Planning for your next vacation takes a bit more planning than booking a hotel and mapping out a course to a destination. Here are 5 tips for a safer family vacation.

Watching Your Destination

First, wherever you are traveling for springbreak, make sure you are paying attention to your destination. Watch the weather to ensure you aren’t heading towards natural disasters. If you are traveling abroad, check U.S. travel alerts and warnings to make sure the situation hasn’t changed in the country you plan to visit. You will also want to schedule a visit with the doctor at least a month before your big trip to ensure you don’t need additional vaccines when leaving the country.

Smart Vacation Packing

First of all, packing the car correctly is incredibly important for safer trips. You can certainly over-pack – making the car harder to handle and the road harder to accurately see. Families should pack their cars within the weight limit of their vehicle. Heavier objects should be placed on the floor and more toward the center of the vehicle in order to help distribute the weight for better control. Additionally, drivers have to ensure their items do not get piled up too high in the back, restricting their ability to see out of the rear window. Packing food and water for everyone traveling is important in case of an unplanned traffic jam that might cause a long wait on the trip.

Better Car Trips

Tired drivers are dangerous, so plan a trip that includes plenty of rest stops and getting quality sleep. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 45% of American’s aren’t getting enough sleep. Research published in the NCBI has shown that even moderate sleep deprivation causes impairment equal to alcohol intoxication. Drivers have to make sure they are well rested in order to have full cognitive and motor control when driving their vehicle on the road.

Getting the Home Ready

If the weather is going to be cold where you live, drop your heat to between 50°F -60°F to ensure your pipes don’t freeze. If the weather could get hot, keep your air at 85°F to prevent your refrigerator from overworking and your plants from overheating. Turn your water heater down as well. Unplug your TVs, gaming systems, DVD players, coffee makers, computers and other items that will draw “ghost power” even when they are turned off. Give your contact numbers to neighbors in case of an unusual activity around your home. Also, find someone who can check on your home every few days to make sure there are no unusual problems that go unnoticed.

Planning for Pet Care

If you have pets that are not going with you, you will want to make sure they are well cared for by a pet sitter or in a kennel. Some pet owners choose to hire a responsible student or young adult to “housesit” for them, paying them a small amount per day to watch out for the home and care for all pets.

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