Chances are you’re hoping to hit the open road or friendly skies, taking a family trip before the school year begins again. Following a few tips for safe traveling and securing your home before you go will ensure peace of mind and help you make the most fun memories. Here, we’ve shared our favorite safe travel and security tips for on the road, at the airport, in the hotel, and for business travel – so that you return home safe and sound.
Stay Safe on Your Family Road Trip
Planning a family vacation by car requires specific steps to ensure both you and your vehicle are ready for the road.
- Get Your Car Ready for the Trip – Have your vehicle checked and maintenance done. Make sure you have a spare tire and a way to change it; all of your insurance and registration information; and an emergency car kit, which is a good idea if you’re renting a car as well.
- Make the Most of your Rental Car – Before you hit the road, go over the basics of the car’s operation. Know how to use the headlights, hazard lights, windshield wipers, and locks. Get instructions about what to do in case the car breaks down or you have an accident. Have clear directions for where you are going before you leave the parking lot so that you’re not distracted once you’re driving.
- Prepare for the Unknown – If you get lost, only stop in well-lit, populated areas to check your location and route.
- Review your Insurance Policy – Know what’s covered before you might need it, such as towing or locksmiths.
Take Advantage of your Home Security System
If you have a home security system that is professionally monitored, includes remote access, and security cameras, remember, you can keep an eye on home from the road and stay connected. You can also use many of your security system’s features to increase the security of your home while it’s unoccupied. Before you go:
- Make sure house sitters or neighbors who might check on your home, plants or pets know how to operate your alarm system, which can help avoid false alarms.
- It’s also a great time to make sure the emergency contacts listed on your alarm service account are up to date. Take a few minutes to check in with your alarm company for added peace of mind while traveling.
- If your alarm system includes a mobile app, along with smart home or a home automation solutions, one of the easiest ways to prevent break-ins while you’re away is to remotely control lights and sound systems, making your home appear occupied.
- Ask your alarm provider if they offer a doorbell camera so that you can always see who’s visiting and even speak with them, sharing that you’re home but unable to come to the door.
- Secure your home with our easy home security tips easy home security tips whether you have a system or not.
Follow Basic Travel Tips for Family Vacations and Business Travel
No one likes to think an emergency or accident will happen while you’re away. But your chances of staying safe on the road and enjoying your trip increase if you plan for anything and prepare ahead.
- Stay Connected – It seems simple, but make sure your cell phone is with you at all times, and that it’s charged. Always pack a spare battery and charger.
- Always Know Where the Safest Exit is in Your Hotel or Event Venue – When checking in or arriving at an event, review the exit locations. Most hotels post a map on the back of their room doors, and buildings should have well-lit exit signs.
- Ensure Someone Knows Your Travel Plans – It’s wise to have others know where you’re going and when you’ll return as well as how to contact you or family members if needed. Tell a trusted friend or family member your travel itinerary and how to reach you. Make plans to check in frequently. This is important for everyone but especially if you’re traveling alone.
- Don’t Flash Cash or Valuables, and Use Your Hotel Safe – Don’t show off a lot of money when paying. Keep your cash separated, with some spending money easily accessible and the rest is hidden or in your safe. If the safe in your hotel room doesn’t appear secure, ask to lock valuables in the hotel’s safe. Get a written receipt for your items and ask about the coverage for the loss. Also, be mindful of your surroundings when using your cell phone or accessing your wallet. Thieves love to grab cell phones and bags on trains, for example, and run off at the next stop.
Know These Top Hotel Safety and Security Tips
Because you’ll make your hotel or resort your home away from home, follow these basic hotel security measures to protect your valuables and family once you arrive.
- Avoid staying in rooms that open onto the street or on ground level if possible.
- Keep your room number secure. Also, don’t place your credit card on the front desk in plain view when checking in.
- Use the peephole and security latch before opening the door to any visitors. If it’s someone claiming to be maintenance or housekeeping, have them wait outside while you call the front desk to confirm they need access.
- Avoid being alone on the property, especially at night. Ask a security officer to accompany you.
- After you check in, have a bellhop escort you to your room while you check that it’s secure.
- Know how to dial an outside line from your room in case you need help.
- Leave the “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door even when you’re out.
- Use the deadbolt and security latch even when you’re in the room – especially while sleeping or in the shower.
- Keep a flashlight on your nightstand in case there’s an alarm during the night or power loss.
- Keep the hotel address and phone number near the phone and with you at all times. This way, you’ll have the name and address if you need help or if you get lost while out and about.
Plan for Safety During International Travel with your Family or on Business Trips
Traveling overseas or across a border can be especially fun but also requires unique planning and security measures. Make the most of your international getaway with this safe travel list.
- Allow Plenty of Time to Apply for a Passport or Brush up on Requirements – Visit the U.S Department of State for and updates. If your passport or a family member’s passport is close to its expiration, you’ll want to understand the rules for entering and exiting certain countries within six months of the expiration date. Check what other documents you might need. For example, if you are traveling alone with children, foreign border officials may require custody documents or written consent from the other parent. Check with the embassy of your foreign destination before traveling.
- Study your International Destination – The U.S. State Department provides updated safety information for every country in the world – from which vaccinations you need and the local laws to any travel warnings. They also offer a free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program(STEP), where you can register your travel plans. In the event of a natural disaster, an emergency back home or civil unrest, they will be able to contact you with updates and helpful information.
- Understand your Travel Insurance Needs – If your health insurance does not cover you abroad, look into supplemental insurance. Learn more at Your Health Abroad. Also, consider your coverage options for trip interruption/cancellation and loss or theft.
- Keep your Health in Mind – Along with prescription drugs, pack over-the-counter medications so you can start treatment at the first sign of illness. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) provide recommendations for vaccinations and other travel health precautions for your trip abroad. It’s also a good idea to get a letter from your doctor for medications you pack. Some countries have strict laws, even against over-the-counter medications. Read about your destination before you go.
- Pack Carefully and Take Safety Steps at the Airport – Don’t pack your passport or any critical items, such as medicines, eyeglasses, etc., in luggage that you plan to check in – your bags could be lost or stolen. Never let your bags out of your sight, even on the security scan conveyor belt. Ensure contact information on your luggage tags is hidden from plain view.
- Make Copies of Important Documents – Take a picture with your cell phone or scan a copy of your passport and credit card information. Email the copies to yourself and leave a copy in a safe place at home or with a friend. Keep printed copies with you as well but separate from the originals. This will make replacing your passport or credit card easier if these items are lost or stolen.
- Learn Local Emergency Numbers – Our familiar 911 is not available everywhere. Learn the local emergency numbers and save them on your phone on in your pocket. Always know where the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate is and keep the address and phone number with you.
- Respect Your Host Country and Its Customs – Become familiar with and respect the local laws and customs of the country you’re visiting, including proper attire and forbidden areas.
- Know How Your Cell Phone Works Overseas – Visit with your provider about international options before you go so you understand how the service works and related charges.
- Prepare for Smart Spending and Payment Options – Before you go, notify your bank and credit card company of your travel. For information about using cash, debit/credit cards, and ATMs, review specifics about your destination.
Being prepared, vigilant, and aware throughout your trip planning and while traveling will go a long way in keeping you safe whether vacationing or on a business trip security. Be sure to share these safe travel tips with your travel companions. Then, enjoy your time away. No doubt, you’ve earned it!
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