‘Tis the season for holiday traveling, but before you head out on your trip, there are a few things you should do to prepare. Whether you expect to be gone for one night or an entire week, go through this checklist with your family to ensure safe travels and stays for all.
1. Prepare Your Home for Safety While Away
If you have a security alarm or cameras installed in your home, make sure they are working and turned on before you leave. Otherwise, do the best you can to make your home looked lived-in while you’re gone, like leaving a light or two on a timer, leaving one car parked in the driveway, and having a neighbor bring in your mail and newspaper.
2. Prepare Your Vehicle for Travel
If you’re taking a road trip, make sure your vehicle is inspected and serviced before heading out. Double-check everything from your gas tank to your wiper fluid. And if you need to get gas along the way, try to time your stop so you can be at a gas station while there’s still daylight.
3. Bring an Emergency Kit
Whether you’re driving or flying, make sure your emergency first-aid kit makes it into your luggage. This kit should include items like:
- Gauze pads
- Antibiotic ointment
- Antiseptic wipes
- A splint
- Hydrocortisone cream
- Flashlight with batteries
4. Know Alternate Driving Routes
Plan your driving route ahead of time, and include an alternate route or two, just in case of road closures or treacherous weather. It’s also a good idea to have a designated co-pilot to help you with directions while you drive. If you’re traveling alone, use a hands-free navigation system.
5. Have Your Cell Phone and Charger Handy
In case of an emergency, have your phone and charger stored somewhere where you’ll be able to easily reach it. Of course, don’t use your cell phone while you’re driving. If you need to make an emergency call or text, pull over safely first.
6. Give Someone a Copy of Your Itinerary and Approximate ETA
Leave a copy of your travel itinerary and the names and addresses of your hotel or other lodging arrangements with someone you trust. They should also know around what time you’re expected to reach each destination along the way. Keep in touch with this person so they know you’re okay.
7. Wash Your Hands Frequently
Germs are everywhere this time of year, but especially in busy airports and rest stops. Wash your hands with soap and water frequently throughout the trip. If you don’t have access to clean water, hand sanitizer will do.
8. Carry Cash Separately from Credit Cards
You don’t want to keep all of your money in the same place, just in case someone manages to steal your wallet or purse. That way, you’ll still have means of buying food and getting around until you can cancel your credit card and get the situation under control.
9. Don’t Share Your Hotel Information with Strangers
Keep your hotel room and other personal information to yourself, even if the people you’re talking to seem harmless. And never leave your hotel key or card out in the open, where someone else could slip it into their pocket.
10. Avoid Using Alcohol or Drugs
Alcohol and drugs impair your judgement and make it easier for criminals to take advantage of you. If you are going to visit the hotel bar, limit yourself to one drink to avoid making a potentially costly mistake while under the influence of alcohol.
Wishing Everyone Safe Travels!
The Allegheny-Kiski Health Foundation wishes everyone a safe, happy holiday season, and that starts with your travel arrangements to get to your destination!