31 Mar Safety Tips for a Sensational 2022 Travel Season
Although more than two years have passed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, college students still have a lot to consider when traveling. Understandably, spring and summer are a time when traveling safety becomes the primary concern for students — and their parents. While traveling should be all about “stress reduction,” it can be pretty stress-inducing, especially in today’s uncertain environment.
However, if students keep a few common-sense strategies in mind, they can have a safe and memorable travel experience. As students prepare to leave on their much-needed vacation, they should review these essential safety tips.
Celebrating with Security In Mind — Four Safety Tips For College Students
Is Travel Safe Now? — Notable 2022 Travel Restrictions
Compared with the past few years, 2022’s travel restrictions are way more relaxed. However, some popular spring and summer travel destinations still require quarantines. If students are dreaming of a sunny getaway, then they will need to plan extra time for COVID screenings.
Most significantly for Americans, Hawaii has a mandatory five-day quarantine for unvaccinated visitors. However, it’s possible to overcome this requirement if students upload an official negative COVID-19 test before the last leg of their journey.
It’s also worth noting that New Zealand isn’t open to US tourists just yet. In fact, this hot travel destination may not open to foreign visitors until October of 2022. However, Australia is just starting to open up to vaccinated visitors, but some states in Western Australia remain closed.
Other than that, most popular vacation destinations like the Bahamas, Mexico, Florida, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico are lenient with vaccinated travelers or people who can prove a negative COVID-19 status within 24 or 72 hours. Just keep in mind the US requires a negative COVID-19 test from all returning citizens 24 hours before coming back into the country.
Students should carefully research the rules and requirements of their target travel destination. If they have any questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, they should read Umergency’s previous post on this topic.
Flying Solo? — Check Out These Airport Safety Tips
For some students, this may be the first time they fly alone to a new destination. While that thought may be troubling for students and parents, there are many simple ways students can feel reassured when traveling wherever they want to go.
First, students need to share their travel itinerary with close friends and family. Once a student knows their flight number, they should let family members know it to keep track of the airline’s timetables. Pro tip: family members can easily look up the status of their student’s flight by typing in the student’s flight number into an iMessage on their phone & clicking on it. Alternatively, family members can always reference FlightAware on a desktop browser for more detailed information.
Students should also spend plenty of time researching their target destination and the airports they will be visiting. There are plenty of videos and maps of airports online, so it’s fairly easy to get oriented before hopping on a real plane to a destination Stateside or a foreign country.
Students should also consider extra layers of cyber security, like a VPN and RFID tags to prevent hackers from stealing personal info. Additionally, there are many theft-resistant bags and pickpocket-proof cases that could make a big difference in extreme scenarios. Students are a vulnerable target and should remember to be especially aware of their surroundings whenever traveling.
In terms of health safety, the CDC maintains many of its health recommendations for air travel. This includes frequent hand-washing, wearing a face mask indoors, and delaying travel until students have been vaccinated. If students aren’t vaccinated, they must get COVID-19 testing one day before and after their flight.
Students should also bring plenty of sanitizing wipes with them. Unsurprisingly, touchscreens tend to have the highest concentration of nasty microbes in today’s airports.
For more useful info on hydration and immune health in the airport, please check out Umergency’s previous post on “Health Hacks for the Holidays.”
Hitting The Open Road? — Don’t Forget To Buckle Up!
Some students feel more secure if they travel “on the ground” rather than “in the air.” However, statistically speaking, it’s more likely people will get into a severe car accident than a plane crash.
In fact, the NSC suggests the odds of getting into a fatal car crash are one in 107. By contrast, NSC reporters said there were “too few deaths” to calculate the odds of dying in a plane crash. The annual average for US airline-related deaths has been well below 0.01 percent over the past few decades. Still, students should look into trip insurance especially when traveling abroad. Most will also pay for health insurance, so you’ll be covered should you fall ill on a trip.
While it may feel “safer” to travel on the road, students must recognize that driving is an inherently dangerous activity. Students must be awake, sober, and vigilant whenever they’re on the road. This means putting away cell phones and cutting out distractions like loud music, drinks, and food.
Interestingly, many “safe driving” features can shut off a student’s cell phone once they turn on their car. If students have an issue with distracted driving, they should consider turning on “Driving Focus” on iOS or “Google Driving Assistant” on Android.
Just like cramming for a midterm isn’t the best study strategy, it’s never good to pull an all-nighter on the roads. Students must carefully plan their road trip with plenty of rest stops along the way. If a student driver feels sleepy, they should find a safe place to pull over and get some shut-eye.
It’s also best for students to avoid driving at night if possible. According to NSC data, at least 50 percent of all fatal traffic accidents happen after the sun goes down. Considering most people only do about one-quarter of their total driving at night, this high accident rate is even more alarming.
Students should also send their daily driving plans to friends and family so everyone is up-to-date on their journey.
A Fun Party is a Safe Party
Students should have fun and socialize when they’re traveling — but they must recognize there are real dangers. Most significantly, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) estimates female college students aged 18 – 24 are at a three-times-greater risk of sexual assault than other demographics. Currently, 26 percent of undergraduate females will be victims of sexual violence.
College students must be cautious around alcohol while at parties. Current statistics suggest three out of four people who commit a sexual assault have alcohol in their system. Also, the NIH notes that women are far more susceptible to alcohol’s effects than men.
The US Office of Women’s Health warns about the rise in date rape drugs. These often odorless substances could include tranquilizers, GHB, or ketamine, all of which will knock a drinker out. To avoid this risk, RAINN reminds women to never put their drinks down, never share drinks, and always travel in a group.
Students should also be especially aware of the rise of fentanyl overdose cases. Many sexual abusers now use fentanyl as a date rape drug because it’s cheap and incredibly potent. In fact, it only takes 2 mg. of fentanyl to produce a fatal overdose.
To learn more about the current “fentapill epidemic,” read this recent Umergency post.
The Umergency App Never Stops Working!
Students can use many of Umergency’s resources even when school isn’t in session and when they are off-campus, at home, or traveling in the U.S. and Canada. Since each Umergency student user can upload insurance info and a medical consent form, it also provides protection even while students are traveling.
Please click this link for more details on the many features Umergency offers.