You might be well past the age of wild Spring Break trips to Cabo or Cancun. However, it never hurts to take precautions on your upcoming trip, especially if you’re bringing the whole family or a big crew along. Keep these pointers in mind to ensure a fun and secure vacation experience for all.

Keep Family and Friends in the Loop

Always leave a copy of your itinerary and pertinent contact info — like your hotel name and number — with at least one person back at home before you leave. Even if you’re incommunicado (which is pretty rare in the age of WiFi, Instagram photos, and Facebook check-ins), they’ll be able to find a way to get in touch with you if necessary.

Do Your Research

No matter where you’re headed, it pays off to plan ahead and prepare for your new surroundings. Going camping? Find out about the animals in the area and what to do if you come face-to-face with them. Hoping to make a splash in tropical waters? Take a quick look and educate yourself on what exotic creatures might be swimming alongside you. At the very least, you’ll gain peace of mind … at the most, you’ll avoid a potentially dangerous encounter!

Pack Wisely

It’s an obvious tip, but don’t get so caught up in the excitement of your trip that you forget to bring the essentials. Create your own survival and safety kit with sunscreen, band-aids, and over-the-counter medicine, plus anything else you might need in case of an unfortunate or inconvenient event.

Travel in Groups, and Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Especially if you’re in a new and unfamiliar place, utilize the buddy system and don’t let friends or family members wander off by themselves. Even if you’re on a tranquil beach getaway, it’s important to be street-smart and keep your wits about you! This is especially true if you plan to go out at night. Always keep your eye on your cocktails, take precautions against pickpockets, and trust your gut. Don’t be afraid to speak up or leave a particular place or situation if something seems off.

Keep Your Valuables on You

Sure, your cell phone is always glued to you, but why risk losing your passport or camera by checking it with your luggage or leaving it in your hotel room? Make sure you bring your credit cards and important possessions and documents with you from place to place in a small bag. Better safe than sorry!