Earlier this summer I moved to Washington D.C., knowing no one else in the city. While moving solo to a new city is exciting, it can also be dangerous if you don’t take proper precautions. As someone who has traveled independently, both in the United States and overseas, I have experienced the highs and lows of being a tourist.
The Fourth of July holiday weekend is upon us, and I know many of you will be celebrating America at home and on the road to visit family and friends. With this in mind, I wanted to share my tips on how to be a safe traveler and tourist, not only in our nation’s capital, but anywhere else you might be going this summer.
Staying Safe in the Summer Heat:
1. No matter if you’re strolling the National Mall or hanging out with friends at a backyard cook-out: Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water can reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
2. Avoid sightseeing and other outside activities in excessive heat. I know, this one is a bummer, but your health and safety are most important. If you must go out, be sure to scope out the nearest shady spot or building with air conditioning.
3. We all want to work on our fitness. But I’d encourage you to work out at cooler times during the day to avoid overexerting your body or overheating.
4. Avoid tight fitting clothes and dark colors. This will help keep your clothes and body from trapping heat.
5. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and alcohol that can lead to dehydration.
6. Wear sunscreen.
1. If you’re going to wear earphones, wear them in one ear or on a low volume so you can still hear what’s happening around you.
2. Always be aware of your closest exit.
3. Keep your belongings in a secure place on your person that only you can access.
4. Pack sanitizer. Whether traveling on the metro or visiting museums, you should always protect yourself from germs.
5. Keep your phone charged in case of emergencies. (Pro tip: There are also more safety tips in the Red Cross Emergency App for large crowds.)
6. Don’t wait until things get too wild to leave. If you notice a shift in the crowd or increased security presence, leave.
7. If you’re going to a crowded event alone, let someone know where you’re going, when you arrive, and when you leave.
1. Download a map app you can use offline.
2. Use a personal security app, in case you’re ever in an area where you don’t feel safe.
3. Always tell someone if you’re going out alone.
4. Always have enough cash to get you where you need to go.
5. Receive weather alerts and warnings with the Red Cross Emergency App.
6. Conduct research yourself or ask a local you trust about which areas to avoid.
7. “People-watch” and study how locals act so that you don’t stick out as a tourist.