Amidst of the excitement and commotion that summer brings, we often forget to take precautions when traveling. Before you leave for vacation, the National Crime Prevention Council reminds you that crime doesn’t take a vacation. According to the FBI’s latest National Crime Victimization Survey and Uniform Crime Report, every 12 seconds a home is invaded resulting in 6,646 break-ins every day and over 3.5 million burglaries per year. To make your trip enjoyable, NCPC has compiled summer travel safety tips.
Research Your Destination
- Plan in advance; know where to go and how to get around.
- Only take the credit cards you absolutely need.
- Don’t carry cash, carry traveler’s checks.
- Before leaving make sure everyone in your party knows where to meet in case of being separated, especially children.
Secure Your Home
- Lock all windows and doors. Also, don’t forget to lock the garage door.
- Use variable automatic timers on a few lights to give the impression that someone is home.
- Ask the post office to hold your mail or ask a trusted friend or neighbor to collect it while you are away.
- Use motion-detection lights outside and trim hedges to reduce potential hiding places for burglars.
Communicate Your Plans
- Leave your contact information with a trusted individual in case problems were to arise at home.
- Make sure everyone in your party knows the contact information of this individual in case someone is separated from your party and cannot reach someone at the destination.
- Confirm all hotel reservations before you leave
- Teach children to go out to play in groups. Groups are less likely to be approached by strangers.
- Set boundaries where kids can or cannot play.
- Know where your kids will be at all times and with whom they are playing.
- Never leave your luggage unattended. It takes only a moment for someone to snatch it up or confuse it for his/her own.
- When traveling by car, lock your vehicle at all times, especially at gas stations, rest areas, or other public facilities.
If Traveling Abroad
The FBI advises that if you are traveling abroad it is important to only take documents that are necessary and to leave at home copies of the ones you are taking with you. In case documents are stolen, this would make it easier to replace them. They also advise to report your lost or stolen passport immediately to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
In the hotel room
- Never leave your room key unattended where it could be picked up by a stranger, such as at a restaurant or pool.
- Don’t leave rooms unlocked. Insist that everyone carry his or her keys when outside the room.
Using Technology to Your Advantage
Even though one of the cardinal rules of vacationing is to leave your cell phone at home, it may come in handy when you find yourself lost, or in the case of an emergency. There are several mobile apps designed to ensure safe and easy travels such as different GPS and monitoring systems. There are also apps that allow you to silently contact emergency help if you are in a dangerous situation
Using Public Wi-Fi
When using public Wi-Fi make sure it is from a trusted source. Personal information can be extracted through unsecure, public connections, which can often be fakes. Through these connections opportunists could monitor the data you send and receive.