Even if you plan your trip or family vacation with military precision, traveling always comes with a certain amount of stress.
Not only do you have to make all the right preparations, catch Ubers, Lyfts, trains, and flights, and get to your destination on time…
But you also have to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the trip. Without the proper precautions, you could be putting yourself – and your family, if you’re traveling with them – at risk of running into trouble.
Below, you’ll find a list of common mistakes to avoid when planning your weekend getaways, cross-country road trips, or month-long vacations.
Whether you’re new to traveling or you’re a seasoned wanderer, this collection of “what not to do’s” includes some valuable travel safety tips that can provide you with peace of mind on your journey.
So, let’s get started!
1. Not Doing Your Homework
Nobody likes homework…
But when you’re planning on visiting somewhere you’ve never been, it’s crucial to do some research.
Nowadays, pretty much everyone has GPS on their phone. But just because you can search for whatever you might need once you get there doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your homework.
If you don’t study your destination before arriving, you could end up with poor accommodations, a lack of familiarity with the area, or even on the wrong side of town.
Before you leave, read plenty of reviews on the hotel, hostel, Airbnb, or other location you plan on staying at. If you know any locals, talk with them about the best (and safest) places to visit.
The more you know about where you’re going, the more prepared you’ll be to stay safe while you’re there.
2. Keeping Your Travels a Secret From Your Bank
If you live in Florida and your bank sees transactions popping up in Colorado out of nowhere, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a frozen account.
Now, this travel safety mistake is pretty easy to fix. All it takes is a quick call to the bank to sort things out. But that’s precisely why we put it on this list.
Usually, it’s the minor things that can slip through the cracks and come back to bite you later – especially if you’re in the middle of planning a big family trip.
So, don’t forget to give your bank a call and let them know your travel plans to avoid a lapse in service.
3. Failing to Put Aside Extra Money for Unexpected Expenses
Unfortunately, things rarely go as planned when traveling.
Flights get delayed or canceled. Luggage gets lost. Accommodations don’t live up to expectations…
Trips can get derailed in any number of ways. That’s why it’s so essential to plan ahead as much as possible – especially when it comes to your finances.
If you go without enough dough, you may find yourself in an unfamiliar place without any means of providing for you and your family.
Having a financial cushion can ensure you’re prepared for the unexpected if and when it does happen.
So, whatever amount of cash you need to make your travel dreams a reality, make sure to save up and set aside some extra just in case.
4. Failing to Copy or Backup Your Essential Documents
It’s always important to have your ID, relevant medical information, and other necessary documents with you when traveling.
But, naturally, bringing these items with you puts you at risk of losing them somewhere along the way.
If you don’t make copies of these all-important documents, you may be out of luck if they get misplaced.
A lost driver’s license can ruin a road trip, and if you have a pre-existing condition, losing your medical information card can lead to major issues in an emergency.
Before you go, make duplicates of whatever documents you need to bring with you. Store the copies wherever you’re staying, and take the originals with you whenever you’re out and about.
That way, if you lose them, you’ll have a backup.
You can also upload copies to Google Drive or Dropbox so you can access them from anywhere.
5. Forgetting to Check in With Friends & Family
The whole point of going on vacation is to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life.
But if you disconnect entirely and avoid sharing your travel plans with anyone, you rob yourself of a vital safety net that can look out for you if things go wrong.
Plus, it’s never a good idea to make mom and dad worry while you’re gone.
Whether it’s family or a close friend, make sure to share your itinerary with one or two people you can trust.
Let them know you’ll check in with them at certain times during your trip, so if they don’t hear from you, they’ll know to step in and help.
6. Traveling Too Heavy in the Wallet
Another common mistake travelers make is carrying too much money, cards, and other vital information in their wallets.
If you don’t do a little spring cleaning in your wallet or purse before your trip, you may lose a lot more than necessary if they get misplaced or stolen.
When you go on vacation, don’t put anything in your wallet or purse that you don’t need. If you only plan on using one credit card, don’t bring any others.
And if all you’ll need is your driver’s license, leave your passport and other identification at home.
Traveling with as light a wallet as possible can save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
7. Not Preparing Your Phone for the Trip
These days, our phones do everything for us. They help us get around, connect with loved ones, and provide access to emergency services.
But when we travel, their value multiplies.
It’s much easier to lose track of travel partners or get lost if your phone dies in an unfamiliar place.
And even if your phone has plenty of battery left, getting help in an emergency can take far too long if you’re out hiking, camping, or spending time away from civilization.
To avoid any phone-related mishaps, make sure to bring whatever chargers you need, including car chargers, plug-in wall chargers, and portable ones too (especially if you’ll be far from the nearest town).
Get Help FAST – Anywhere in the United States
For travel emergencies, the Rescu app is the fastest way to get help anywhere in the US. This mobile medical alert system bypasses the usually required conversation with 911 dispatchers, saving you valuable time in a crisis.
If you know where you’ll be staying during your trip, you can input the address into the app – as well as any relevant medical information and emergency contacts.
In an emergency, all it takes is two taps to dispatch emergency services to your pre-registered address. You won’t have to say a single word to an operator or worry about any delays.
And with the Rescu Prime subscription coming this summer, your phone can become a GPS medical alert system. So, if your family vacation takes you to a cabin in the Rocky Mountains, just two taps can alert the nearest emergency response center of your exact location.
How’s that for travel insurance?
Downloading the Rescu app is an excellent way to prep your phone for your next trip. Click below for a non-refundable ticket to peace of mind, and keep an eye out for Rescu Prime – coming very soon!