Travel Safety – the big story this summer

Amid recent stories of crazy bus driversassaulting lyft drivers and multiple travel advisories – are we being put off travel? Are there any precautions we can take to avoid these situations? This month alone – stories have hit headlines such as that of a Peter Pan driver allegedly locking a woman inside a luggage compartment, sexual assaults being filed against the popular ride sharing app lyft as some serious travel advisories post deaths in Mexico, DR and San Juan and recent shootings in the US. So whether you’re headed overseas or on a road trip, take a look at these tips to make sure you enjoy your getaway in the best way possible.

1. Check for Travel Advisories

Keep yourself up to date with what is going on in a destination and be sure to vet reviews of resorts and destinations to know your risks of traveling there. Especially when it comes to international travel, it’s important that you really do your homework on the areas you plan on visiting. Check the State Department’s travel advisories which have specific posts for each country around the world. Recognize that conditions change rapidly so make sure you check more than once. Along with your travel advisory research, make sure you know and understand the different laws and regulations for your destination.

2. Careful what you ingest

Be adventurous but also sensible with what you ingest or drink in another country (especially medication) and if you have any doubts stick to what you KNOW is safe. To ensure you’re not ingesting any liquid that has been packaged under poor or unhygienic conditions,- turn the bottle upside down and see how the bubbles rise. You should never drink any beverage that contains unidentified particles or sediment. Also if  the price seems too cheap to be true, it probably is – be mindful of cheap, discount products. 

3. Have Emergency Contacts at Home

Once you have a travel plan in place, make sure to tell a trusted friend, relative, or neighbor and leave your schedule with them. This is an important safety step, especially if you’re traveling by yourself. Make sure to check in often to let them know where you’re going, if you change your plans, and when you reach your destination. That way if you don’t check-in, they know that something has gone wrong.

4.. Purchase Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will be your saving grace for those unexpected moments. From lost luggage to medical coverage, travel insurance is an important element for safe travels. There are various plans you can purchase that will meet your specific travel needs. A great reason to obtain coverage is, for example, you need to cancel a non-refundable part of your trip, it can generally help you recover some of those costs.

5. Buddy Up and Be Careful Where You Go

As many of us know, staying in pairs or groups is much safer than being alone. Employ this vacation safety tip when you’re heading to the bars, using public restrooms in busy areas, or getting on public transportation. You’re sure to feel a lot safer if you stay with a buddy during these times. Crowds in unfamiliar territories and heavy visited tourist spots can also be subject to unfortunate events and inevitably susceptible to acts of terrorism or shootings in recent times – they also pose a risk of getting lost or split up from others you are traveling with. If you do decide to visit places like this, be sure to keep you cell phone charged, your personal items close to you and always assign a meeting spot to others should you get lost or something happen.

The best ways to save on travel

Taking a staycation isn’t the only way to save on travel costs this year. Whether you want to hit the beach, or see the sights in a city across the pond, you can have an amazing vacation without breaking your budget. You just have to know where to look.

Skip Hotels for Short-Term Vacation Rentals
Consider short-term apartment rentals; you can rent spacious apartments in central locations for the price of a hostel stay.

Shop ‘Mistake Fares’
Look out for mistake fares, which is when airlines accidentally list their ticket prices for far lower than normal, which can result in amazing deals, but you have to act fast. You can keep track of these mistake fares on Twitter, Facebook groups and forums dedicated to travel hacking.

Have Flexible Travel Dates and Locations
Be flexible – not only with dates — fly Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday — but times and airports. This is the best way to save on travel.

Know When to Book Domestic and International Flights
Remember, ticket prices are usually at their lowest 57 days before departure for domestic flights and 171 days before departure for international trips.

Stay in Your Connecting City
Sometimes it’s cheaper to book a flight where your destination city is actually the flight’s connecting city. If you aren’t sure how to book this type of flight, try Skiplagged, which finds these flights for you. If you’re going to try this tip, just remember to travel light.

Keep a Vacation Savings Account
Put a portion of each paycheck away, and watch it grow until you’re ready to travel — $100 per month for a year can pay for airfare almost anywhere.

Only Use Credit Cards for Free Miles, Baggage Check and Members-Only Deals
Credit cards are the budget traveler’s best friend and worst enemy. The right airline rewards card will shower you with free rewards points, free baggage checks and members-only deals. But, never borrow more than you can repay — otherwise, you’ll end up paying for your trip many times over.

Travel Concerns – Dominican, PR and Costa Rica

CLICK TO WATCH FULL VIDEO

Ultimately where you decide to travel is up to you – this isn’t only place things like this happen (for example – re the the incidents of methanol poisoning in Costa Rica, there have been other recent outbreaks in India, Norway Turkey and more) 

You cant let stories like this change your generalized view of a destination – but keep yourself up to date and educated as a traveler ALWAYS. Keep yourself up to date with what is going on in a destination and be sure to vet reviews of resorts and destinations to know your risks of traveling there. 

Be adventurous but also sensible with what you ingest or drink in another country (especially medication) and if you have any doubts stick to what you KNOW is safe. To ensure you’re not ingesting any liquid that has been packaged under poor or unhygienic conditions,- turn the bottle upside down and see how the bubbles rise. You should never drink any beverage that contains unidentified particles or sediment. Also if  the price seems too cheap to be true, it probably is – be mindful of cheap, discount products.

Check your health (screen) before you go and understand fully any risks both from your own previous health conditions and anything that you could come into contact with when there and react to.

Why you should travel with your children

I have recently learnt that traveling with kids, particularly young kids, is never easy. As parents, we need to re-think how we travel, and a lot of it is letting go of our own expectations of ‘the perfect trip.’ Instead of expecting perfection, we should just be as well prepared as possible and know that any hiccups will only add to the stories you will remember at the end of a trip.

So how does travel help our children?

Travel breaks down barriers and enhances connection. Travel also shows your children that though we all look different, we are the same. It is a great opportunity to teach our children about diversity in the world and interact and even make friends with children that come from different cultures, places and experiences. Travel is also an opportunity to leave behind the technology that feeds out childrens’ hands nowadays and reconnect with life, family and the world. If you keep technology and the news of the day to a minimum and enjoy each other’s company and conversation, you can teach your kids that the best things in life are free.

Travel broadens our perspective and enhances developmental milestones. Whether you travel to the next town or around the world, moving out of a comfort zone or everyday routine will enhance your family’s understanding of our world and the lives of our fellow citizens. Travel helps children experience a wide repertoire of sights, smells, sounds, colors, faces and languages from an early age. Travel opens up endless possibilities in their tiny minds and they become open and used to trying new things.

Travel builds character and helps kids become more adaptable and flexible kids. Traveling with young children exposes them to a new ‘normal.’ It allows them to be more adaptable to changing situations and be more flexible in their habits. They are used to sleeping in their beds, sleeping in prams, sleeping on an airplane seat, sleeping in a crowded shopping mall or outside, under a blanket. It also provides an opportunity to model what matters most – delayed flights, weather changes, poor service or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment, share resources, manage unexpected consequences and see the bright side of the occasional travel mishap.

Travel is inspiring and educational. Travel with young kids means exposing them and making them interested in geography, world maps and airplanes early on. They start to form a better understanding of their environment and the knowledge that it’s a big world out there. They are interested in learning capitals of the different countries they visit, and being able to look for it on a map.

Travel helps ignite children’s imagination. Travel encourages children to engage in creative play – skills that they develop during childhood. Feed your children’s natural curiosity through travel. Do they yearn to learn more about art, history or science? Whether you opt for magnificent museums, nature’s classroom or immersive experiences, expand their knowledge (and your own) by exploring new ideas and destinations together.