Vacations are usually fun, but they sadly don’t always end that way. Let’s start with a bit of a morbid list: the top 10 causes of death for Americans on vacation:
As a silver lining, the vast majority of Americans will never have to deal with these kinds of tragedy during their travels. However, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t subject to other potential issues both during their trip and at home while they are gone. The vast majority of these incidents can be sidestepped with just a little planning and effort. Here’s how to put it together.
Safety Before You Leave
While you’re thinking about your fun trip, is anyone thinking about the safety of your home or apartment? This could mark a prime time for robbery, and criminals may take advantage if you make it obvious you are gone. For starters, try to put a stop order for mail and newspapers with your local post office. A pile of mail is an indicator that no one’s home. In the same mindset, don’t be in a rush to advertise all over social media that you’re going away. You never know who may be watching.
Sometimes, there are other ways you want to keep safe. For example, during cold months there is a real risk of pipes bursting, especially if you’re not around to shut off the water. Consider leaving a key with a trusted friend to make sure they check your faucets. You also want to make sure all that your appliances are unplugged before long trips to protect from power surges.
Safety While You’re Away
Depending on where you are traveling, it may be worth it to try and implement a little good practice in terms of protecting your money and valuables. While you may physically be okay if something is stolen, it can easily disrupt your entire trip and potentially lead to issues when you get home. For one, make copies of your ID and passport, and store them separately. Travelers abroad can make use of the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals. This allows them to enroll with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, which can assist during an emergency, such as a lost or stolen passport.
By the same token, be mindful of how your wallet is set up. Some people use “false wallets” to deter pickpockets, and there are other things you can do, as well. Make sure you only carry the cards you plan on using, and avoid unnecessarily flashing your wealth. Similar to social media at home, there’s no need to potentially set yourself up for a crime of opportunity.
Of course, you need to account for the possibility of having an accident on vacation, as well. This can occur due to a number of different reasons. For example, different states and countries have different traffic laws, and not being aware of them can lead to a potential accident. Combine this with the fact that many people take advantage of their trip with a little bit of recreation. While you can make memories to last a lifetime, there are also plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong. Here are a few activities that may require more thought for your safety before jumping in:
And this is only the beginning. To hedge your bets in this area, there are a few things you can do. Start by doing research on potential medical options, especially if you are traveling in an area where the standards aren’t up to most Western countries. Also have an emergency contact in case you are traveling alone and need emergency services to reach out quickly to friends or family.
The good news about this type of care is that you don’t have to let fear linger over your vacation. In reality, most of the work in this area is done before your trip even starts. Taking the time to invest in safety now will save you a lot of potential concern later. Just treat it as a step, the same way as you would with booking your hotel or planning out what attractions you will visit.