You’re finally getting away on that hard-earned vacation. You don’t want to spend your time in Hawaii or Paris stressed out by the pitfalls of travel. So take a few minutes to read how to stay safe and know that your home is not inviting burglary.
Keep your home safe while you’re away
Sadly, there are people in this world who are looking for opportunities to break into other people’s houses. Your main defense is a house that looks lived in. Nothing screams “burgle me” like a home with all the lights off, mail spilling out of the box, and grass just a little higher than you ever leave it.
Do advise the post office that you will be out of town and ask them to suspend your mail. Putting lights on timers is a good way to make the house look inhabited. If you don’t have a timer, leave lights on in two or three rooms and draw the curtains. You may want to keep a television on as well.
Don’t post your vacation plans anywhere on social media, and remind your friends and family to not discuss your travel plans on Twitter or Instagram either.
Make sure you have turned off the stove, space heaters, iron, and any other appliances before walking out the door. Make sure all side and back doors and windows are locked the night before you leave.
If you are vacationing during winter, make sure you have wrapped your pipes. If you expect a freeze while you are gone, leave the faucets dripping slightly, and ask a friend to check on the house while you are gone.
If you are going overseas, leave photocopies of your passport with a neighbor in case you lose it while traveling.
Navigating airport security
Going through airport security is always going to be an exercise in humiliation, and there’s really no way to make it pretty. Be sure to allow extra time for TSA agents on power trips.
It’s a good idea to wear a jacket with zipper pockets so that you have some place to stow small items, like keys, phone, boarding pass, passport, and change, that you want to have on hand but not lose at the security gate. Zip these items in your jacket and put it on the conveyor.
Wear slip on shoes, like loafers, that don’t have to be unlaced and laced. Most people have to remove their shoes before a flight. Be sure your shirt doesn’t have spangles or any other metals that will get you hand frisked.
Be polite to TSA agents, even if they do insist on handling you. You don’t want to be the one who picks a fight with an agent and slows the line down even more. The experts at Southern Living tell us that choosing the line farthest to the left is the way to cut a minute or two off your time in airport lines.
Don’t forget that passengers are advised to be at the airport at least two hours early for an international flight. When planning overseas travel, make sure your connections allow time for customs and possible baggage searches.
Stay alert when out of town
Seeing the spires of a European city can fill us with childlike awe. And that thrill is what many of us travel for. But take care that you don’t get so caught up in sightseeing that you make yourself a target for pickpockets and muggers. Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Avoid crowds. When you can’t avoid a crowd, hang on to your wallet or purse.
Don’t flash wads of cash. When you need to withdraw money, look for a bank ATM with a security door. Take care to keep your wallet in a buttoned pocket or a zippered jacket pocket. If you need to take a substantial amount of cash with you, because you’re shoe or suit shopping, wear a money belt.
You can have a wonderful, spontaneous vacation without being the victim of crime. Take a few precautions, exercise common sense, and you’ll have the time of your life.