Alabama has beautiful beaches and historic sites that are drawing more tourists than ever before. In 2018, spending by tourists in Alabama reached $15 billion. Tourism in the state has been growing steadily since 2003 and during the 15-year period from 2003 to 2018 the number of visitors grew every year except one.

Doing research before your trip can help ensure you have positive experiences while traveling. It’s a good idea to prepare a list of emergency resources in case you need them. Visitors should also be aware of local laws that may impact their choices when traveling.

1. Phone Repairs

Smartphones are designed to perform multiple functions and it’s likely you’re using your phone to take photos and videos while traveling. The increased use can increase the risk of damaging your phone during your vacation. Since cell phones are a GPS, communication device and more, you will want your phone repaired as soon as possible. Visitors to Alabama can get iPhone repairs in Mountain Brook. The uBreakiFix Mountain Brook store is located at 2800 Cahaba Village Plaza #270, Mountain Brook, AL 35243. They can be reached by phone at (205) 582-2345. uBreakiFix is open 7 days a week and you do not need an appointment.

2. Phone Access

Visitors from other countries may want to consider securing an international plan while traveling to avoid hefty fees. Roaming charges typically apply. You can save money by securing a travel plan on your regular phone before you depart. You can also conserve roaming costs by keeping your phone turned off when not in use. It’s also a good idea to turn apps you aren’t using off and avoid unnecessary downloads. Those who plan to be in the U.S. for an extended period of time may wish to purchase a phone in the U.S. and get a local plan to reduce costs.

3. Short-Term Accommodations

Staying in an Airbnb may appeal to you because you won’t have to worry about noise in a hotel and you can secure more private resources in an Airbnb. Some places in Alabama have restrictions on short-term rentals that you should be aware of when considering this option. You will need to stay for more than 2 weeks to have the option of a short-term rental in Orange Beach. Homewood does not allow any short-term rentals and Mountain Brook limits short-term rentals to guests staying at least 30 days.

4. Personal Safety

If you are considering renting a private home or staying in a bed and breakfast, you may also want to do some research before booking. You can use GoLookUp to check to see if the owners have a criminal history. Hotel employees are typically screened for risks before they are hired to reduce liability, but sometimes the owner’s background is not handled with such caution. A little research can offer you peace of mind when choosing accommodations. You can also use golookup to check on tour guides and other service providers while traveling.

5. Bringing Your Guns

As long as you are 18 years old you can open carry a gun in Alabama. No permit is required, although you are not allowed to open carry in forbidden zones, such as courthouses and schools. You do not need a background check or permit to buy a gun from a private seller and you aren’t required to register the gun. Sawed-off shotguns and cane guns are illegal but there are no laws restricting assault rifles. If you want to have closed carry privileges you will need a permit.

Bonus: Alcohol And Marijuana

In Alabama, you can legally own a firearm before you can drink. You must be 21 years of age in order to purchase or consume alcohol. You may be served by someone who is underage because individuals are allowed to serve alcohol once they are 19 years old. The laws for marijuana and related products are complex. Alabama has tough penalties for using marijuana but has recently legalized some CBD products.