Vacation Safety Checklist
Be prepared for the unexpected.
Whether you're traveling within the United States or leaving the country, it's always a safe bet to have a safety checklist for unexpected events. This can include, an injury, car accident, etc. It's always a safe bet to have a list to reference back to in case of an emergency. From my experience, this simple list will help you be better equipped and ready to vacation without worries.
Research nearby hospitals.
This is something you can quickly do and jot down on your phone or on a piece of paper before you take off on your trip. You should have it written down in case your phone dies, or, in worst case scenario, you lose it. A quick google search will reveal the nearest hospitals and where you could go in case of an emergency. This is especially important when you're abroad; knowing where to get help and the address will expedite the process. It's also important if you are planning on engaging in outdoor activities like skiing, hiking, biking etc.
Write down ICE numbers and contacts.
If you are traveling alone this is huge. If you are injured and unconscious, medical help will check your wallet and try to contact someone you know. You should print out insurance information, in case of emergency numbers, etc. and tape it in a place where someone can easily access it. Depending on your injuries, the faster they can contact your family or friends, the better. You can also set up your medical ID on a smartphone in addition to the emergency contact list on your phone. Here are quick instructions on how to add ICE to your cell phone.
Bring insurance card and other important medical information with you.
Injuries are common on vacation. No matter how minor they are, if you are traveling within the US, you have to bring your insurance card along. You should also have important medical information like allergies or any medical conditions. If you are alone and no one is there to speak for you, you should have that information handy for people trying to help you. Some common tourist injuries include, slip and falls, pedestrian accidents, drowning, and physical/sexual abuse. Personal injuries during a vacation could become a big inconvenience, even if you simply twisted your ankle. Avoiding the hospital because you don't have the proper documents is never the route to go, especially if your accident was caused by someone else.
If you are renting a car, it's also important to get insurance, or to at least have your own insurance information you can use. Car accidents are also a very common personal injury, and being protected will make your life easier if you happen to find yourself in that situation. I have known people who got into accidents and ended up having to hire an injury attorney to help them because they were out of state or encountered an unruly driver.
Pack important medicines and a first aid kit.
Bring a good medicine and first aid kit, and avoid having to take time during your trip to get additional medicine or band-aids. If you are leaving the country, this is also good to have, especially if you aren't familiar with the language. For example, in Mexico, I had a really hard time finding allergy medicine and had to take cold medicine instead, because airborne allergies are not extremely common, nor are medications sold in all convenience stores. In addition to the essentials that come in a first aid kit, you should consider bringing a personal whistle, bug spray, anti-itch cream, and a flashlight. If you are planning on doing outdoor activities, even if they are not too isolated, this could come in handy.
Share your itinerary with family or friends.
This is important no matter how far you go from home. Even if your itinerary is not hour by hour, it's a good idea to let your family and friends know about your whereabouts, and not just on social media. This is key for various reasons; you were on a hike, fell, and had no cell service, and when a loved one doesn't hear or see anything from you, they might check in and realize you went on a big hike that afternoon. They will know where to call, and contact someone to come find you.
As a woman, we are used to being extra cautious, especially when traveling to places we are not familiar with or outside the country alone. However, that shouldn't stop you from traveling the country or the world. No matter what gender, sharing your itinerary and general whereabouts could save you from getting into some serious and even deadly danger.