Safety tips keep summer travels fun

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BYU students Dean Stimpson, Lincoln Wilcox and Matt Wilcox in Versailles, France. (Lincoln Wilcox)
BYU students Dean Stimpson, Lincoln Wilcox and Matt Wilcox in Versailles, France. They stayed in a group while traveling. (Lincoln Wilcox)

It’s mid-summer and that means travel. Ask Your Target Market blog said July is the most popular month for vacations. To prepare for upcoming vacation, here are some tips on how to stay safe while traveling.

 

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Todd Bird, BYU’s travel agent supervisor, recommended travelers should not travel alone. But he also said they also shouldn’t be walking around with big groups. Those who are traveling with big groups should walk with one or two people and spread the rest of the group around.

“Big groups are just targets,” Bird said. “The main thing we’re trying to say is don’t do things that make you stand out in a crowd.”

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Lincoln Wilcox, a BYU student with one year left until graduation, just got home from a trip to several European cities. One of the ways he suggested to stay safe while traveling was to be aware of surroundings.

“If it ever looked like there was a lot of commotion, we would just turn around and take a different street, just in case,” Wilcox said.

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It is important to pay with as close to exact change as possible when paying for items. Bird said not to pay for a $1 item with a $20 bill. People are sometimes targeted if they are seen to have extra cash.

Hannah Leavitt is a secretary for BYU’s travel office and an art history and statistics major. She recently returned from a family trip to Europe. Leavitt said travelers should always have cash on them in case something happens to their card.

“You need to have a substantial amount of cash,” Leavitt said. “But if you have cash, don’t keep it all in the same place.”

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Bird suggested people traveling should secure their valuables under a layer of clothing, in front of them and in some form of a money belt, not in a loose bag. There are often professional thieves in popular tourist areas who have creative ways to take things from unsuspecting travelers, according to Bird.

“Be careful and make it hard for them,” Bird said. “Thieves want something quick and easy.”

Wilcox, along with his friends, used hostels in many of the places they visited. Wilcox suggested locking things away when in hostels and not to just leave them lying around. He would just take his important things with him out of the hostel.

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Leavitt mentioned the helpfulness of a phone when she has traveled.

“Having some sort of way to call people is really crucial if you get split up,” Leavitt said.

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Wilcox said it’s smart for any traveler to study the destination, wherever that might be. He and his friends had initially planned to go to Morocco as part of their European vacation, but found out about some dangerous situations. They decided, together, that it would be safest to leave that city out. They wouldn’t have been as prepared if they hadn’t have taken the time to research.

There are resources provided by BYU to help students plan their vacations effectively. Bird said they provide a lot of help in the travel office located in the Kennedy Center. Students can also visit travelsmart.byu.edu for help in being safe while they travel.

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Bird said to be aware of what is going on at all times. Judge the safety of a situation based on common sense. He said common sense is unfortunately not used as often as it should be. By being aware and careful, travelers can make a huge difference in staying safe.

“Just don’t put yourself in a situation that potentially could get you in trouble,” Bird said.

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