Curious what that might entail? Take a look at what I cover during my 2nd pre-departure meeting:
Click here for a sample agenda
Click here for my Travel Safety Dos and Don'ts handout
Click here for my Rules of the Road handout
Click here for a copy of my Security Card
First things first! I always address the CURRENT WORLD SITUATION and give some basic tips about crowded areas/tourist destinations:
- Always stay with your group! Never ever travel alone. You should be in a group of four and no less.
- As you enter a building/museum/church familiarize yourself with the exits.
- Be very considerate of your words and actions--don't do anything that could be interpreted as suspicious (saying the word "bomb" in the airport or other crowded area).
- If there is some sort of evacuation follow the directions of the authorities. If you have a phone with international service, contact me immediately!
I also share some important AIRPORT TIPS:
- Always be aware of your surroundings. If you see something suspicious--say something!
- Never stray from the group, even in the airport.
- When going through security, always pay attention and follow the TSA Agent's directions. (No side conversations, or horseplay).
- If you are searched by a TSA agent, be calm, respectful and comply with their directions. (If you are asked to be searched, let one of your chaperones know).
- If a TSA agent searches your bag, stand back and do not touch the bag. (their rule, not mine.)
- Here is an informational video about the TSA 3-1-1 rule for packing liquids in your carry on bag. Following these guidelines will save a lot of time and hassle in the security line. (Click here for a flier with the same info.)
It is always important to address what to do IF SEPARATED FROM THE GROUP:
- If you are separated from the group--stay where you are! Do not go look for the group, we will find you.
- Stay visible. Stand on the sidewalk or out in the open. If you sit inside a cafe or building, you will not be visible to those searching from you.
- Use the safety card provided to you on departure day, and call me and/or the EF Tours Emergency Number.
- Ask for help! Ask a local merchant to call the hotel and ask them to call our Tour Director (the number is on the safety card).
- If all else fails, hail a cab and ask them to take you to the hotel (the address is on the safety card).
To quickly count the group, I use a silly little method called PAIRS-N-SQUARES. it works a little something like this...
- Every student travelers gets a "travel buddy" (of whom they know the whereabouts at all times). This is a PAIR.
- I like for each pair to be roommates. This makes it easy when we need to find someone who might still be in their hotel room. We can send up their pair, who knows where the room is located and probably has a key.
- It is also nice if the pairs are same sex, in the event that we are looking for a missing person at headcount, and someone needs to check the bathrooms.
- Each pair, partners up with another pair and form a SQUARE.
- Each pair-n-square is instructed to make eye contact with their pair first, and then their square when they hear this verbal command..."FIND YOUR PAIR" (pause for eye contact) "FIND YOUR SQUARE" (pause for more eye contact) "WHO IS MISSING?"
- If anyone is missing from their square, they are supposed to put their hand in the air, and then call out the name that is missing.
I hope that these tips will work for your group. Do you already use some of these? What other tips do you have for promoting safety in your group? Let me know in the comments below!