Summer is peak vacation season. Whether you plan on traveling abroad this summer or staying put, follow these tips to stay safe:

  • Purchase travel insurance. If you travel abroad and require health care, you will often have to pay part, if not all, of your medical bills. Travel insurance can help shrink these large medical payments.
  • Swim at beaches with lifeguards. No matter where you travel, stick to beaches with lifeguards. Rip currents and other seaside hazards can quickly turn a perfect day at the beach into a deadly situation.
  • Plan outdoor activities. Rather than improvising your outdoor excursions, plan them in advance to avoid any surprises. Check the weather and bring enough food and water.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. Dress in clothing that is suitable for the weather, such as loose clothing when it’s hot. Forgo your sandals for more comfortable tennis shoes if you plan on walking all day, and bring a raincoat just in case.
  • Stay safe in the sun. Protect yourself from sunburn and heat exhaustion. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Reapply your sunscreen every time after going in the water.
  • Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is key to keeping healthy and enjoying your vacation. If you travel somewhere with a limited water supply, rely on bottled water you purchased beforehand.
  • Tell family and friends where you are going. Your loved ones should know where you are in case you need help in an emergency. Maintain contact and carry a fully charged cellphone wherever you go.

Real-life Case Study

Two friends traveled to Ocean City, New Jersey, for a three-week-long summer surfing vacation. They were both avid surfers, and felt comfortable seeking out the best beaches.
Toward the end of their vacation, one friend decided to stay in for the day, while the other wanted to spend their few remaining days on the water. Without telling his friend where he was going, the surfer headed to a beach he had not previously surfed but that had been favorably reviewed.
After several hours by himself, he decided to return to his hotel room. While paddling back to the beach, the surfer was caught in an unexpected current which sucked him beneath the surface and dragged him along underwater rocks, knocking him unconscious. His body washed onshore and laid there for several hours. His friend, meanwhile, had been looking for him and knew he had wanted to try that particular beach, and found him there, still unconscious. Because of his friend’s quick thinking, the surfer suffered only minor injuries.