Vacations are a time to get away from the stresses of everyday life. And certainly your vacation can be a carefree, fun-filled time if you prepare carefully before you go. Sure, there’s packing the suitcases, getting the bathing suits ready, and securing time off from work, but you also need to make sure you are staying safe before you leave, at the airport, and on vacation.
Before You Leave
Travel safety begins before you even leave the house. Securing your home for vacation is one of the most important steps you can take. You want to make sure your home looks lived in, even while you are away, to deter potential burglars. Statistics show that crime rates rise by about 10 percent in June, July, and August, which also happen to be the peak summer vacation months. Thieves know this, so it’s vital you take steps to help protect your home while you are away.
Before you leave on vacation:
Tell a neighbor your travel plans and ask them to help keep an eye on your property and alert the police to any suspicious activity.
Lock all your windows and doors. Don’t forget about doors leading to the garage or second-story windows.
Have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. A sign that nobody is home is a stack of mail and newspapers, as well as garbage cans left at the curb. You can temporarily stop delivery by contacting your newspaper carrier and the United States Post Office and have a neighbor bring in the garbage bins.
Make sure any yard tools are put away. A ladder, rakes, and even patio furniture, can all be used as tools to gain entry to your home.
At the Airport
Once you arrive at the airport, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind. Airports are full of people, all rushing to catch a plane or make a connection. You need to keep a close eye on your luggage at all times, even once you board the plane.
If you’re traveling alone, try to find someone in line to befriend. This is someone who could watch your luggage while at the counter or going through security.
When going through security, put your laptop on the x-ray belt last. This way, your laptop will come out after your carryon luggage and hopefully about the time you are cleared. You don’t want your laptop in the open for too long.
On the airplane, if you don’t put your luggage under the seat in front of you, put it in the overhead bin across the aisle from you. You’ll be able keep an eye on your bag during flight to ensure nobody is opening your luggage.
While on Vacation
You’ve successful navigated the airport and now you’ve landed safety at your destination. Don’t relax on safety just yet. Whether at a theme park or at a fancy resort, there are a few safety precautions you can take to make sure you are as safe as possible.
Stay off social media. Don’t tip criminals off by sharing too much information on your social networks. Refrain from posting photos, status updates, or “checking in” while on vacation. Even if you have the highest security settings on Facebook and Twitter, your personal information could still be seen by unwanted eyes.
Tell friends and family at home your itinerary. It’s a good idea to let family and friends know your plans. Always let someone know when you’re expected to be back and what route you’re planning to take.
Keep cash and credit cards separate places. Never carry your credit cards, cash, and passport at the same time. You’ll want to keep some cash in your wallet, and then stash the rest in a pocket or money pouch. If you have a safe in your hotel room, leave the majority of your cash there and only bring what you’ll need for the day.
Make a copy of your passport. You’ll want to make two copies of your passport. Leave one copy at home with a trusted friend or family member and take another copy with you. When you go out sightseeing, take the copy with you and leave the original in a hotel safe until you are ready to travel again.
Do a security sweep of your hotel room. Always keep your hotel door locked and never answer it for someone you don’t know. If you can, try to get a room near the front desk or the elevator.
You can never be too careful, especially when it comes to traveling. Make sure things are safe at home and while you are traveling by taking the necessary precautions.
Written by Hillary Johnston
A proud mother of four, Hillary is passionate about safety education. She holds a degree in Public Health and Disaster Management. Learn more