It’s been a long winter and if you’re like most people, you’re plain tired of being cooped up inside and braving the frigid temperatures outside. Thank goodness for spring break! Whether you have kids and you’re counting down the days till you take off to warmer weather, or you’re a college student who is looking forward to catching a few rays on white sand beaches, there are a few valuable pieces of information that everyone needs to know before heading out the door.
Due Diligence Trip Research: Have you ever booked a trip and ended up disappointed upon arrival? Perhaps the five-star hotel you booked ended up as a “get me out of here” nightmare. Or, worse yet, maybe the area you thought would be safe gave you the heebie-jeebies. There are reasons you need to do your due diligence before you book your flight tickets and hotel. Remember to research the area surrounding where you will be staying. Have there been riots, break-ins or other violence in an otherwise “safe” part of town? Check local newspapers and be sure it’s an area worth traveling to. Additionally, map out travel routes to avoid getting lost, wasting gas or becoming stressed out.
If you are traveling overseas, be sure to obtain a country risk assessment from the State Department or FBI. Certain countries may have issues that you are not aware of. While you’re at it, familiarize yourself with customs and laws of the country that you plan to visit.
Money-wise: What’s in your wallet or purse? Chances are, if you’re like many travelers you have a few credit and/or debit cards and even store credit cards and check books. That’s a lot of personal information. Be sure you only take necessary payment forms with you when you travel to minimize the risk of identity theft. (If you have three credit cards, only pack one. Leave your store credit cards, checkbook, etc. at home.) During your stay at the hotel, be sure to always take your purse/wallet or other payment information with you wherever you go. Or, lock personal items in the safe in your room.
Social Speaking: Even if you’ve planned your trip down to the last detail, it’s always a good idea to let a few close friends or family know where you will be traveling. Be sure you give them the name, address and phone number of the hotel you will be staying at, as well as your flight itinerary and your personal contact information in case there is an emergency.
Shield Yourself: Most spring break travel plans include a fair amount of activity in the sun. While warm weather will be a much-needed relief for most travelers, don’t forget that sun exposure has its pitfalls. Stock up on sunscreen and be sure to re-apply it every few hours.
Just Plane Smart: If you are flying to your spring break destination, be “plane” smart. If you can, go crazy for carry-on bags and avoid waiting for your luggage. Be sure to pack activities for yourself and/or the kids that you can keep your mind busy on the plane ride. And, don’t forget to stay hydrated.
Safe from the Sickies: Even though the typical flu season runs through February the virus can remain active until May. Protect yourself from this and other airborne diseases while traveling by frequently washing your hands with soap and water and carrying hand sanitizer. Remember to pack basic over-the-counter medications (Ibuprofen, Pepto-Bismol, ointments and other crèmes) in case you become ill or injured.
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