How To Stay Safe On Your Late Summer Girls’ Trips


With summer winding down, last minute getaways with the girls may still be in the pipeline. While traveling with others can be a great way to save money and create unforgettable memories (if it actually makes it out of the group chat), it’s important to consider how to stay unharmed in paradise.  

Five years ago, I was on the trip of a lifetime, celebrating a friend’s milestone birthday abroad. It’s a running joke now about how I was wheelchaired back to America. But I’m grateful for my squad, who stuck with me in an Indonesian airport. And I’ve never forgotten how, but for them looking out for me, I might not have made it back safely. 

During the first half of this year alone, headlines have announced frightening stories of murder, cartel kidnappings and mayhem befalling Black travelers abroad. Shanquella Robinson was just trying to go on a great vacation in Mexico, yet she was killed. Shaeed Woodard and Zindell Brown were just accompanying their friends on a road trip across the southern border when they were fatally caught in cartel cross fire. And while visiting sick relatives in Haiti, Jean-Dickens Toussaint and Abigail Michael Toussaint were kidnapped by a gang hoping to negotiate a ransom; mercifully, they were later freed.

Given such cautionary tales, we want to help you make sure your next trip is both fun and safe. Here are a few things to consider before jetting off on your adventure with your own squad.   

Share your location with a family member or trusted friend. 

If your phone doesn’t have that capability, you can share your location via Facebook Messenger. Make sure that whoever you’re sharing it with is not with you on the trip. 

Pack a portable carbon monoxide detector. 

Not all countries require that hotels have them. This odorless gas can prove deadly, and you can’t smell or see it, so this little gadget could save your life. 

Check in with the State Department for the latest updates on your destination.  

Head over to for any travel advisories before your departure date. Also register your trip to ensure you receive alerts and can be located in the event of an emergency. 

Have a backup fund. 

If things go south, you want to make sure you can take care of yourself—whether that means finding new accommodations or buying an earlier ticket home. Trust your gut, and get out if anything feels wrong. 

Buckle up, wear a helmet and use a life jacket.  

Drowning and traffic accidents are among the most common causes of tourism–related deaths. Take safety precautions and avoid problems that are preventable, just as you would at home. And it obviously goes without saying, don’t drink and drive.   

Make sure your companions know about any major medical conditions within the group.  

If anyone has serious allergies, do you know where they keep their EpiPen? If a medical malady comes up, you want to be able to provide the EMTs with all relevant information. 

A version of this story appears in the July/August 2023 issue of ESSENCE


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