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Vacation Planning and Safety Tips

A safe trip is the only way to travel

Every year families across the country anticipate vacation time. Taking a traveling vacation can be exhilarating, educational, adventurous, and an unforgettable bonding time for family members; however, nothing can ruin a vacation or road trip like poor pre-planning and being unprepared for emergencies. Whether a vacation is by air or car, arrangements and safety procedures must be established and followed, especially when children are passengers. Following a few simple planning and safety tips may help avoid catastrophe so the trip can be enjoyed by all.

Air Travel

Airline travel doesn't have to be chaotic. Although the last eight years have brought strictly enforced security procedures, complaining about it is useless. Follow the rules; they have been implemented for the safety of the passengers and crew.

  • Travel packages are available online that offer affordable family vacation deals on airline tickets, hotels, and a rental car, if necessary.
  • Once the flight is booked, print boarding passes online to avoid long lines at the airport.
  • Arrive at the airport two hours before flight time; going through security screening can take quite a long period of time if multiple flights are scheduled.
  • Always check with the TSA web site to retrieve a list of allowable luggage items.
  • Tie a ribbon around the handle of each piece of luggage or apply stickers to the side so each bag is easily identifiable. They all look the same on the luggage carousel and luggage can be picked up by anyone.
  • Never leave luggage unattended for any reason.
  • Although security is ever present, never leave a child alone in an airport to watch luggage or for any other reason.
  • Keep an eye out for suspicious activity by anyone and unattended bags. Report this activity to a security guard immediately.

Road Travel

Travel vacations by car are the choice of many American families. Combining the educational aspects of historical sites and landmarks with recreational activities such as hiking and fishing can keep all members of the family occupied. However, traveling by car can present some difficulties and road emergencies.

  • Schedule the vehicle for a full service checkup before the road trip; have the serviceman check the spare tire for proper inflation. Better to be safe than sorry if a tire goes flat and the spare is not inflated.
  • Check the seat restraints in the vehicle and make sure they are in proper working condition.
  • Several internet sites provide a trip planning service at no charge. These sites will provide information such as the least complicated routes, motels on the route, and local attractions in each area. Take advantage of this free service. Spontaneous travel can be exciting, but when children are along, child safety precautions must be considered. Always carry an updated Atlas as an additional guide.
  • Check possible road construction areas and the weather report the evening before the next day's travel begins. Flash flooding and severe weather can occur in the summer months and be extremely dangerous for travelers. Pillows and blankets come in handy when road delays are lengthy.
  • A first aid kit is a must for minor injuries. Be sure to check the kit and know how to use the items.
  • Water is always a necessity, not only if the car overheats but if road holdups are lengthy and the weather is hot.
  • A road emergency kit should also be in the car trunk, not only on vacation, but all the time. Most kits contain items such as: jumper cables, tools, road flares, flashlights, tire gauges, batteries, matches, and other emergency items.
  • Cell phones are not a luxury on a road trip; they are a necessity in case of an urgent situation. Keep the phone charged and know the company's coverage area.
  • Charge cards and/or travelers checks are the way to pay for expenses along the way; leave cash at home. If possible, take two credit cards, one card to carry and one to hide in the vehicle, just in case one becomes lost or stolen.
  • People can also be road hazards. Be aware of the surroundings. Take notice if another vehicle seems to be following you, stopping when you stop, and waiting around. Get the license plate number and report it to the State Police if it continues.
  • We all feel bad for hitchhikers in the hot summer, but never, never stop. Criminals have also been known to fake car trouble. Take note of the mile marker and notify the State Police of the stranded car.
  • Keep road rage under control. It is impossible to know who may be carrying a weapon.

Vacations, especially with children in a vehicle, can be irritating enough just dealing with the quarreling and boredom. Add some road closures or emergencies, and a fun time can become a nightmare. Efficient travel planning will eliminate the worry of dealing with unexpected events.