BOTHELL, Wash. – More than 54 million Americans are projected to journey at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving this year to be with loved ones, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). In our mission to ensure that everyone arrives at their destinations safely, we at FEMA Region 10 have travel tips for parents, road trippers, air passengers, international travelers and pet owners. Public and private partners will be using #SafeTravels on social media to share ways to stay safe on their travels this holiday, and you can, too.
“Anyone traveling this holiday season is encouraged to prepare before the trip,” FEMA Regional Administer Mike O’Hare said. “#SafeTravels is our way of getting everyone to their destinations safely so we can enjoy the company of friends and family.”
This Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PST there will be a Tweet Chat where you can get answers to your holiday travel questions from our partners in Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, including departments of transportation, emergency management agencies, and AAA. You can follow and join in on the Twitter conversation by using #SafeTravels.
For Road Trippers
Stay safe on your holiday road trip with the following tips:
- Our friends with the American Red Cross have a webpage for staying safe while on the highway: www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/highway-safety
- Stay up to date with the latest traffic information from your local transportation department, which could include:
- Calling 511
- Downloading an app
- Signing up for alerts via email or text
- Keep an emergency kit in your car. www.ready.gov/car has a list of items you may want to include in your car’s kit.
If you’re taking a plane for the holidays, don’t let the journey to get in the way of your destination. Reviewing items to pack, anticipating delays and airport safety will help you arrive safely:
- Have a plan so when you land, you’re ready: www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/77938
- Things to consider should a disaster or emergency happen while you’re at the airport: www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/videos/83360
- From our friends with the Transportation Security Administration: travel tips to help you prepare for the screening process: www.tsa.gov/travel/travel-tips.
For International Travelers
For those crossing borders for the holidays, consider using these resources to help you get to your destination:
- If you’re driving outside of the U.S. for the holidays, you may want to check on border wait times: bwt.cbp.gov. If you’re traveling from Canada to the U.S., this site has border wait times: www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/bwt-taf/menu-eng.html.
- Learn about the country you’re headed to from the Department of State at travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country.html. The site includes the Consular Information Program, which informs the public of conditions abroad that may affect safety and security. Country-specific information, travel alerts and travel warnings are all part of this program.
- Whether for the emergency kit in your home, the car or your suitcase, it’s a good idea to have items for children – www.ready.gov/kids/build-a-kit – just in case. Consider packing a game or two.
- Some disasters strike without warning, and family members may not all be in the same place. Make a plan now so you will know what to do, how to find each other and how to communicate in an emergency. Make sure the kids are involved in planning a family communication plan with the webpage www.ready.gov/kids/make-a-plan.
For Pet Owners
- If you’re going to be on the road with your animal companions for the holidays, make sure your car or travel emergency kit includes items for your pet, such as water and food. Something familiar such as toy or something comforting like a blanket can help alleviate stress, so you may want to add those items.
- You probably already have a photo of your pet on your phone, but in case you do not, take some now for identification purposes. A photo of you with your pet may be best, so break out the selfie stick – emergency preparedness can be fun. You may also want to have digital copies of your pets’ medical records available.
Staying safe while traveling can be very personal, so consider the unique needs of you and your family this holiday season. Wishing you all #SafeTravels!
FEMA's mission is to help people before, during, and after disasters.