March 25, 2012
- This Week in Macaroni Kid CEM
- WIN: A Family Pass to the Atlanta History Center!
- Four Ways to Spend Spring Break (Unplugged)
- Spring Break: Fun Things to Do in Town and in GA!
- Turn Spring Break Into Family Fun!
- Five Tips for a Safe Spring Break Season Abroad
- Prevent Sports-Related Injuries in Children
- Tips for Managing Your Child's Allergies
- Potty Training Made Easy!
- Macaroni Review: Doc McStuffins
- Macaroni Made: Name Bugs
- Macaroni Menu: Fresh Fruit Salsa
- Looking for a Recipe?
- This Week's Picks
- This Week's Calendar
- Teen Scene
- Plan Ahead
- Welcome to Macaroni Kid!
- 2012 Macaroni Kid College Park Summer Camp Guide
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Advice to Help Students, Families Prepare for Adventures Abroad this Spring
Spring break travel is a rite of passage for many Americans. When the weather turns warmer, college students and families with school-aged children take advantage of academic breaks to explore new locations. Here are some tips from International SOS (a travel and assistance provider) for travelers who will be headed abroad this spring.
1. Consumer cautiously - Alcohol dulls the senses, and in an unfamiliar location, this lessened awareness can be especially dangerous. Moderating alcohol consumption is critical to remaining aware of your surroundings, particularly when moving from place to place via public transit or taxis. If you imbibe, make sure you have planned the route back to your hotel in advance and remain with a group. Be aware that in some popular spring break location, such as Mexico and other Caribbean destinations, prescription drugs and other narcotics are commonly offered to tourists. Not only is the purchase of illicit substances punishable by strict fines and lengthy jail time, but oftentimes the sold are laced with dangerous additives.
2. Practice street smarts - Tourists can be vulnerable to robberies, pickpockets and assaults in foreign destinations, particularly because they may not know the safest walking routes or areas to avoid. They may attract negative attention for their different style of dress, language or demeanor. Some leisure travel destination - such as Mexico or parts of the Caribbean and Latin America - have seen a recent increase in street crimes. No matter your destination, stick with your group and avoid traveling alone, as most cases of robberies and assaults list the victim as an unaccompanied individual. Limit risks by leaving valuables and irreplaceable items (like your passport) secured in the hotel safe or your cruise ship cabin. And, be sure to only access an ATM during business hours from a trusted and secured facility, like a bank.
3. Manage your medications and health - Every country has different rules and regulations about prescription and over-the-counter medications. If you know that you will need to carry medication abroad, be sure to check the local laws that might affect you. Travelers who violate mediation transport rules may face serious consequences, even if the violation was unintentional. Keep all drugs in their original packaging and always bring a copy of the prescription. Be sure to pack extra medication in case your travel is delayed. Purchasing medicine abroad is not advisable as the standards, quality, dosages and even names might be different.
4. Enjoy local flavors without fear - Food-borne illness and local strains of bacteria can run havoc on a vacationer's digestive system. Be sure to check, before you leave, if your destination has safe tap water or other dietary concerns. Bottled beverages are always your safest bet and be careful about ice and fountain beverages. Take the same necessary precautions (like hand washing) that you take at home. Check with your travel assistance provider for any local concerns, as well as how to access medical care at your destination.
5. Take the high road when it comes to ground transportation - Navigating unusual roadways, subway systems and foreign taxi stands can be confusing and dangerous. If you plan on driving while abroad, be advised that international travelers face a great risk of serious disability or death from motor vehicle related incidents, especially in developing countries. If you must drive, plan the safest route to your destination before getting behind the wheel, and obey all local driving laws. Always make sure your vehicle meets proper safety and mechanical standards, and avoid driving at night or when weather conditions, crowded streets or other hazards make it difficult to drive safely. When traveling by taxi, use only regulated drivers (most hotels have a list of vetted providers) and always sit in the backseat of the vehicle and wear a seat belt. On a bus or train, try to avoid sitting in the front in case an accident occurs, and always keep your personal belongings with you.
Spending time on research and planning before you travel can save hours of frustration in the event of a road bump. Take the appropriate measures ahead of time to ensure you know how to best safeguard your health and safety when abroad. Check the State Department's travel advisories and warnings, know your medical history, get any required vaccination in a timely manner before you leave. It is also advisable to update and secure necessary travel documents, like passports and visas, and be sure to know your travel assistant and embassy contacts just in case the unlikely happens. Be sure to list out emergency contacts, including family members, and keep it with your passport. In the even of an emergency, these professionals are ready and prepared to assit you - it's best not to leave it to chance.
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