Travel Safety: 6 Things to Do Before Your Getaway

Bert Maxwell's picture

Vacations are supposed to be when you get away from the stress and worry of daily life. You want to have fun and kick back while the real world goes on its merry way without you for a few days. The harsh truth is that the real world doesn't take a break for you or anyone else because you're on vacation. Disasters can still happen, houses get robbed, and cars are stolen right from the driveway or airport long term parking. The last thing anyone wants to do after coming home from a lovely vacation is filling out police reports.

So, before you leave, take a few simple precautions to keep your property and information safe. 

Travel Safety: 6 Things to Do Before Your Getaway

Put Your Mail on Hold

One old tell-tell signs burglars look for when casing homes to rob is lots of mail or newspapers building up in mailboxes or the front porch. It's a sure sign that not only is nobody home but that they're also gone for a while. Keep your home from being a target for thieves by putting your mail delivery on hold. It is the Post Office, so you will need to give them about a week’s notice. (Seriously?) Your mail will begin its regular arrival again at the date you specified, and you can go pick up your held mail at the Post Office at your convenience, or you can ask for it to be delivered to your door. The same can be done for newspaper subscriptions.

Travel Safety: 6 Things to Do Before Your Getaway

Hire a House Sitter

Another sign thieves look for in houses to rob is a lack of activity. A couple of days of the porch light is left on 24/7 and the car not moving tell the bad guys that no one is home. A house sitter, even if they’re only there a few hours every other day will create signs of activity that can make robbers think twice about breaking into your home. 

Travel Safety: 6 Things to Do Before Your Getaway

Store Your Valuables

It may hurt to lose your 65 inch 4K TV to thieves, but finding out they took an irreplaceable keepsake like your great grandmother’s wedding ring is what will hit the hardest. Put the precious and irreplaceable things in a bank safe deposit box for your trip. It is also a good idea to put relevant documents like birth certificates, tax returns, bank account info, or anything with valuable personal information on it in the safe deposit box as well. Private information like this is often worth more than any piece of electronics or jewelry. 

Travel Safety: 6 Things to Do Before Your Getaway

Request a Police Vacation Check

Most police and sheriff departments, on request, will periodically check on a vacationing resident’s home. Even if thieves think you’re gone, the extra police presence is going to give them second thoughts. Different departments have different procedures to get the ball rolling on vacation checks, so get in touch with the police or sheriff's office a couple of weeks before your departure date. 

Tell Your Neighbors

Let your neighbors know that you’ll be on vacation for a couple of weeks, and ask them to keep an eye on things for you while you’re gone. Include letting the Neighborhood Watch know as well if there is one since that will get even more eyes on your home. Your neighbors can help in other ways like turning on and off lights to give the appearance of activity in your house, gathering the mail in case the Post Office doesn’t actually hold it, or even parking their in your driveway so that it looks like someone’s home.

Learn About Your Destination

Your and your family’s personal safety begins with you. One thing to help ensure that is to learn about where you’re going. The security at a reasonable and reputable hotel or all-inclusive resort will be more than adequate to keep you safe. Still, there will be places you want to go and sights to see that aren’t within that safe haven. Learn about the customs, crime statistics, and how foreigners or non-residents are treated by the general population. Cities and countries that rely on tourism will generally try and avoid hurting their primary source of revenue, but that isn’t always the case. 

Travel Safety: 6 Things to Do Before Your Getaway

This would also be an excellent time to research local wildlife and weather. The first thing people usually think about is sharks or other big predators, but they aren’t a real problem. It would be smarter to see how much of a problem the mosquitos are, and what other natural hazards you need to be concerned with. As for the weather, keep in mind that other places can have cold winters and suffer heat waves, too. If you have problems in extreme weather, be sure the facilities at your vacation destination can help you get through the worst of it.