Travel Safety Tips
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Michele Pratt
Whether you travel to the next town, across the states, or internationally, there are some guidelines that will ensure a successfully safe excursion. When booking your trip planning is crucial. It doesn’t matter if you are taking an automobile, train, or plane - building in a plan will keep your trip running smoothly. When planning your trip, develop your itinerary and leave a copy of it with someone who is at home, so they can also keep up with where you’re heading in terms of time and safety.
If you are driving, check the weather and pre-determine where you will stop along the way to refuel, eat and answer emails or make calls. Stop in areas that are well lit with other travelers. Many of the rest stops along the thruway have signs that say, “If you see something, say something.” If more travelers paid attention to these signs, we would read less about visitors at rest stops and the crimes committed there. Look at the route you are taking and look for areas of construction that may delay your arrival time.
If you are traveling by train or taking a plane, check the schedule. I know looking at the schedule seems obvious, but the weather happening in other areas could affect your transportation. Arrive early at the airport or train station.
Stay focused. Travelers are often so consumed thinking about their next connection of their trip that they get tunnel vision focus and stop paying attention to their surroundings. Have you watched someone put their cellphone in the bin at security yet walk away and forget to take it? Have you watched someone leave their luggage unattended even though there are signs everywhere, and announcements telling passengers not to do so?
Before your trip, review the TSA regulations for prohibited items and any changes in procedures for going through security. Their website also provides helpful tips such as wearing as little metal as possible which will allow you to spend less time removing your belt in the security line. Even if your identification indicates you have TSA Pre-check, it may be unavailable, so plan your time and wardrobe accordingly. Wear shoes that are easily removable and wear socks; think about all the people walking through the security line and all the germs they are bringing in on the bottom of their shoes. Liquids under 3.4 ounces need to be put in a clear plastic bag. Medications and medical supplies should be separated from your other items. Recently, I observed TSA agents asking for all food items in any luggage also being placed in the bins.
Regardless of your mode of transportation, you should pack as lightly as you can. If you are weighed down by your luggage you will have less flexibility. If your luggage is cumbersome you may be struggling with navigating it and unable to catch the cab, train, subway, etc. You may be a target because you are preoccupied with the struggle that you lose focus of paying attention to the pickpocket thief that has spotted you. Always be aware of your surroundings.
When you pack your electronics ensure you have chargers and cords required for enough usage. If you are traveling where you will be without access to an outlet, pack a portable charger. You can’t use the Uber app if your phone is dead. If you enjoy listening to music or podcasts or books while traveling, make sure you aren’t so engulfed in what you are hearing that you miss your stop or can’t hear the flight attendant giving instructions.
No matter where you are traveling, try to blend in with the area and the culture around you. Look at what others are wearing. If you are going somewhere that is a different culture, research appropriate attire, and behavior. For example, tipping is often considered as rude in most countries. There is nothing worse than offending someone in their own country. If you find yourself lost or requiring information about your trip, seek out the hotel concierge or someone working in a store. If you are spotted as a tourist, you could be an easy victim. Don’t trust a stranger who invites you on their excursion. You don’t know that you can trust them. Be careful when dining out. There are some areas where you shouldn’t drink the water and sealed beverages are the preferred method, so you know that a drug hasn’t been added to your drink.
Proper planning, being vigilant to your surroundings and trusting your instincts will keep you safe while traveling. If you see something, say something and if something doesn’t feel right, give yourself a way out.
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