Vacation Tips for First-Time Travelers


Vacations are supposed to be a fun, relaxing time to experience a new environment and get away from the routines of everyday life. However, travelers need to be prepared for common tourist threats before escaping to the mountains, hitting the beach, or jet setting to another country. Keep these safety tips in mind, so you can bring home good memories:

  • Before you leave – Arrange for someone to pick up your mail or have the post office hold it until you return. Leave a light on somewhere and park a car in the driveway to make it seem like someone is home. Copy every important document you plan to take with you (license, passport, credit and debit card numbers, etc.). Leave them with a trusted relative or friend.
  • Money matters – Never carry large amounts of cash on you. Use cards or travelers checks and carry a small amount of money for emergencies.
  • Sharks – Sharks rarely target humans, but many are moving closer to shore to seek their natural food sources. Unfortunately, humans can be confused for prey. There have already been several shark attacks off the east coast this summer. Avoid swimming at dawn and dusk. Never swim where others are fishing. Keep your pets on shore and use the buddy system in the water. If you are attacked, defend yourself by jabbing at the eyes and gills if possible. Get a waterproof case and keep your phone nearby at the beach to report an accident or shark attack emergency.
  • Boating – Boating accidents can leave victims stranded in the water. Know the laws in the area where you go out and always have a life-preserver within reach. If possible, keep a cellphone nearby in a waterproof case to make emergency calls.
  • Foreign countries – If you travel abroad, research the laws, customs, and culture of the society you will be visiting. Ask your hotel concierge to identify any unsafe areas and understand guidelines for traveling with children, pets, or individuals with special needs.
  • Excursions – You may have your heart set on an excursion during your cruise or resort stay. Make sure that someone knows where you will be and when you are expected to come back. Take the time to ask questions before activities like zip lining, parasailing, and skydiving. Thoroughly understanding the equipment and procedures can help you stay safe.
  • Bedbugs – You may be exposed to bedbugs, whether you travel domestically or abroad. If you do notice the telltale signs of bedbugs (small, itchy welts) or see the critters in your room, there are a few things you can do to decrease the likelihood of spreading them. Before you leave the hotel, hostel, or rental home, put all your clothing in sorted plastic bags for your journey home. At home, put clothes in the dryer on the hottest setting for an hour or two before washing. For peace of mind, you may want to contact a local exterminating company to check your home in the weeks after your trip.

With a few safety reminders fresh in your mind, you can head off to your vacation confident that you know what to do if something goes awry.

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