(CNN) - Vacations at unknown locations need to be approached carefully,
It's vacation season: time to pack up the kids, the family pet and take off. But one danger of summer is being unfamiliar with a new area.
Sometimes unexpected hazards, especially in areas with which you're unfamiliar with, can ruin a vacation if you're not careful.
When going to a new beach, always make sure there's a lifeguard on duty. If waters are rough, the lifeguard will know, and in some cases, a beach will be closed if it’s too dangerous. Even though the ocean may look inviting, it's best to approach it with caution.
Know the wildlife. If you like to hit the links, know the territory. Most golfers would have no problem going after their ball if it landed in the woods or the water's edge, but in some cases, alligators or snakes could be lurking, so ask the attendants at the clubhouse what sort of animals hang out on the course.
If you're camping, make sure you don't let your children or pets wander. Bears and other animals may be sharing the woods with you.
If you're the hiking sort, know the trail before you go. If you're in a park ask the rangers or staff about the length and destination of the trails. Check to see if there might be water to drink along the way and if not take some for the trip. Also, try to stay on or close to the path, especially if the territory is new to you.
And always remember, obey any warning signs you come across. They are there for a purpose.
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