5 Tips for Having a Totally Fun and Safe Vacation
Taking a vacation should be a relaxing and exciting occasion. You certainly do not want to end up in a situation where you come home after taking a holiday only to find that now you need a vacation to recover from your vacation. You cannot obviously account for everything that could happen during a vacation, but with a few of these tips you can hopefully reduce the chances of anything happening that could spoil the fun you should be having.
1. Reserve living and travel accommodations ahead of time and have a backup
Deciding to just “wing it” when you get to your destination may sound like a great idea to make your vacation interesting, but in practice it can be disastrous. Not arranging for transportation from the airport to your hotel could leave you stranded or in a situation where a cab driver may take advantage of you. Not reserving a hotel room ahead of time can leave you out on the streets after finding that every room within 40 miles has been reserved for a convention that just hit town.
There’s nothing wrong with “winging” your daily itinerary and to-do lists, but at the very least plan out your essentials, and have a back-up plan in place in the event that something happens with your reservations. You might think that reserving a hotel room means it will be there for you, but hotels have been known to cancel reservations without notifying anyone. This also means making sure you have reservations for coming back as well, missing a flight because you couldn’t get a ride to the airport can be a very costly mistake.
2. Research your destination
Travelling domestically is usually very safe, you know what to expect in your own country, it doesn’t hurt to brush up a little bit and learn some of the specifics of where you are planning to land. This is especially important for travelling internationally as the laws and customs may be drastically different from what you are used to. The US Department of State’s travel website is a great resource for learning about the potential dangers of any international travel destination.
3. Keep your valuables secure
Your Passport, wallet, cellphone, and other high value items should never leave your person, at least before you get to where you will be living for the duration of your vacation. Leaving your wallet or passport in your luggage only to find out later that you left it in the back of the taxi is a pretty big mistake you will regret.
After checking in to your place of stay make use of any amenities such as a room safe to store valuables like a passport, if there are no safe storage options in your room then keep passports in the front pockets of your pants, this makes them harder to be pick-pocketed. If you can avoid carrying cash then keep a debit/credit card with you and use that for purchases. When you lose a wallet with $200 dollars that money is just plain gone, but a credit card can be cancelled and most credit companies offer some kind of forgiveness plan when mysterious charges begin showing up on your account. Along these lines, notifying your bank and credit card company about the dates you plan on travelling will keep them forewarned about any potential trouble you may run into.
4. Be aware of your surroundings
Tourists are ideal targets for most criminals. A tourist is someone that is likely unfamiliar with their surroundings and someone that may be too preoccupied with sightseeing to the point of being unaware of potential threats. Most criminals are opportunistic, and tourists provide great opportunities. Watch for people following you or acting suspiciously. Pickpocketing is very common in touristy locales, and pickpockets come in all shapes and sizes.
Stay in areas that are populated, avoid the urge to take shortcuts through shady looking places. For the most part, if you trust your instincts you can never go wrong.
5. Know how to find emergency services
Do your reading and find hospitals near where you will be staying and know emergency numbers to call, which, this is a given if travelling domestically within the United States, but different countries have different numbers for emergency services. Some of those countries may even have a particular number for a particular emergency, such as one number for the police, and another number for medical services.
It is also good practice to of course know non-emergency numbers as well. Not every emergency is a life threatening one, but being able to reach help is still no less important in a situation as this.
Of course, the most important rule on vacation is to have fun! Don’t take these tips as something that should scare you out of ever taking a vacation, they are meant just to help you be more aware. The best vacation you can have after all, is one that you return safely from.
Chris Jensen is a freelance writer and former life insurance adviser. He currently writes for GIO, an Australian life insurance provider.