As students get ready to travel, there is more to consider than what bathing suit to pack. Here are some useful tips to prepare you for a seamless vacation.
Lock it up
Many hotels, condos, or hostels don’t have “in-room safes”. Put your passport, cell phone, tablet, and extra cash in your luggage when you leave your room. Use a small combination lock to secure the zipper so you have created your own “safe”.
When you need extra cash select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations. Look around for lurking strangers before you begin the transaction.
Secure pockets are priceless
Prevent the loss or theft of valuables like wallets, passports, or phones by wearing clothing with pockets secured by zippers, button or Velcro. Men should keep wallets in a front pants pocket, vest or coat pocket. Ladies, if you carry a small purse, keep it zipped shut and wear it snuggled tightly against your body. Limit the amount of cash and the number of credit cards you carry and keep them in separate pockets. My favorite travel vest has 17 secure pockets .
Drugging occasionally occurs in bars. Always open your own drinks, watch the bartender pour your drink, don’t leave it unattended while you go to the restroom or to dance and only take drinks from a close friends (not a new acquaintance). Rophynol, the date rape drug, is odorless, tasteless and colorless. It is a tranquilizer that can be slipped into your drink by someone who would like to have sex with someone who is heavily sedated. If you are at a party, don’t accept a glass of punch unless you trust the host. Overall, avoid using alcohol and other drugs to excess. Switch between alcohol and water. Impaired judgment can put you in potentially dangerous situations.
Safety in numbers
Practice the buddy system. Select a friend on the trip that will watch your back and vise-versa. Promise each other you won’t leave a bar or party without them. Avoid going off with strangers and never go to their apartments.
Use your city smarts. When you get to your destination find out what are the safe and unsafe neighborhoods in town. If you feel something is off, wrong, strange – get out, move on, flee, scream, whatever is appropriate. Do it quickly.
An App to help you out of a tight spot
A new mobile app transforms your smartphone into a free personal security system (aka personal bodyguard). With just a click of a button, you can transmit video, audio and GPS to your selected friends and family so that they can hear, see and track what’s going on. They can alert authority if you can’t.