The end of summer is upon us. As everyone prepares for cooler weather and back to school, many are planning Labor Day trips for summer’s last hurrah. Whether you’re planning a long weekend of camping, visiting the beach, or staying with family, here are some tips to help make sure your travels are safe and well-prepared.
*Check your engines. If your plans include a road trip, make sure your vehicle is in good working order before you leave. Complete basic maintenance such as an oil change if you’re due, check tire tread and pressure, confirm that fluids are full and stock an extra gallon of windshield wiper fluid to keep your windshield free of dirt and debris. Make sure you have an emergency kit with necessities like jumper cables, a tire gauge, a flashlight with fresh batteries (or even better, the kind you hand crank), a tool kit with wrenches and screwdrivers, duct tape, rags and an emergency stop sign. It doesn’t hurt to have a spare bottle of water, a blanket and some energy bars in case something happens and you’re stranded for a little while.
* Don’t forego first aid. You might think it’s a waste of space in your already tight suitcase, but a small first aid or medical kit is always a good idea no matter where you’re going. You’ll want to stock it appropriately for wherever you’re headed, but some good general items to have on hand include: bandages, gauze, disinfectant, pain relievers, tweezers, allergy pills and medicine for stomach upset.
*Pack the right technology. If you’re camping or hitting the trails, a cell phone with good reception and wide coverage area is always key. A portable GPS can ensure help will be accessible should you run into a problem in a remote area, or if you get lost. Consider solar chargers to keep items full of power when electrical outlets may not be available.
* Never forget SPF. Pack sunblock of at least SPF 30, even if you’re planning to stay in the shade or the forecast is cloudy. Also make sure your travel bags include sun shades, a hat with a brim and a water bottle. Nothing makes a vacation more uncomfortable than sunburn and dehydration.
*Keep your food safe. If you’re carrying food to the beach, to the campsite, or even to Great-Aunt Barbara’s house, keep it cold to minimize bacterial growth. Use an insulated cooler with sufficient ice or ice packs to keep the food at 40°F or below. Pack food right from the refrigerator into the cooler immediately before leaving. Keep the cooler in the coolest part of the car or in the coolest, shadiest area you can find in the woods or at the beach. Be sure to keep the cooler lid closed at all times and only pull out perishable items like mayo and meats when you’re ready to cook and eat them.
*Bring your On Call Membership Card. As always, don’t forget to pack your On Call card so you have help in case something happens. You might need to speak with a nurse about a mysterious rash after you’ve been trekking in the woods or a case of possible heat stroke after a long day at the beach. Or, you might need help refilling your prescription or tracking your delayed baggage if one of them gets lost enroute. From travel assistance with minor mishaps to help with major problems like illness, injury and medical evacuation, we’re here to help any time you travel more than 50 miles from home.