I came across this video on social media and it reminded me of some important things that I do subconsciously when I travel. I feel like these tips are simply common sense but these days, common sense doesn't seem to be so ... common. This tip is similar to the lifesaving tip I recently shared about how to be safe when standing on a street corner.
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In the video, which you can watch here, you can see a couple of female tourists who apparently have never been on an escalator before as they load their suitcases on the steps before getting on. Obviously, this is a huge mistake; a woman near the bottom of the escalator gets wiped out. I hope she’s okay.
Escalators scare me for a number of reasons:
1. Be patient
Escalators are scary for many children and some adults. When I was little, I used to be really afraid of heights, especially on escalators. I remember not wanting to step on the huge one at The World of Sid and Marty Krofft in Atlanta, Georgia. We were on a family vacation and I was probably five years old. I don’t remember much except how amazing the place was and being worried about falling down the steep escalator. My kids have a similar fear, which I think is only natural so I always make sure that if I see people in a hurry, to let them go first. Then my wife and I flank our kids. One adult in front, then our two kids and one adult behind them. That way if one of them falls, one of us can catch them or if they are having trouble getting off, one of us can help them.
2. Don’t take large heavy luggage on escalators and definitely don’t bring the luggage cart.
I’ve seen this happen and it’s why some airports like Heathrow have those 'pinch point' barriers, which prevent travelers from doing this. If you have a trolley or really large, heavy luggage, take the elevator. I know there’s usually a long, slow line and it’s crowded but it’s worth it to prevent a tragedy. If you do bring your luggage on the escalator, make sure you can prevent it from sliding down. So if you’re going up, you stand behind it. If you’re going down you stand in front of it.
3. Pay attention
There are a lot of clueless people out there so look around, take your earbuds out and scan to see if someone is doing something sketchy like the ladies in the video. If they are, be prepared to jump on the siderail instead of trying to outrun it. RELATED: The Most Important Thing I Do When Traveling Internationally Is ...
4. Slow down
Worse than getting run over by luggage or people falling down is being the one who is responsible. Unfortunately, it happened to me once in Kona, Hawaii. I was so excited to be on the Big Island for the first time and we were deplaning using the airside stairs and of course I had carry-on bags since I’m always in a hurry and don’t like to wait at baggage claim. Instead of holding on to the hand railing with my free hand like I should have, I tried to take a photo while walking down. I tripped over my bag and fell. Fortunately, some big dude was in front of me and prevented a tragedy. I learned my lesson. The incident really shook me because the person in front of the big guy was an old lady. I probably would have killed her if I'd fallen on her and I would never have forgiven myself. So slow down. Sometimes we all need to be reminded.
5. Watch out for the falling lady scam
If you see a falling lady, of course help her, but don’t fall for the falling lady scam, which is prevalent in Europe. Here's more on the falling lady scam but in short, don't dilly dally around after catching her and keep your valuables on your person. Either use a money belt like Rick Steves uses or a travel crossbody bag like this one that my wife recommends for its size, shape and anti-theft construction.
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