The topic of safety may not have a high fun rating (unless we’re talking about Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance,” which we aren’t).
Statistically, traveling in groups is significantly safer than traveling alone. However, factoring in safety remains paramount to planning a successful group trip. Otherwise, one mishap may find a member or two of your group hanging in unusual tourism attractions, such as the local police station.
Your imagination is the key resource in successful planning. I don’t know about you, but I am able to conjure up some unique scenarios. This, of course, allows me to plan against it. For example, an elephant runs wild in the street where my charter bus has stopped to visit a local historic site. The excitable elephant stampedes and its giant tusks puncture the motorcoach tires. Now, go!
Based off of this scenario, I would need to work with my bus rental company to determine what happens should there be an accident. Are drivers and equipment on standby? What backup precautions does the bus operator have in wait? I would need to make sure there’s a first aid kit in case there are minor injuries that could be addressed on-site. It’s also smart for planners to obtain a master list of everyone’s emergency contacts, and travelers should be encouraged to have copies of their drivers licenses and credit cards in the case of a delay. I would also want to ensure that my cell phone was always fully charged.
While the elephant scenario is unlikely, the exercise will serve you in being prepared. Replacing the elephant with flooding during hurricane season or a surprise tornado in the midwest might be closer to reality. What are those things that need to be planned for? What do you do if someone gets hurt or lost? Think through it and then you’ll have your plan for your group’s trip for the larger situations. On a basic, actionable path, there are other steps that you and those on your trip could take into consideration, particularly for long excursions that cross country boundaries:
- Set safety ground rules for behavior on the bus rental. Be sure to include things like staying in seats, any rules on alcohol usage and what to do in an emergency (your bus operator and driver can brief you on their standards and practices, too).
- Consider having security or medical personnel and multiple chaperones for larger groups, especially those groups which occupy multiple charter buses
- Review any insurance coverage and, potentially, encourage purchase of individual travel insurance for medical purposes
- Pack a first aid kit
- Make photocopies of ID, credit cards and prescriptions to help if anything gets lost or stolen
- Only carry small amounts of cash at one time
- Make sure that everyone has the name, address and phone number of the hotel, and designate that as the home base should anyone get lost
Safety planning also includes ensuring that you have the right motorcoach for your group travel’s needs. So, let’s talk about your upcoming trip and how we can help get you and your group safely on the road.