You have booked your trip, arranged for your furbabies, stressed about your children, and thought about having your mail stopped and plants watered by a friend. There are a few more things you can do before you leave to ensure you have a calm experience and a safe trip.
- Passports- These should be taken care of early, not last-minute, if needed.
- Travelers’ cheques- These should be divided and stored in several safe places, if needed.
- Pre-pay for as much as you can- Checked baggage, parking at the airport, meal plans at your destination, rental cars, tourist activities, anything you can do to work your budget early and have no surprises, as well as carry less cash on your person and reduce fraud by using your credit card.
Know Your Rights
- Know your traveler’s rights, especially during busy travel times when overbooked flights and lost luggage are commonplace.
- Know the laws for Use of Force and Related Weapon Laws of all the states you will visit. Websites like handgunlaw.us are extremely valuable or find an app that you trust and download it to your phone.
Familiarize Yourself with New Surroundings
- Know the airports, roadways, and rail stations you will be traveling through. If there are delays or closures, you may spend more time there than planned figuring out Plan B. Knowledge of what options are offered could save you time.
- It may or may not need to be said, but… situational awareness, keeping your head on swivel, packing light, and minimizing risks of being a victim of crime are all things that should be on your mind.
- It’s a good time to review your family emergency plan, your universal action plan for your family that includes action words, safe words, and basic escape strategies for a variety of emergency scenarios.
Create a Specific Family Emergency Action Plan for This Trip
- If you’re driving and keeping a secured gun in the vehicle, ensure that the ammunition has been rotated within the last 6 months and that the gun is clean and functional. Check the batteries in your flashlights, too.
- Refresh your “Go Bag” with first aid and trauma kit, snacks, bottled water, travel blanket, and extra pair of clothes/shoes. When traveling in areas that have snow and ice this action item is especially important. Go Bags will be your lifesaver should you get stuck in a storm or your vehicle breaks down where help is not readily accessible.
- If carrying a purse or “man bag” make room for the above mentioned first aid and trauma kits. If you are going to carry weapons with you, it is only smart to carry supplies if case of an incident. You never know, you could be the one in need.
- Create an itinerary and leave one with anyone who may need to know your plans, especially for anyone who provides you transportation to and from the airport.
- Add important contact/emergency numbers to your cell phone directory. Don’t always rely on technology, so type out a list and carry it with you: airline, hotel, and car rental number, and your “in case of emergency” person.
- Discuss safety concerns about your destination. If you’re at a crowded location or national landmark, create a plan should the venue be targeted by domestic or international terrorists, even if you’re at the Happiest Place on Earth. If you’re at the beach or skiing in the mountains, discuss any natural disasters that may occur. Finalize your safety plan when you’re on site.
Consider Your Children
- If you are traveling with children be sure to have activity books, magazines, their favorite snacks, and child travel sickness medicine.
- Remind them of the rules of stranger danger and when it is ok to talk to a stranger for help if they need it.
- If the children are old enough or mature enough, give them a copy of the trip itinerary and emergency contact numbers.
Plan Ahead for Your Own Sanity!
Waiting to the last minute on any detail of your trip can leave your travel experience open to happenstance. The best advice from of our friends at Lone Star Medics is “drink water!”, and we at AG & AG add in: Make sure to rest during your trip, so you stay at the top of your game.