point out that it is also a busy period for petty thieves and other criminals whose focus is on preying on innocent and unsuspecting travelers. For this reason, you need to remain security-conscious and be wary at all times. Do not do things that will make you become a target for these thieves. That is not all, you also need to make a conscious effort to secure your valuables and other items in an area they cannot reach easily.
8. Have the necessary medicines with you
The human body can be very unpredictable and the same thing applies to the new area you are traveling to. You can never be too sure of how your body is going to react to the new environment you are going to. Therefore, it is important that you travel with the relevant medicines with you so you can take them whenever needed. However, this does not mean you should go on a spree of self-medication. It is better than you consult with your doctor or physician first and they will be in a better position to advise you on the exact type of drugs or medications that you need to take while on your trip.
This tip is even more crucial for certain people like those who have to manage disease conditions like hypertension or diabetes. Such people need to go about all the time with their medications and for this class of people, it is also important that they are aware of the generic names of their drugs. This becomes very helpful in cases where the drugs are misplaced, lost or even stolen. The generic name is important because if you are traveling to another region, state or country, the same drug is likely to have a different brand name. For those who have allergies, it is important they travel with their medical alert bracelets and their Epi-pen kits.
9. Keep the kids busy and safe
For those who will be traveling with children, it is always a good move to plan on how they will be kept busy and safe too. Also talking of the kids, make sure that they are aware of their home address and other important details like a telephone number. If you will be going through airports or train stations, show your children where they can get help if they need for such arises and coach them properly on how to relate with strangers.
By keeping your kids busy, they will not distract the driver in any way, thus making the trip more enjoyable. Interesting games and books are some of the tools often used to keep the children engaged and busy.
10. Keep photocopies of your documents
In addition to you having your original copies of your documents with you, keep photocopies in compartments of your luggage as well. This can be of great help in a case where the original ones are damaged or missing and you need to quickly make use of the copies. Some people also keep digital copies of their documents on their phones and that is also another helpful tip.
11. Go with a cell phone and charger
As a result of the fact that you can never predict when your car will develop a fault, it is good thinking that you have your mobile phone with you at all times. A phone can make all the difference between life and death, especially during dangerous moments. With your phone with you, you can always place calls for help or any kind of assistance that you might need with your vehicle or even call a taxi in case your vehicle totally breaks down.
However, taking your phone alone is not enough as you also need to go ahead with your phone charger. This is needed to ensure your phone battery is always full. If you are going to be making stops, you might consider a wall charger. In a case where you will be on the road most of the time, then a car charger will be a better option. It is also a wonderful idea to have safety apps on your phone so that if you ever find yourself stuck at any time, you can get the necessary help and assistance.
12. Keep the luggage as light as possible
For some weird reasons, there are some people who are fond of traveling with excessive luggage. They carry so much you will wonder if they are moving their entire residences or just going on a trip. You should always endeavor to travel with as little as possible as far as luggage is concerned. This has its advantages, one, you are able to move around swiftly and easily, with no huge luggage slowing you down. Also, in cases where you need to escape quickly from an area may be due to an emergency or whatever the case, you are able to move easily with no hindrance. Thus, resist that strange urge to pack too much for your trip. Remember to always travel with just what you need and nothing else.
13. Take a break every two hours or 100 miles
Taking some time to rest is very crucial and this is particularly true when you are driving during winter seasons, you get tired easily. Thus, it is important that every couple of hours, you stop just for you to have some time to rest your legs or re-energize your body so you do not get drowsy or even too weak to drive. Taking regular breaks to refresh yourself is always a very good idea.
14. Stay hydrated
Even though many people may not even consider dehydration as a safety problem while on holiday travels, not getting enough fluids can lead to tiredness and this can have devastating consequences on the road. In order to ensure that this never happens, store some bottles of water in your car and drink from time to time as you enjoy your journey. Water is the best-recommended fluid to stay hydrated while going on trips. It is important to point this out because some may think they have to be hydrated by taking alcoholic drinks like beer or even yogurt or fruit juice. Only water is recommended as the best choice to remain hydrated at all times while traveling.
15. Clean your hands regularly with soap or antibacterial hand sanitizer
This is one very useful tip particularly for those who are having their trips by aircraft, bus or train. This is because these are public forms of transportation and practically everything that you are going to lay your hands on has been touched by so many people. These people can carry and harbor different types of germs that you can then pick up simply via touch.
Some of these pathogenic organisms can land you in the hospital with very serious diseases. Prevention is always better than cure so it is advisable that you wash your hands regularly with soap and water. You can also do the same with antibacterial wipes or gel and this is a ritual you must perform before your hands come in contact with your face.
16. Let a friend or family member know your travel itinerary
You need to pay very close attention at this point. Make sure that before you depart, hand over details of your itinerary and all the relevant contact details to a loved one, friend, colleague or family member. Once this is done, it will not be difficult to reach you whenever there is an emergency at any stage of your travel.
Documents that you can hand over to your loved ones include copies of your credit cards, passport, government identification card, welfare card or any other form of identification. This is important so that in cases where there is an emergency and you need to make use of the copies; they can always get it for you with no delay. If it is what you can do, ensure that a loved one or relative also has the phone number of the local embassy of your country.
Additional Tips for Travelling
Keep the Jewels at Home
It is really not a good idea for you to travel with very expensive and valuable items like gold, diamonds and other jewels. There is really no need to go with them. As a result, it is important that you keep them at home so you are not made a target of robbers. In the same vein, do not travel with costly electronic gadgets like digital cameras or tablets. There are far cheaper options that you can go for and get the same results.
Gauge the Risk Level
If you are going to travel to an area that is particularly dangerous or the trip is going to pose a significant risk to your health, then you need to get the relevant medical insurance documents. You should take care to plan all this properly as there may even be the need for emergency medical evacuations. If you are not sure of the level of the risk the trip will pose to your health, then you can discuss the issue with your healthcare service provider and they will be in a very good position to advise you on how to go about it all.
Rent with Caution
In cases where you have to rent a car, ensure that you do so from companies that have a reputation for excellence and superb customer care. Do not rent cars from just anywhere and when you find a good company, take time to read the agreement first before you sign.
Single Parents with Kids
Depending on the laws prevailing in each country, single parents who are traveling with kids may have to show extra documents before they can be allowed to travel with the children. In many countries, the single parent will have to show a signed letter of permission from the second parent authorizing and confirming the claim of the single parent. This is often the standard procedure, especially at the airports. You will be stopped at the airport if you are not able to provide the relevant documents showing that you actually have the right to take the little ones with you.
Hook up with your Government Agency
Get the details of the embassy office of your nation in the country you are traveling to in case you are traveling to another country. This step can be very useful in situations where you may need quick assistance, as it often occurs with emergencies.
Holidays are meant to be fun and the time for optimal pleasure. They do not have to be laden with risk or danger and in order for you to ensure this is the case, all you need to do is follow these useful holiday travel safety tips.