10 Tips for Staying Safe and Secure When Traveling for Competitions

Guest Columns

Cara Aley is a freelance writer who covers a wide variety of topics from managing your online reputation to health and wellness.

The adventures of travel when in an a cappella group can be phenomenally exciting. Traveling to interesting new places with your like-minded companions, the rush of competing with some of the really talented singing groups out there, and pushing yourself to your limits are all benefits of traveling for these competitions. But one thing you always need to keep in mind is your group’s personal safety on out-of-town trips.

Here are some tips to ensure a safe and fun completion experience.

Travel in groups of two or more. Going it alone in a new city. Whether you’re traveling to the ICCA quarterfinal in Baltimore, the ICCA semifinal in Boston or the ICHSA or ICCA Finals in New York, you’ll want to take extra precaution in not traveling alone, particularly at night. Be sure to travel in groups of two or more, as perpetrators are more likely to target individuals.

Bring hand sanitizer. Cities can be dirty places--whether or not you and your group are taking the subway or a cab to your competition, be sure to bring along hand sanitizer. Viruses linger in public places. Bring and use that hand sanitizer to prevent getting diseases like staph infections, E. coli, and flu from taking down your singing group! Be sure also to wash your hands with frequency.

Make sure everyone has and carries their cell phone at all times. This is a great tool for locating someone quickly, so if for some reason one of the singers strays from the group, you can find them without trouble. Unfamiliar places are difficult to navigate, and you want to ensure that no one gets lost!

Make sure your hotel is secure. Make sure there are video cameras in the hotel and make sure that there is some semblance of an organized security system in the hotel.

Learn the fire routes in your hotel. You never know when this could be important information. Be sure you are clear on an exit strategy from your room in the event of a hotel fire.

Employ a buddy system. If each person is paired off with a buddy for whom they are accountable, then no one should go unaccounted for during the trip.

Know where the nearest medical center is. For preventative purposes, locate the nearest medical center to your hotel and competition area. The more readily available you have this information, the more smoothly an emergency situation will go in the unlikely event that you have one.

Do an attendance check with regularity. Make sure everyone in your group is accounted for at all times. This is especially important when traveling in big cities. Have regular check-ins at planned times to be sure all group members are accounted for.

Carry AAA. If your car breaks down and you wind up stranded en route to the competition, you might risk missing the competition altogether. You might also wind up exposing yourself to greater danger if you break down in a bad neighborhood. Be sure whoever owns the transportation you are using has AAA if the car is his or her own. Rental car agencies will always have a service like this available to help you if you’ve rented a car from them, as well.

Preparing and reviewing safety tips and strategies with your singing group in advance of your travels will go a long way in ensuring that your trip is both safe and successful!