Most travelers never really experience anything more than a few minor problems like getting lost, forgetting to pack sunscreen or catching a bit of indigestion from eating too much.
Here is a list of preparation and safety tips to help you avoid any more serious problems while traveling or worse, becoming a victim of a crime:
Home preparation and safety
The first and most import points before you leave home are to make sure your home is safe and secure. There are certain things that are necessary you should do to make sure your home is protected so you will have a piece of mind and no worries.
· Make sure all doors and windows including the garage area is locked and secured.
· Leave your shades, curtains and blinds in their normal positions.
· Put lighting inside and outside on timers.
· Put a radio or TV on a timer or just leave the radio on and keeping it tuned to one of the talk shows instead of music is a good idea.
· Tell a neighbor that you will be gone and leave a key with them in case of an emergency. Have a neighbor pick up any mail or have the post office hold your mail, cancel the news papers or have the neighbor pick them up.
· Have someone maintain your property, mow the lawn or shovel snow off the driveway.
· Have someone park a car in your driveway.
· Ask your local Police department if they have what is called, “Vacation Check” so the Police can make periodical checks on your house.
Self/family preparation and safety
Packing and making sure you have everything, all your proper papers and necessities are very important.
· Make a packing list depending on where you are going and pack accordingly.
· When packing, do not pack valuables is luggage. It is a known fact that luggage handlers, bellman and others search through your luggage and steal your valuables. Keep any valuables in a separate bag and carry them with you. Store them in Hotel safes once you have arrived.
· Photo copy all your tickets, identification, passport, credit cards and travelers checks. Give the copy to a family member or friend for safe keeping.
· Make sure you pack enough prescription medication.
· Make sure to clean out your wallet/purse of important items and cards that you do not need.
· Research the areas you will be traveling and make sure you know where you are going. Download or obtain maps and guides of the area.
· Find out before hand if there is a departure tax and how much it is.
· Learn the money exchange and familiarize yourself with the various denominations to avoid giving away too much money or not getting back enough change.
· Get required vaccinations early to avoid traveling with any ill side effects.
On the road preparation and safety
Driving yourself across country or to a far away destination for some is a major part of the trip and making sure everything is in order and in tip top shape is a necessary.
· Make sure your car, bus or RV is in top shape so you do not have any break downs.
· Carry a cell phone or CB radio.
· If you break down turn on your flashers and raise the hood. If a stranger stops to help stay in your locked car and ask them to call the Police.
· Plan your route carefully. Have maps or invest in a Global Positioning System (GPS) to help guide you.
· Give your traveling route to a family member or friend.
· When you park your car at a rest stop do not leave the car alone, take turns staying with the car.
· Obey the rules of the road, avoid any road rage confrontations and be a courteous driver.
Hotel/Motel preparation and safety
· Remove your entire luggage from your car when you stay overnight at a Hotel/Motel. Do not even leave anything in the trunk because a thief knows you hide it there.
· Do not leave luggage unattended at the Hotel/Motel if you cannot go to your room immediately.
· The front desk clerk should not mention your room number aloud, if he does, request a new room.
· Do not enter the room if the door is ajar.
· Check the entire room including closets, behind curtains, under the beds and the shower to make sure no one is hiding or that there is nothing that is not supposed to be there.
· Do not leave valuables is your room. Keep them in the Hotel safe.
· Check your belongings daily and arrange your possession in such a way that you will be able to tell someone has gone through them or something is missing.
· Use all the extra locks on the door.
· Do not sit in your room with the door wide open.
· Report any suspicious activity to the management.
· Make sure you know the name, address and phone number of the Hotel/Motel you are staying at.
Touring preparation and safety
A tourist can be obvious to spot and attract opportunists who may think it easy to to take advantage.
· Have a plan of what to do, where to call or meet in case someone gets lost.
· Learn about the city you are in. Ask the Hotel/Motel desk what problem areas to avoid. You can also contact to the local Police department.
· Limit what you carry on your person, in your wallet or purse. Keep only two credit cards, your ID and carry just enough cash for what you need in small bills.
· Select sightseeing companies, drivers and guides carefully.
· Avoid advertising that you are a tourist by the way you dress.
· Keep a close eye on the property you are carrying and do not put down camera cases, back packs or items and then turn away. Thieves are waiting for you to make this mistake.
· Avoid any overly friendly con artists willing to help you, asking you for change or directions.
It is a sad day when a vacationer or tourist contacts me to report that they have been a victim of crime. Taking the necessary precautions, learning these safety tips and planning your trip will help you avoid becoming an unnecessary victim of a crime and enjoy a safer travel.
Article also posted on Triond.com by Scott Hallock