Having fun should be the top priority for your family’s summer vacation but being prepared and staying safe is also important. Being prepared can make the difference between an outstanding summer trip and a potentially disastrous experience. These safety tips for summer vacation are a perfect place to start when you’re making travel plans.
1. Take steps to burglar-proof your home before you hit the road.
• Don’t tell everyone that your family is going on vacation. Inform a trustworthy neighbor that you’ll be gone and ask them to keep an eye on your home. Consider asking local enforcement if they have a free vacation home check program.
• Skip social media posts before and during your trip – wait until you get home to post those travel pics.
• Stop mail delivery if you’ll be gone a long time.
• Lock your house, close the windows, curtains and blinds. Consider a light timer to give the illusion that you’re home.
• Don’t hide the spare key under the doormat – choose a unique place.
2. Be prepared for a medical emergency.
• Double check that adults have valid identification for regional and international travel (drivers’ licenses, state IDs, passports).
• Have digital copies of valid vehicle insurance and registration paperwork (if you’re on a road trip).
• Snap pics of medical insurance cards for every member of your family and keep on your digital device.
• Keep digital copies of itineraries, flight, and hotel confirmations.
• Have a small first aid kit packed in your luggage.
If you’re going international:
• Consider travel insurance with emergency medical benefits including emergency medical transportation.
• Get the contact information for U.S. Embassy and Consulate in the country you’re visiting and save it in your phone.
3. Get familiar with your hotel or vacation rental.
• Reserve a room above the first floor (there’s less chance of a break-in from the second floor up).
• Know the location of the nearest fire exits and stairwells.
• Keep the door lock and the safety bolt in place.
• In the hotel, use a safe to lock up any valuables.
4. Prepare for a safe road trip.
• Get your vehicle serviced before your trip (oil change, tires checked, etc.)
• Know (and follow) the rules of the road in the area you’re driving – different areas have different speed limits and other laws.
• Wear seatbelts every time your family gets into the car. Make sure child seats are installed property.
• If you’re going to tow a trailer or use a rooftop carrier, know your vehicle load limits. Remember that towing or carrying extra weight will change your car’s center of gravity and change how it rides on the road.
5. Be ready for the weather.
• Use a weather app with a 10- to 14-day forecast so you’ll know what to expect at your travel destination.
• Keep up with the weather forecast on a daily basis and be aware of flood, tornado and thunderstorm warnings – follow all official alerts and advice to keep your family safe.
• Prepare for hot weather: have extra coolant on hand for your vehicle on road trips and plenty of bottled water to keep your family hydrated.
• Make sure everyone is wearing sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.
• Try to find shade during the sun’s peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Pick up plastic ponchos at the dollar store and have on hand in case your family gets caught in the rain.