Summer is a time to be out and, for many families, on the road. Whether you’re planning a quick weekend getaway, spending the Fourth of July with your in-laws, or finally taking the kids to Disneyland this year, there are some things to keep in mind to ensure everyone’s vacation is as safe as it is fun.
- Educate yourself on common travel scams. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re too smart to be a mark. Scammers are crafty and they know how to hit all the right pain points. Before you pack up the car or book your flight, do some research on the scams that are popular right now. Be destination-specific and embrace your inner skeptic.
- Have emergency information on your person at all times. Obviously, no one plans on disaster striking while you’re on the road with your family, but it can and does happen. Do some advanced research of your vacation destination and have all the crucial numbers and information saved on a phone app and, if feasible, a small card. That way, if the unthinkable does happen, you won’t have to worry about looking up where to go next—that information will be handy.
- Get vaccinated. This is especially true if you’re traveling abroad. If you’ve visited your medical provider at all in the last few years, you know one of the questions you’re asked upon check-in is whether or not you’ve traveled out of the country recently. Disease and infection differ across the globe—a health concern that might not be a big deal State-side could be an epidemic elsewhere. If you’re uncertain whether or not you should vaccinate, call Advanced Family Medicine and let us know your travel plans. We’ll make sure you’re covered.
- If you’re traveling abroad, cross-reference the State Department Website. There’s a page for every country in the world on the US Department of State’s website. You will find there a list of all the known complications and possible dangers to travelers. That said, these lists can be exhaustive and alarmist, so don’t let yourself get warned off a destination you’ve had your eye on for years. Remember: just because something is possible does not mean it is likely; a little advanced planning and caution is often all you need.
- Consider travel insurance. Benefits include: emergency medical expenses, emergency medical transportation, baggage protection, trip cancelation/interruption—essentially, the answer to Murphy’s Law when it comes to vacationing. If you’re prone to pack your laptop, expensive photography equipment, or anything that has multiple zeroes on the end of its sticker price, travel insurance might be worth it just for peace of mind. And if someone gets sick or injured, medical costs is probably the last thing you’d want to be worried about. You can compare and buy plans online by visiting TravelInsurance.com.
- Itineraries are your friend. So you have a destination in mind and you’re ready to start having fun. Share your plans with a trusted family member or friend. We all want to think that someone will notice if you don’t check in, but people’s lives are busy and they might lose track of who’s supposed to be where. Entrusting loved ones with your itinerary helps keep you top of mind, and will ensure someone is paying attention to whether or not they’ve heard from you recently.
- A little mystery is a good thing. A caveat to the point above—don’t be too free with your travel plans. Posting on Facebook or other social media platforms, for example, isn’t always in your best interest. While you’re vacationing, be selective with whom you share information about your plans and lodging. And remember you can lie (yes, we’ll allow it) if locals or other tourists asks if you if this is your first time visiting your destination. The person asking might have nothing but good intentions or they might be looking to take advantage of you. Use your best judgment before yielding information to new friends.
Before you leave, make sure you swing by Advanced Family Medicine to pick up your new laminated info card. Each card bears Advanced Family Medicine’s email, website, and phone number. If you do find yourself in need of treatment while traveling, hand this card over to the medical team and request that a copy of your records be sent directly to us. That way, everything we have on file, including treatments and medications, is always up to date.
Stay safe out there!