Spring break safety: How safe is your vacation hot spot?


COLUMBUS - There is one big mistake people often make when it comes to booking vacations: not doing their homework.

“Talk to a travel agent,” says Kimberly Schwind, Public Affairs Senior Manager for the AAA Ohio Auto Club. “Don’t go blindly searching online because maybe your family will end up at a college spring break destination and you don’t want your kids there, or you’re a college student and you end up in a place where there’s a travel warning.”

Schwind provided CrimeTracker 10 with some of the top destination Ohioans tend to travel to during the traditional Spring Break vacation time. Most of those cities are in Florida: Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa and Orlando. The list also includes Anaheim and Carlsbad, both cities in Southern California, and Honolulu Hawaii.

AAA keeps close communication with visitor’s bureaus in those cities to stay aware of situations that may arise. If a destination isn’t safe, Schwind says AAA’s preferred partners will notify their travel center so they can pass on the alerts.

“While you’re on vacation, no matter where you are going, even though you think it’s one of the safest places, you have to be vigilant,” Schwind adds.

CrimeTracker 10 checked with the latest FBI crime reports to see if some of the cities where central Ohioans tend to go are safer year to year.

Source: FBI

Families attending the recent AAA Great Vacations Travel Expo in January say they have a pretty good idea of where they don’t want to go.

“Mexico, different parts of Mexico,” says Rahn Reynolds, a father of two. “Chicago unfortunately, which is one of my favorite towns, but the crime rate is really high there.”

Mike and Michelle Hurley plan to take their first trip to London this year with daughter Grace.

“We’ll schedule where we are going to meet, I mean, if we are going to be apart at any time, kind of coordinate where we are going to be,” they say.

Schwind recommends people going out of the country to enroll in the State Department’s STEP program: the free, Smart Traveler Enrollment Program for travelers to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

“It helps the State Department know how many people from the U.S. are in that area, so they can get you home safely,” Schwind says.