Spring break tips
On the go . . .
- Take turns behind the wheel. Rotating drivers can keep everyone rested with the added bonus of taking turns deciding on the music.
- Whoever sits shotgun should stay awake to keep the driver company. Two alert drivers are always better than one.
- Make sure everyone has a valid driver’s license and the vehicle registration and proof of insurance are in the car before driving off. If you are in a foreign country, know ahead of time if your license and insurance will be valid in that country.
- Take a map. These days everyone relies on their phones for navigation, but in some places, where service isn’t strong, you can lose that ability. Having a map is always a nice backup plan when on a road trip. There are just plain old maps. Do a search for the city you are travelling to. There are a number of apps on Google Play and in the App Store that don’t require an internet connection or GPS.
- Never leave valuables in plain view in your car. Lock items in your trunk before reaching your destination.
- If you are in a foreign country, take some time before your trip to familiarize yourself with basic road signs and rules of the road for that country. Travel books by Frommers and Lonely Planet are great resources as are your rental car facilities.
- If you are hailing a taxi, ask ahead for a typical price. This is especially important in countries where taxis don’t have meters. If there is no meter, you must negotiate the fee before you agree to the ride. The front desk of your hotel is a great resource to tell you how much a ride should cost.
- Before leaving your hotel, take a card from the front desk with the name of the hotel, phone number, and address, just in case you need help getting back. Also, put this information in your phone to be extra sure you have it.
- Calling a taxi is a better bet than hailing one. And at the airport, always use approved taxi services. Ignore people who approach you offering rides.
- All genuine taxis will have some sort of ID or badge. You can check for this before accepting a ride.
- Stay alert during any taxi, Uber, Lyft, etc. rides. Follow along on google maps or a navigation service, if you can, to ensure they are taking you the right direction.
- Keep your belongings together during a ride to ensure you don’t leave anything behind.
- If you ever feel unsafe, it is completely within your rights to abandon a taxi or any other ride service at a safe stop. Leave money behind on the seat and get out of there if you don’t feel safe.
- When using Uber or Lyft, you will see the driver’s name, license plate number, and photo on your phone when you request the ride. Check for a match when you ride arrives to be sure you are getting in the right car.
- Never get in a car with someone you suspect is intoxicated. There is always a safer alternative.
- The often crammed conditions of a subway or metro can be an ideal place for pickpockets to strike and is definitely time to up your awareness.
- If you are going to carry a backpack, consider getting a small lock for your zipper and keep the key in your pocket. Another theft reduction is to carry your backpack on your front instead of your back in crowded areas.
In hotels . . .
- When you check in at the front desk, use discretion in saying your room number out loud for anyone in the lobby to hear. No one outside of your group of friends needs to know your exact location.
- Reserve a room that’s above the 1st floor but below the 6th floor. First floor rooms are easier to break into, and rooms above the sixth floor are sometimes too high for fire ladders to reach.
- Choose awareness! Make a mental note of where the nearest fire exits and stairwells are located in case you need to evacuate.
- When you get to your room, check that all of the window and door locks are secure.
- Almost all hotels offer safes. Use them! This is a great place to store any cash or credit cards that you don’t want to have on hand when you are out of the hotel and any other easy to steal items such as Ipads, Ipods, jewelry, laptops, backup ID (DL or passport).
- Close your door tightly when entering or leaving your room. Some doors have a slow release and could remain open after you leave.
- Do not place ski gear, dive gear, or anything valuable on your balcony.
- Using the Do Not Disturb sign won’t prevent housekeeping from being able to enter your room, but will highly reduce the likeliness of that happening. If you are going to have housekeeping in your room, leave your valuables in the safe when you are gone.
At the ATM . . .
- Try to go the ATM in groups, but avoid getting overly complacent about safety just because you’re traveling in numbers.
- When you approach the ATM, do a full 360 degree scan, looking completely around you to see if anyone is hanging out where they shouldn’t be. If someone is creeping you out, go to another ATM.
- When entering in your pin number, use your other hand or your body to cover the keypad. Just because you don’t see someone watching you doesn’t mean there couldn’t still be a camera capturing what you type.
Be safe and enjoy your Spring Break 2018.