More important than picking your destination, planning your trip or the actual travel itself is taking steps necessary to insure your safety.
The first step is to insure that you properly secure your house before you leave.
Never post comments on social media that you are leaving on a trip. That’s a sure fire way to bring attention to yourself. “Hey robbers we’re not home so go ahead and break in now because I won’t know any better.” Tell only your closest friends and family members that you are going away and give them a copy of your itinerary. Be cautious about announcing that you are going away. For instance, when you are going to the store to pick up some last minute things before your trip don’t open your mouth and tell the clerk checking you out that you are leaving. You never know who you are talking to and who might be listening around you.
Make your home look inhabited. Put your lights on timers that go off and on at different times everyday, try to avoid them going off and on at the same times so it appears more natural. Stop delivery of the mail and newspapers if you don’t have someone to pick them up. Make sure your trash cans aren’t left at the curb either.
When we go away we like to have someone stay at our house to pet-sit. It keeps things more status-quo, saves the expense of boarding the pets and deters would-be burglars from trying to break in. No burglar wants to confront a 110 pound Bulldog, Boxer, Pitbull mix, he’s a little intimating!
Make sure all you valuables are locked up and put in a secure place. Don’t be obvious and put them in your underwear drawer, under your mattress or in your nightstand. Make an inventory of your belongings and give a copy to a friend or family member not living with you. A video works well and it’s fairly easy to do. Make sure your homeowners insurance is up to date and you have proper protection in case of a break in.
Use an alarm and video surveillance systems. Using these in conjunction with locking your doors, windows can make it much more difficult for someone to break in. You can get a pretty decent system for less than $500 now. Think like a robber to avoid being taken advantage of. Here is a great article explaining how to outsmart the burglar. Keeping your alarm system on a battery backup can also be very valuable in the event you have a power outage. Also, alert the alarm company you are going out of town so they can monitor any activity.
Make sure your circuit breaker box is locked at all times. Previously I lived on a corner unit villa and the circuit breaker box was facing the road which made it very easy for someone to walk by and turn off my power. Keep it locked so no one can get access to it.
Here are a couple of other quick tips:
- Park your car in the garage and have a neighbor park there car in your driveway.
- Make sure your blinds are closed.
- Remove any spare keys you have outside.
- Unplug non-essential electronics.
- Turn off water
- Switch water heater to vacation mode.
- Hire someone to cut grass or remove snow.
Tips to stay safe while in the airport
The likelihood of a terrorist attack happening in an airport nowadays is pretty small but it doesn’t mean it can’t happen. In case you hear a loud noise it’s always best to move away from the noise not towards it. It sounds pretty obvious but humans are a curious creature and when we hear something unfamiliar or loud our natural instinct is to go towards it to check it out.
Try to get through security as fast as possible. If some kind of attack was to happen it most likely would happen in the areas not screened by security.
Avoid heavily congested areas where people gather like ticket counters and kiosks, baggage claim, waiting at curbside for your ride etc. Criminals are more likely to target larger groups of people to the most harm. This is also where pick-pockets like to hang out. They are less likely to draw attention to themselves by “accidentally” bumping into you in a large crowd like they would if you were standing by yourself.
Have your necessary items easily accessible before you arrive at the airport. I like to have my drivers licence, small amount of cash, boarding passes and cell phone easy to get to before I even step foot in the airport. Don’t let anyone see you fumbling through your wallet or purse for tip money for the skycap, keep it easy to get to.
This should go without saying but keep your personal belongings in your possession at all times. Don’t leave them unattended at any time. Especially while using the restroom, waiting in line for food or baggage claim. You hear these messages being played over the loud speaker all the time but so many of us don’t pay attention to these things.
Stay alert, don’t be distracted by cell phones, your children or what others are doing. It happens all to often in today’s society; people have their eyes on their phone and not on their surroundings. Always stay alert and aware of whats going on around you.
Keep your important valuables on your possession when on the plane. Don’t put your wallet or purse in your carry-on bag stowed in the overhead compartment. It is all too easy for someone to walk off with it, even if it’s by accident.
I prefer to sit on an isle seat so I can see the activity of others while flying. I like to keep my family in the inside seats whenever possible. Don’t leave your valuables or electronics easily accessible for a thief when you get up to go to the bathroom. Make sure everything is put away securely before you get up.
The isle is very crowded when everyone is getting off the plane, people are very close together, bumping into one another is not uncommon and usually expected so make sure all your personal items are secure before you get up. Make sure bags are zipped and you have all your belongings together and you have yourself composed and ready to exit the plane without troubles.
Next, I will discuss how to stay as safe as possible while on vacation.