The holiday season is here again! Whether you are traveling or staying home and preparing a holiday meal, it’s important to keep holiday safety in mind. Follow these easy travel and food safety tips for a safe and sound holiday!
Holiday Travel Safety Tips
Traveling during the holidays, especially after a long period of isolation, can seem both exciting and daunting. Here are some holiday travel safety tips to know before you embark on your journey, so you can focus on the excitement of the travel and season!
If you are traveling to a new destination learn about your destination before you travel. Focus on safe travel spots, accommodation reviews, and cultural norms.
If you are staying for a few days, make sure to shortlist restaurants you want to visit as well. This way you can plan your route and make reservations, so you won’t be left hungry in an unfamiliar place!
Prepare For Your Home Safety
Before you leave, make sure to have a plan in place for your home.
- Check your home security system and its cameras, motion sensors, and alarms to make sure everything is working properly.
- Consider putting your lights on timers to make it seem like someone is home.
- Move valuables away from windows.
- Ask a neighbor or friend to check on your property every 2-3 days while you are away.
- Put a hold on your mail, especially if you are away for more than a few days.
Keep Family and Friends Updated
Share a copy of your itinerary with a few friends and family, and make sure to include contact information for the locations you will be staying. Also, check in with a close friend or a family member back home regularly during the trip.
Make Copies of Important Documents
You are likely to carry important documents like a passport, driver’s license, and COVID Vaccination Card when traveling. Keeping digital copies and additional printed copies will make the task of getting a replacement easier, in case the existing one gets stolen.
Follow COVID-Related Safety Measures
Make sure you are taking appropriate precautions such as wearing a mask, avoiding crowded places, and washing hands frequently and thoroughly. Also follow these additional tips!
- Check the COVID-19 case count in the area you are traveling to prior to leaving. If the numbers are high or on the rise, consider rescheduling.
- If any of your family members have experienced COVID-like symptoms, put off your travel.
- Make sure to have backup plans for activities. If you get to a restaurant, museum, or other venue and it looks too crowded, this will make it easy to switch to another option without losing valuable vacation time.
- Some venues will also offer tickets online ahead of time to limit guests. Check the venue website before you go so you will not show up without a ticket!
Don’t let your guard down when clicking pictures or taking a call and keep an eye on your belongings all the time. If you feel uncomfortable at any point, find a crowded area and call a friend or family member to pick you up.
Holiday Food Safety Tips
If you are staying at home, or traveling to family and friends and plan on enjoying a home-cooked meal, make sure to factor food safety into your plans. A little negligence while preparing and handling food can expose your loved ones to hazards such as food poisoning. Here are a few holiday food safety tips you can follow to avoid blunders:
Defrost Meat Properly
If you’re using a frozen turkey, or any other meat for that matter, defrost it properly to prevent the growth of harmful microbes.
To protect against food poisoning, avoid thawing meat on the kitchen counter or in warm water. Instead, thaw it in the refrigerator, submerge it in ice-cold water changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave.
Keep meats, seafood, and eggs separate from other foods to avoid cross-contamination. If you are cooking for anyone with allergies, make sure you understand their restrictions and keep both hazardous food items and utensils that have come into contact with that item away from your holiday meal prep.
You should also consider having an emergency plan on hand in case an accident occurs.
Resist Raw Food
Resist the temptation to taste raw dough or batter for cakes, cookies, pancakes, pies, or pizza. Dough and batter prepared with raw eggs can contain harmful microbes such as Salmonella that may cause food poisoning.
Children especially may want to try batter and dough ahead of time. Keep a careful eye on children and pets to avoid unexpected issues.
Make Sure Your Food is Cooked
Turkey or other meat may look cooked on the outside, but no one wants to cut into it and find an unpleasant surprise.
- Invest in a decent food thermometer to make sure food is cooked on the inside.
- Check the internal temperature in a few places. White and dark meat cook differently so one part of your meal may be ready before the entire turkey or dish.
- Different meats have different safe cook temperatures, so make sure you know the correct temperature of your dish and plan accordingly.
Refrigerate Leftovers Without Delay
Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of serving the food. Leaving food out for too long causes harmful bacteria to grow on it. Also, ensure the internal temperature of your refrigerator has been set below 40-degree Fahrenheit.
When it comes to the safety of your family and friends, you won’t regret taking extra precautions. Follow these tips and have a wonderful holiday season and Happy New Year!