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16 travel safety tips

Posted July 31, 2013 in Adel, Advice Column

Traveling can be quite an adventure and fun for the whole family, but it can also present challenges. Being prepared is a good way to ensure a safe trip.

Before you set off on your next weekend trip to the country or excursion around the world, here are a few tips to help keep you out of harm’s way.

Prepare before you leave
Protect your home. Take steps to make sure your home is safe while you are away.
Carry the minimum number of valuables. Expensive-looking jewelry and accessories can bring the wrong kind of attention.
If possible, travel with only one or two credit cards.
Talk to your doctor or health care provider. If traveling abroad, vaccinations may be recommended. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has extensive information on its website.
Copy important documents. Make and keep copies of your passport, driver’s license and credit cards.
Travel light. You will be able to move quicker and less likely to set your luggage down and leave it unattended.
Consider travel insurance. If planning a trip far in advance or one that is expensive, you may want to be covered in case of an emergency cancellation.
Bring a basic first aid kit. Include bandages, iodine, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, alcohol packets, motion sickness and diarrhea medicines. Make sure your prescription medications are filled properly and labeled accurately.
Pack a small flashlight. You may suddenly end up in the dark and find yourself in unfamiliar surroundings.
Check with your cellular carrier. Cellular providers offer supplemental services and plans so customers can use their cell phones outside the United States.

Stay out of harm’s way
Avoid being pickpocketed. Keep your wallet in your front pocket.  If carrying a purse or bag, wear the shoulder strap across your chest and walk with the bag away from the curb to avoid drive-by purse snatchers.
Remain calm if mugged. It is best to and give up your valuables.
Bring along updated photos of your children. You may need them in case you become separated.
Be discreet about personal information. Do not discuss travel plans, room number or any other personal information in public within earshot of strangers.
Do not flash your money or passport in public. You do not want to make yourself a target.
Stay away from stray cats and dogs. While they may seem friendly, they can carry diseases.
Steer clear of unmarked taxicabs. They are not licensed and can be dangerous.

Even though travel can have many challenges, don’t be overwhelmed when planning your next trip. A little common sense and good preparation goes a long way towards a safe, enjoyable journey.

Information provided by Eric Schepers, State Farm Insurance, 516 Nile Kinnick Drive S., Suite A, 993-3482.

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