Summer is in full swing, which means many of us are either on vacation now or planning to be on vacation very soon. While summer getaways offer us a great chance to relax and unwind, it pays to be alert and prepared whenever we travel. Whether your destination is halfway across the world or within driving distance, here are five smart safety tips to protect you and your loved ones all vacation long.
- Stash your cash. Between pickpockets and hotel room burglars, it can be tricky holding onto your cash when youre on vacation – especially if you find yourself in a crowded foreign city. Instead of keeping everything in your wallet, stash small bills and credit cards in various shirt, jacket and pants pockets before you go out. Worried about someone stealing your money at the beach? Hide your bills in an empty tube of lip balm or a bottle of suntan lotion. Using empty toiletries for a piggy bank is also a smart idea if youre worried about someone breaking into your hotel room or rental car.
- Bring your own bottle – of water, that is. If you thought contaminated water was only being served in far-off locales like Mexico or India, think again. Trace amounts of radium-228, arsenic and lead have been found in the tap water of several US cities – including major vacation destinations like Las Vegas. Bottled water is always your safest bet when youre traveling, and usually tastes better than whatevers coming out of the tap. Dont want to take any chances? Consider investing in a water bottle with a built-in filter or purifier.
- Go digital. Make scans of your passport, ID, itinerary, and credit cards, and email them to yourself so you have digital copies in the event of loss or theft. Speaking of credit cards, don’t forget to call your credit card company before traveling internationally so youre authorized to make purchases on your vacation. Otherwise, you could be reported for suspicious activity – and denied access to your money in an emergency.
- Know where your local embassy is. If youre vacationing abroad, take the time to locate the address of your countrys local embassy – especially if youre going to a remote location with little to no phone or internet service. In the event of a pandemic, a natural disaster or political unrest, your local embassy will offer you protection and safe passage should you need to leave the country youre visiting. Your embassy can also help if youre the victim of a crime, run into legal difficulty, or lose your passport.
- Stay connected. Vacationing solo? Be sure to check in with family and friends along the way, especially if youre traveling abroad. Provide them with a copy of your itinerary, and encourage them to track your flights with an app like Flightaware, which will send them a notification when your plane has landed. And if you find yourself walking alone at night in a deserted area, keep that smartphone handy. Apps like Kitestring or Companion allow others to keep track of your whereabouts when youre in an unsafe or unknown area. For added protection, ring up a friend or family member and ask them to stay on the phone with you. If something happens, they can always call 911.