When American traveler Shanquella Robinson was found dead after traveling with a group of friends to Mexico, my perspective on group trips changed. A few years ago, I went on a group trip with some friends to Denver. We stayed in an Airbnb, had an incredible time, and everyone remained safe. However, after Robinson’s death, I became more skeptical of group travel with friends.
Group trips are great for growing and encouraging new friendships and bonds. Whether you’re checking in for a family reunion or headed out on a girl’s trip, a fun-filled group trip is always the vibe! However, safety should always come before the fun. Here are 10 ways to keep safety at the forefront of your next group travel adventure.
Establish A Buddy System
I was first introduced to the buddy system in kindergarten. Whenever we’d go on a field trip, the teacher would pair us up with another classmate in case someone got lost. Although the elementary school was a while back, the buddy system is still rule number one when traveling in a group.
Before going out of town, consider pairing up each traveler. Make sure they have one another’s phone numbers so they can be accountable for each other while traveling. It is also a good idea to create a group chat with all the travelers so you can stay in touch when exploring your destination.
Share Your Location With A Family Member
Most cell phones allow you to share your location with people in your contact. If not, you can also share it through Facebook Messenger. Whether you’re traveling alone or with a group, share your location with a close friend or family member before you fly out. Be sure to share it with someone who is not going on the trip with you. This ensures that someone back home is always aware of where you are as you travel.
Do Door Checks
If your group is staying in a hotel, many travelers advise appointing a leader to do door checks at the end of each night. This designated person will go from room to room making sure everyone’s door is locked before heading to bed. Hotel doors can be kind of tricky. So door checks ensure each traveler is secure at the end of the night. If your group is staying in a rental property, designate someone to make sure the front door and all other entryways are locked every night.
Establishing group checkpoints is a good way to stay connected if someone gets lost. If a traveler gets separated from your group, they can always head back to the checkpoint location if they’re unable to communicate with everyone else. Some good checkpoints include the hotel lobby, the Airbnb property, or a well-known landmark or coffee shop near where the group is staying.
Be Smart When Picking A Hotel
Being safe when traveling as a group starts before you fly out. Choosing a reliable hotel, rental properties, and excursions will help the group stay safe once they reach their destination. Before booking, read online reviews about properties before paying, and be leery of booking outside of established chains and brands. If you’re staying in a hotel, try to book your rooms in a group so you’ll all be on the same floor near each other.
Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Most group trips involve a little bit of partying, especially if you’re traveling with friends. It’s important to know your alcohol limits when traveling to make sure things don’t get too out of control. You also don’t want to risk overindulging and getting sick. Even though alcohol is most people’s favorite party favor, it’s no secret too much can leave you impaired. Stay safe and aware of your surroundings by staying in control of the drinks when traveling as a group.
Always Trust Your Intuition
One of the most powerful tools of the human mind is one’s own intuition. When you’re traveling, it’s vital that you trust it. When exploring new destinations are a group, remain aware of how your body feels when in certain situations. If it feels like a bad idea or if something feels unsafe, don’t feel like an outsider when expressing concerns. There’s nothing wrong with trusting your gut.
Be Aware When Traveling With Strangers
Travel communities have grown in popularity over the years and it’s not uncommon for travelers of different backgrounds to travel together in groups. So there’s a chance you could be traveling with people you don’t closely know. If you’re traveling with a group of strangers, it’s even more important to follow these 10 tips to ensure your ultimate safety.
Have An Emergency Contact
You never know what could happen when traveling. Having an emergency contact ensures that the group knows who to notify in case anything goes wrong. Make sure someone you’re traveling with has the contact information for a relative back home. Good emergency contacts can be a parent, a significant other, or a close friend.
Make Major Medical Conditions Known To Your Travel Companions
Getting sick is a buzz kill that can ruin any trip. Sometimes, sickness can’t be avoided when on vacation. However, if you have any major medical conditions, ensure your fellow travelers are aware before heading out. For example, if you have epilepsy or major allergies that require an EpiPen, it’s important that someone traveling with you knows about your condition. That way, if you get sick they know how to help you until EMTs arrive.
Source: Travel Noire