Published on July 10th, 2019 | by Sunit Nandi0
What’s the Safest Way to Travel This Summer?
Summer can be the perfect time to visit family, take a road trip, or travel abroad. However, if you’re planning on leaving your hometown behind during the warmer weather, one concern that naturally arises is determining how to do so safely.
A hundred or more years ago, traveling involved the simple question of choosing to go by foot, horseback, or ship. In contrast, the modern traveler has planes, trains, motorcycles, cars, buses, and ships at their disposal. But which of these is the safest option?
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Fly, Drive, or Ride?
A constant stream of new technologies are continually changing the landscape of the transportation industry, usually for the better. However, at times this change can also cause some serious issues. For instance, Boeing’s recent scandal over faulty technology in its 737 Max sensors caused such a stir that it led to the aeronautics goliath receiving exactly zero orders over the following two months.
And yet, with that said, planes still remain incredibly safe options for travel. For instance, in 2018, even with the death toll on the rise, the total still stood at a low 556 deaths from 15 accidents. The year before was even more impressive, with just 44 deaths, making it the safest year in the history of aviation.
Driving, in comparison, continues to remain a dangerous mode of transportation, with the National Safety Council estimating the number of deaths related to car accidents at a staggering 40,000 people in 2018 alone. While things like crash avoidance technology are helping manage some of the dangers and the feelings of being more grounded and in control are nice, the numbers just don’t lie. Traveling via a car continues to be a risky option at best.
As a third choice, trains remain as safe as ever, with fewer than one thousand people dying in train-related incidents each year. However, their inherent geographic restrictions can make them more difficult to work with.
All things considered, each travel option provides various levels of safety and flexibility which can make or break your vacation plans. Safety-wise, in spite of recent news, planes are still an excellent choice if you’re willing to pay the higher costs for tickets. Cars remain iffy as far as safety is concerned, though the ability to own and use your own car remains a strong attraction. Trains are clearly safe but lack versatility.
Explore your options, keeping safety in mind. Whichever you choose, though, there are many other ways to minimize the risks of travel, some of which are outlined below.
It’s important to stay informed as you travel. Listen for travel advisories in airports and train stations, and make sure to research local risks and dangerous hotspots or scams before you visit a location. It’s also important to research local emergency numbers and to know where the closest U.S. embassy is located. This knowledge is especially important if you’re traveling with kids, which increases the need for caution.
If you don’t have any alternatives to driving, be aware that you may be involved in an accident — and be prepared to react appropriately if you are. While you can’t always avoid accidents while driving, there are a number of do’s and don’ts to keep in mind to keep safe after you are involved in one.
As a final note, it’s important to understand the difference between “knowledgeable” and “paranoid.” Conducting meaningful research to inform yourself isn’t a license to incessantly worry about your trip. Learn what you can and use that knowledge confidently as you go.
Transcend Communication Barriers
If you’re traveling to a country that speaks a different language, it’s important to be ready to communicate. Good communication can make a huge difference in finding your way through strange places and avoiding getting lost or wandering into unsavory areas.
Google Translate is an excellent tool to have at your fingertips. It allows you to translate your own spoken words at the press of a button. Other options, like Bing Translator, Jibbigo, and Ultralingua, can be helpful as well.
Your Phone’s Potential
Of course, translation applications are just the tip of the technological iceberg. There are countless other apps you’re going to want to have downloaded and ready to go in order to make your travels as safe and smooth as possible.
For instance, The Weather Channel app or WeatherBug can help you keep tabs on the local conditions as you go. Google Maps can help you find locations easily. Uber allows you to get a ride almost anywhere.
Hospitality and ticket apps can also be extremely valuable, as they can help you find a place to crash on short notice or get a cheap ticket at the last minute.
Finally, with all of the modern technology available, it’s not difficult at all to keep someone you trust up to date on your travel plans and progress. Knowing that someone back home is aware of what you’re doing can help ensure that if anything goes wrong, it won’t be long before someone tries to check up on you.
In addition to keeping someone apprised of your whereabouts, note that, if you’ll be visiting an area or engaging in an activity where you may experience physical injury, it may behoove you to look into travel insurance. This will help greatly if you incur medical costs or have your trip unexpectedly interrupted.
As a final note on communication, while it’s good to have a confidant checking in on a regular basis, it’s decidedly not a good idea to have the entire world aware of your traveling adventures in real time. On the contrary, posting trip updates on social media broadcasts both your current location as well as the fact that you’re not home. It’s generally advisable to wait until the end of your trip to share your adventures with the world.
Traveling Safely This Summer
While there’s no “one size fits all” solution for the dangers of travel, it’s certainly possible to minimize the risks. In fact, the modern world has made it easier than ever to travel in a safe manner.
From staying connected to researching your travel destinations ahead of time and utilizing the host of travel apps at your disposal, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to travel with confidence during the warm summer months ahead.