Spring break is here across the country, or as it might be better stated, Spring breaks (“plural”) are here. For the months of March and April, literally thousands of students in college travel by car, train, and air across the United States and abroad in search of the perfect Spring Break experience. Indeed, many study abroad students – who may be in countries as diverse as Germany, the UK, Italy, Spain in Europe, Saudi Arabia, Jordan or Israel in the Middle East, or India, China, or Pakistan in Asia, well, these study abroad students are also on the hunt for the perfect Spring Break experience.
As leaders in travel security, including travel security for study abroad students, the IMG Group offers some tips on security. Tim Bradley, our Director of Consulting at Incident Management Group, advises students to research the U.S. State Department website (http://travel.state.gov) to understand known security and medical issues at their location. According to Bradley, “whether the issue is tainted alcohol, illegal jet ski operators or the prevalence of date rape drugs, it’s very important to one’s safety to understand the type of threats that exist at their destination.” Secondly Bradley further advised students should make a list of important phone numbers for the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate and hospital and enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program prior to departing. He concluded, “Spending just a little bit of time reading about these issues and making preparations can have a significant impact on staying safe at your destination.”
Another solid tip is to download a travel safety app. Apps such as FoneTrac allow students (and other travelers) to use the ubiquity of the smart phone to improve their security. FoneTrac, for example, allows “check ins” so that the traveler can alert the home office (or school, if one a study abroad program) of his or her location. Another feature is push alerts about travel situations. This is so a traveler to a country like Gerrmany or Saudi Arabia can get pre-notifications of possible security issues. Finally, in combination with GlobalSecur support, the travel app allows travelers to reach out for assistance. A common scenario is a medical emergency in which the traveler needs help finding the best local hospital or medical support.
In sum, a little pre-planning can make the search for the perfect Spring Break experience safer. With safety handled, let the fun begin!