With vacation season on the horizon, it’s important that you take the time to prepare properly before leaving the house. From ensuring your house is clean, locked and protected to understanding risks of being tourists, it’s crucial to spend ample time planning for the worst so that you and your family are prepared.
Vacations are a time to relax, have fun and explore new places, but being an outsider in a new city can make you a target for thieves. Murphy's Law for travelers: If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong while you're on vacation — which is arguably the worst time a household calamity can strike. Coming home from your honeymoon, African safari or Mediterranean cruise can be gloomy. But returning from a memorable journey and learning something has gone seriously wrong at home can be downright devastating.
Here are some tips to make sure you and your family are safe when planning your next vacation:
Before you go
A house or apartment left empty while its owners are traveling is a tempting target for criminals. It's imperative that every traveler take certain key steps to keep his or her home safe and sound while seeing the world. Basic preventative measures (which take only minutes to complete) can work wonders to help you avoid power surges, broken pipes, home invasions and more.
You should try and keep your home looking exactly the same as it looks when you’re not on vacation. For example, if you keep your curtains open when you’re home, don’t close them just because you’re going away. Purchasing a light switch timer to mimic hours you’re home can also ensure that your home looks occupied. You should also put a hold on your mail so that it does not pile up, showing a clear indication that no one is there to bring the mail in.
Now that your home is secure, you need to keep it safe. Only tell people whom you trust that you’re going to be out of town. It’s also a good idea to ask a friend to check on your home while you’re traveling. To keep your electric bill from soaring and to steer clear of power surges, pull the plugs on your television, computer, toaster and any other appliances.
What you bring
Being a tourist can attract unwanted attention, so before you go make sure to clean out your wallet or purse so you take only essential credit cards. You should also carry your purse close to your body, or wallet in an inside front pocket so it’s more difficult for someone to grab it.
Carrying large bags slow you down and make you more vulnerable to getting robbed, so pack as lightly as possible. Pack in inconspicuous bags because expensive and designer luggage will draw attention to you and your belongings.
Finally, make sure you travel with your valuables in a carry-on bag. Medication, jewelry and other valuables such as passports should be on you at all times to ensure their safety.
While you’re away
If travelling on the road, always lock your car when you’re away from it and don’t leave valuables on the seat or in view; many trunks have secret compartments that you can store your most valuable possessions. While driving, stick to well-lit and busy streets at all times and avoid back-road routes.
If you’re staying in a hotel, do not leave your jewelry, money or other valuables lying around the room when you’re out exploring. Utilize the hotel’s safe in the room to keep your belongings secure. And when you are out exploring or lying out in the sun, do not leave your belongings unattended and always make sure the hotel room is locked and secured.
Following these easy tips and tricks while on vacation will ensure that your fun and exciting time away from reality is not tainted by a disastrous situation leaving you robbed, harmed or in any way impacted by crime.