AAA South Dakota: Sun, Sand and Safety
Travel experts offer tips to keep you safe during spring break adventures;
AAA survey reveals an estimated 88 million Americans will take family trips this year.
March 26, 2018 – Spring break season is here and many winter-weary locals are looking forward to a warm weather escape. While sun, sand and scenery are undoubtedly fun, AAA reminds spring break travelers to always think safety first.
Spring break trips are synonymous with travel to the Caribbean, cruises and sunny beach spots, including many areas recently affected by 2017’s active hurricane season.
The Caribbean is open for business and ready to welcome travelers. Though there are still a number of hotels under reconstruction, many hotels and restaurants have reopened. Cruise ships have returned to all ports. The hardest hit of the major destinations were Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas, and they are all welcoming tourists.
“The Caribbean is open and operating,” said Marilyn Buskohl, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA South Dakota. “Even the hardest hit major tourist destinations (Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas) are all welcoming travelers and the influx of spending in the area is exactly what the region needs to continue to rebuild.”
Who’s Traveling? Millennials!
A recent AAA survey reveals more millennials than ever are planning family vacations and many families will take more than one trip.
- Some 88 million Americans plan to take family vacations this year. According to the latest research from AAA Travel, 44 percent of millennials are planning a family getaway, more than members of Generation X (39 percent) or baby boomers (32 percent).
- One in four (27 percent) traveling families is planning to take three or more family vacations in the next 12 months, 12 percentage points more than in 2016.
AAA Spring Break Safety Tips
- Know your destination. Visit www.travel.state.gov (State Department) for a Consular Information Sheet on your destination. This sheet will provide invaluable information about a variety of topics including safety and security. Heed all travel warnings and advice, and learn about the place you are visiting.
- Travel to Hurricane-affected areas – when traveling to the Caribbean or other areas hit by recent hurricanes, stay in popular vacation spots and ask about the condition of your lodging, access to local tourist attractions, beach erosion, debris and construction noise.
- Copy documents. Make copies of passports, credit cards, itineraries, emergency contact information and important phone numbers and carry them in a separate bag from the originals as they can prove to be a lifesaver, if needed. Share such documents and itineraries with family/friends back home.
- Share your plans – Before any international trip, enroll in the U.S. Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This makes it easier for the nearest embassy or consulate to contact U.S. citizens in case of an emergency.
- Carry medical and insurance information with you. Lists of medications, medical conditions, health insurance information and contact information for your doctors at home should be with you at all times. Some insurance coverage provides access to doctors while traveling thus be sure to know how to access that help should you need it.
- Limit cash and credit cards. Do not carry an excessive amount of cash or credit cards.
- Protect yourself. Don’t let your guard down and always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your hotel rooms locked at all times and make sure you know who is at the door before opening it; don’t open the door if you are unsure.
- Use the buddy system. Travel with someone. Do not leave each other in unfamiliar areas. Do not venture off alone.
- Don’t make yourself a target by wearing expensive jewelry, and don’t carry excessive amounts of cash or credit cards.
- Don’t drink excessive amounts of alcohol or gather with those who do. Never accept drinks from strangers.
- Travel in clearly marked taxis or hotel shuttle busses. Don’t accept rides from strangers.
- Don’t leave bags unattended at any time, even on the beach.
- Make sure you are dealing with reputable vendors for any activities, such as water sports. Ensure you are sufficiently trained to use any equipment and inquire about the operator’s medical and liability insurance.
- Travelers should consider booking their vacations with a travel agent. A trusted travel agent can serve as a travelers’ advocate, helping them remain informed and assisting with any itinerary changes that need to be made.