With the coming of winter, plans for vacations and other leisure activity start to occupy everyone’s thoughts. It’s important to consider your safety and security needs while you travel just as much as you think about and plan for any other part of the vacation. Think of your vacation in three parts: home, travel, and destination; all should be part of your plan, your plan to be safe.
While you’re away from your home, you want it to remain safe and secure. No one wants to return from a vacation to find that burglars paid you an unwanted visit while you were away. Here are a few tips to help minimize the risk of break-ins during vacation, whether leaving your home for a few days or several weeks:
- Leave your home secured but looking lived in.
- Lock all of your doors and windows. Use deadbolts on all doors to include any interior door from your garage into the house. If you have any sliding doors, place a special lock or even a wooden dowel in the track to make them more difficult to force open.
- Have lights for all areas outside your home; put some on timers and have some on motion detectors. Inside, have a few lights and perhaps a radio on a timer.
- If you’re gone for longer than a week, stop your mail and arrange to have your grass mowed.
- Let a trusted neighbor know that you’ll be away. Ask them to keep an eye on your house and to call the police about anything suspicious.
- Finally, place your valuable and expensive items into a home safe such as one found at GunVault, or one of our sister brands, Cannon Safe and Stack-On.
Travel Safety Considerations
Safety, while you travel, is just as important as any other element of your travel planning. It doesn’t matter if your house is safe for your return if you don’t in fact return safely! Here are safety considerations while you’re in transit:
- You should keep your travel plans confidential and share them with only those that need to know. Avoid putting travel information on social media, and don’t leave dates of return or travel on your work or home message systems.
- If you’re driving, learn your route before you start. Have a GPS but also get a paper map and study it. Ensure your vehicle is in good operating condition. Keep the doors locked while you are driving and store valuables out of sight.
- If you are flying, watch your suitcases and carry-on at all times. You should allow only airline personnel to handle your bags and know the rules for airport security and ID requirements before you get there. Check here for more information from the Federal Aviation Administration: http://www.faa.gov/passengers/.
- When possible, show only your driver’s license for ID instead of your U.S. passport while in a foreign country. Why? It’s a way to avoid showing a form of ID that declares citizenship. Bad guys know and want a U.S. passport however they may not be as interested in a state ID that almost anyone can get.
- Travel with a portable safe that you can keep all of your valuables in including your passports, jewelry, itineraries, and more.
Destination Safety Recommendations
Once you arrive at your destination treat your accommodations as if they were your home, meaning practice all of the same safety techniques you would at home, if not more! Some safety recommendations once you arrive at your destination include:
- Keep all hotel doors and windows locked and do so by making use of all door locks.
- Learn the location of fire exits, stairwells, elevators, and public phones in case of emergency.
- Never leave luggage unattended outside of your locked room.
- Always verify who’s at your door. Don’t open the door to someone you don’t know. If an unexpected visitor claims to be a hotel employee, call the front desk to make sure.
- Ask hotel staff about safety concerns of the area, and before taking a cab, ask about directions and estimated costs.
- Don’t forget that your smartphone is a great resource, even with limited (or no) reception. Use it to store your important information such as the insurance information (auto, medical, life, etc.), airline information (boarding passes/tickets), and numbers for the hotel front desk, local police, taxi, ambulance, or the U.S. Embassy. Also, it’s a great place to store copies of your ID, passport or other documents.
All in all, always be aware of your surroundings! Adherence to these security tips can go far towards keeping your vacation a positive experience. Time off for fun shouldn’t be time away from security or safety.