For millions of Americans, sandy beaches, warm, blue water and a break from work beckon this time of year. We know your trip can’t get here soon enough, but before you leave, be sure to pack the following safety tips for any trip style!
In the car:
- Take turns behind the wheel to ensure the driver is fully alert at all times. Designate another person to stay awake and assist the driver through unfamiliar territory.
- Remember to pack a map. Yes, that’s right – a paper map! Cell phones can lose their reception, and with it, their mapping services.
- If you’re traveling with valuables, be sure they’re well hidden before you head into a restaurant or hotel. Cover them with blankets or toss them in the trunk to disguise them from those passing by.
At the hotel:
- When checking into a hostel or a hotel, avoid stating your room number and other personal information out loud where someone with mal-intent could hear.
- When possible, book a hotel room above the first floor (which is relatively easier for criminals to break into) but below the sixth floor (which is too high for a fire truck’s ladder to reach).
- Store valuables (e.g., jewelry, laptops, or other gadgets) you don’t plan to immediately use in your hotel room’s safe. Just don’t forget them when you leave!
In the water:
- Use sun protection, but beware of “waterproof” sunscreens. Per the FDA, sunscreen is at best “water resistant” for 80 minutes. For long stretches in the water, opt for protective clothing.
- Stay hydrated by taking frequent water and shade breaks. Drink responsibly – alcohol can intensify dehydration and impair your ability to safely swim or participate in water sports.
- Always have a swimming “buddy,” especially for trips to the ocean. If you find yourself caught in a rip current, swim parallel to the shoreline until you escape the current’s pull.
- Familiarize yourself with the U.S. flag system for water safety:
- Red Flag: Stay out of the water. Strong undertows and rip tides are present.
- Yellow Flag: Be cautious in the water. Some undertows and rip tides are possible.
- Blue Flag: Water is calm – swim away!
- Research the country to which you’re traveling, familiarizing yourself with any relevant travel warnings (such as those at state.gov).
- Always keep your cash and credit cards in two places – keeping some in a safe where you’re staying and some on you. This way, you’ll have options if your money is lost or stolen.
- Be aware of local scams, which vary from country to country – for example, false petitions are popular in France, while counterfeit money is common in Hungary.
- Learn the customs of the country to which you’ll be traveling, as well as a few words or phrases in its language and the local equivalent to 911.
- Lost luggage, flight delays and medical emergencies can happen no matter where you travel. It helps to know you’re covered for the unexpected with a travel insurance plan. Many plans even include 24/7 travel assistance services which can take the stress out of your travel by rebooking flights and hotels (and much more!), as needed, on your behalf. Concierge services can even recommend top restaurants and activities to help you make the most of your trip.*
*Insurance offered by Travel Guard Group, Inc., a licensed insurance producer. This is only a brief description of the coverage(s) available. The Policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. Insurance underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA, a Pennsylvania insurance company, with its principal place of business at 175 Water Street, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10038. It is currently authorized to transact business in all states and the District of Columbia. NAIC No. 19445. Coverage may not be available in all states. Travel assistance services provided by Travel Guard.