A volleyball trip is around the corner. Our main goal as parents is to get the family there and home safely. However, if something goes wrong on the way, are you ready? Some of us have packed for enough volleyball trips that we consider ourselves professionals at this, and maybe some are. But are we really thinking of everything that may happen?

Here are travel safety tips for a long volleyball road trip:

When preparing to leave, it’s important to pay close attention to how you’re packing the vehicle. You want immediate access to the items you’re packing, given the worst case scenario. I teach my clients to always think “what if,” what if it’s raining, what if I do not have access to every side of the vehicle, what if I’m not in a safe area, what if I need to get to a self-defense tool, you get the point.

The night before you leave, have the following items in your vehicle just in case:
  • Plenty of water
  • Extra nonperishable food/snacks
  • Flashlight (I have 2, one is blinding for defensive purposes (8000 lumens))
  • 5 gallon gas can, preferably filled
  • Non-lethal defense (Fire extinguisher, Pepper Spray, Striking Tool)
  • Should you be a firearm person ensure you have several magazines and ammo
  • Portable air compressor to fill tires (charge it the night before and make sure that it comes with a lighter attachment)
  • At least 2 cans of fix-a-flat
  • Rain gear for everyone
  • Emergency numbers in your phone (you may not have service, be prepared for that too)
  • Emergency Action Plan (I think I can say most have never done this, but you should put what together that includes who does what in case of an emergency)

There will be some stops along the way that you also need to plan for, and these too should be done safely. Imagine how vulnerable your family is if the first thing you do at the gas station is open all of the doors and pour out of the truck without paying attention to your surroundings. The kids have air pods in, some watching their favorite tiktok video for the 23rd time, and unaware of potential danger.

Here are some safety recommendations at a gas stop:
  • Driver out of the cart first, then lock the door; I always get out and walk around to let everyone out once I surveil the area and ensure I see nothing wrong.
  • Then everyone exit the vehicle, lock up, and head in.
  • Adults should try to use the restrooms first when possible. People hide in there, it happens.
  • Everyone stay inside until we have our snack, drinks, and then reverse the process to load up and roll out.
  • Load the vehicle on the passenger side with only that door open. There is no reason to unlock every door and give bad people access to the vehicle and the upper hand.
  • If you’re getting gas, only the driver needs to be out and all doors can be locked, afterwards get in and roll out immediately.
  • Stay off your phones.
If you happen to get a flat tire or your car breaks down there are several things that you should do immediately:
  • Immediately put your  hazard lights on
  • Pull over if possible
  • Place reflective triangles behind your car for better visibility and get back in your car
  • Know how to use the fix-a-flat and get your car back on the road if it’s a tire
  • If not fixable, stay in your locked car and dial 911 to get help.  If you are out of range for a call try texting 911, some states have gone to this system, tell them you do not feel safe.
  • Call insurance emergency number to get someone there to address the emergency
  • Stay aware and do not immediately trust people that pull over are there to help
Here are travel safety tips when flying to a tournament:

There are some security concerns throughout the transit to and from the tournament, so it’s important to stay focused and not look past your safety.  If you are flying consider these tips:

  • Avoid putting your address on your luggage; instead, add an email or phone number. Luggage isn’t lost that often, and do you want everyone to know where you live?
  • Give yourself plenty of time; when in a rush, we’re not as focused on safety.
  • Have your administrative stuff in order and readily available. Limit the times you need to go in and out of your luggage, carry-on, or purse.
  • Travel light. Yes, I just said that!
  • Have a code word to alert your family to stay together or regroup with focus.
  • If eating/sitting in an airport ensure people cannot access your property easily.
  • Sit by your gate, be prepared to leave early too.
  • Women and children first, they are the most vulnerable.
  • Upon arrival at the next airport, stay together to get the luggage, rental, and all other airport necessities.
  • Load the rental as mentioned above, someone has to scan the area while loading. Loading a car is one of the most vulnerable positions you’ll be in.
  • Do not talk about where you are staying and if you do talk about the husbands or sons being there.
  • Once you get to the hotel everyone goes to check-in together. Do not talk about what room you’re in!
  • Enter the elevator with caution. Stand back and allow the adults to enter first.
  • In the elevator, stand with your back against the wall with access to the emergency button. You have to prepare for the worst case scenario.
  • When exiting the elevator scan the area before you cross the threshold, don’t just walk out blindly.
  • I recommend NO SIGNS on the hotel door; it makes it easier for a predator to find you.
  • If the girls are at the pool, so are the adults.
  • Leave your lights and the TV on in your room when you leave, it tells people someone is there.
  • Attempt to get your room on floors 2-6. First floor is easier access and floors above 6 are more difficult to get to for safety personnel.
  • Never open your door without scanning and always keep the double lock on when in your room.

Hopefully these tips help you feel more prepared on your next trip to a volleyball event in case there is an emergency. Remember, we’re not preparing for things that normally happen. We are preparing for the worst case scenario.

About the Author

Kevin Brylski is the Owner and Operator of Invictus Training Group, a Holistic Self Defense company. His focus is coaching people to understand that self defense is easier than we think, there are everyday applications that when put in place help us remain clear of danger.  Visit Invictus-trainer.com for more information and contact Kevin to arrange a self defense seminar at your club or sports program.