With great travel comes great responsibility with regards to the safety and security of your participants. You must be diligent and examine all facets of your travel plan with great emphasis on student safety and security. Here’s a list of my favorite travel safety do’s and don’t’s that I’ve compiled from my many years of travel… 27 Safe Travel Dos & Don’ts Travel with additional school personnel whenever possible. Before departure, leave a file in your school office that includes student lists, bus and or flight assignments, parent phone numbers, transportation carriers, travel company emergency contacts, rooming lists, staff list, chaperone list, itinerary, and other important contact numbers in the event of an emergency. Program the phone numbers of your principal and superintendent in your cell phone and call them immediately in the event of any emergency situation. In advance of your trip, provide students and parents/guardians with a copy of trip rules, discipline guidelines and behavior expectations as well as the procedure you will follow for dealing with any infractions that may occur. Label all luggage, uniform garment bags and instrument cases. Provide parents back home with emergency contact information and numbers. Take an adequate number of chaperones to supervise your group. Require all adults that will travel with your group to obtain proper child abuse and criminal background clearances as required in your state. Keep their clearances on file with your school. Adults that will travel with your group should follow the same school student guidelines regarding the use and possession of weapons, alcohol, drugs and tobacco products. Adults should refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages during the entire student trip. Adults should refrain from smoking in the presence of students. Emergency medical forms with an attached student photo should be organized alphabetically in binders by bus and available at all times. Bring a reasonable amount of emergency cash along on the trip. Students should complete a luggage & carry-on bag parent verification form or have their luggage inspected by a teacher and adult witness before departure. Students must stay in groups of four or more when off the bus or away from the hotel complex. Students should wear matching ensemble attire i.e. varsity jacket, windbreaker, or T-shirt when off the bus or away from the hotel complex. Students are not permitted to leave the group hotel or depart from the itinerary to go with visiting relatives unless otherwise approved. Use two way radios and cell phones to keep adults in constant communication. Create a cell phone list with the names and numbers of all the adults on the trip and program them on your phone before departure. Always travel with medical personnel i.e. a registered nurse, EMT, or certified paramedic. Prepare a medical bag and have it available throughout the trip. When possible, choose a hotel in a safe neighborhood with inside access doors and straight hallways. Have your hotel block long distance calls, pay-per-view television and lock/empty the mini-fridge to avoid students incurring additional room costs. Locate chaperone rooms on each floor near the stairwell and in the middle of the hall near the elevators. Don’t place any signs or tape across student doorways. Conduct a room check nightly to verify students are in their assigned rooms at curfew. In addition to hotel security hire a private security firm to monitor your hallways overnight. For more information about safety and security on band, choir and orchestra trips, download Encore’s Safety & Security Handbook. Thanks to our guest blogger, former band director Andrew M. Yaracs! Yaracs is the Author of “Travel 101: A Band Director’s Guide for Planning Student Travel.” Stay tuned for his guest blog series featuring excerpts from his book!