ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY, Ala.—It’s that time of the year when millions of Americans travel by road, railways, or air to designated locations. Although every travel mishap cannot be prevented, there are some preventive measures you can take to make traveling a little easier.
When traveling by car or truck:
- Check car and tires before getting on the road. Store a usable spare tire in the car in case you get a flat along with the proper tools to change a tire. Or make sure the number to roadside service is easily accessible.
- Map out your travel route in advance and avoid leaving home during heavy traffic periods.
- Charge your phone before leaving and store a car phone charger in the glove compartment.
- Pack items that you will need depending on the weather. For example, if you are traveling in snow, an ice scraper, shovel, and snow brush are handy items to store in your trunk. Also, pack warm clothes, a coat and a blanket in case you get stuck.
- Be sure to pack some healthy snacks and plenty of water.
- Beware of your surroundings during stops and do not let kids go to a restroom alone.
When traveling by train:
- Pack lightly in case you have to carry your luggage for long distances.
- Avoid traveling at night, especially if you have a long layover.
- Lock your luggage and secure it to an overhead rack with metal fasteners or straps.
- Sit in a lighted area and near other passengers.
- Store your money, credit cards, tickets and passport in a money belt that is RFID-protected. RFID stands for radio-frequency identification. Identify thieves use special gadgets to read credit card microchips.
- Listen carefully to announcements in case there are travel changes.
- Do not trust strangers to watch your luggage.
Airports have far more travel restrictions. The United States Department of State advises travelers to set up an account with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at STEP.state.gov. This site contains up-to-date air travel details, including advisories and alerts.
When traveling by air:
- Make sure travel documents such as passports are current for all family members.
- Visit the State Department’s Traveler’s Checklist page for important information.
- Leave home early enough to get through security gates.
- Notify your bank when traveling, particularly when leaving the country. Make front and back copies of credit cards and passports.
- Know how to reach your country’s embassy or consulate.
If you’re a digital junkie, be careful using public Wi-Fi spots in places such as airports. Software and other devices allow hackers to access your personal information or even hijack your accounts. It’s best to use a virtual private network.
Alabama Extension wants you and your family to be safe when traveling this holiday season. So, think safety first!