Vacation Safety Tips - August 1st 2003
Vacations, whether alone or with the entire family, have become part of our way of life. Vacations are supposed to be a time for fun and relaxation. A time to "get away from it all." Unfortunately, there is no vacation spot in the world that is 100% safe from criminal activities. Therefore, the crime prevention measures that you incorporate into your daily routine must be incorporated into your vacation planning.
Do not develop a false sense of security just because you are on vacation. Actually you should develop a greater awareness to your surroundings while in unfamiliar territory. Don't let your vacation be ruined by becoming another crime statistic. The following precautions will help you to have a safe and enjoyable vacation.
Before You Leave Home:
Plan your trip and give the itinerary with emergency phone numbers to a trusted friend or neighbour.
Place identification tags on the inside and outside of your luggage. Use your first initial and last name only.
Install good locks on your doors and windows and be sure to use them.
Remove all exterior "hidden" house keys.
Make sure all valuables are engraved with your driver's license number.
Make a record of your credit card and travelers check numbers and keep it in a safe place.
Arrange for a friend or neighbour to pick up your mail, packages and newspapers on a daily basis. You can also stop delivery of both for the time you will be gone.
Make arrangements to have your lawns mowed and watered.
Use timers for interior lights and radios. Make your house look "lived in."
Give your local law enforcement agency the dates that you will be out of town. As time permits, they may conduct extra patrols of your neighbourhood.
Make arrangements for the care of your pets.
Purchase a prepaid phone card if necessary.
Prior to any long distance motor vehicle trips, have your vehicle serviced by a reputable mechanic.
Never carry large amounts of cash, use travelers checks.
Always be aware of your surroundings.
Always check the interior of your vehicle before entering.
Do not stop and assist a stranded motorist. Go to the nearest phone booth and call for help.
Never let your gas tank get below one-fourth full.
Use well traveled roads, avoid shortcuts.
Keep your doors locked and windows up at all times.
Do not pick up hitchhikers.
Never advertise your plans for strangers. If you think you are being followed, drive to the nearest populated area telephone and call the police.
Always park in well lighted areas.
Always carry your purse or wallet with you.
Keep your valuables out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk.
Engrave your car stereo, car phone and other removable items with your driver's license number.
Avoid late night driving.
If lost, stop at a well lighted service station for directions.
At The Hotel:
Unpack and arrange your belongings so you can tell if anything is missing.
Lock your suitcases so they can't be used to carry your property out of your room.
Always take your cash, credit cards and car keys with you when leaving your room.
Do not open your door to strangers. Look through the door viewer before opening your door.
Do not leave jewelry, cameras or other expensive items lying around your room. Use the hotel safe to store your valuables and extra cash.
Always use the hotel's auxiliary locking devices on the doors and windows. Consider purchasing and using portable locks and alarm devices.
When leaving, if the maid has cleaned your room, hang the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the outside of the door.
When you go out, leave a light and the radio turned on.
Take your room keys with you. Do not leave them at the front desk.
Be aware of your surroundings. Notify the management of any suspicious persons in the area.
Do not give out your room number to strangers.
Report any missing items to hotel management and the police.
There is safety in numbers. Tours should be taken with a group. Verify the tour agency or guide is reputable.
Be wary of strangers who ask a lot of questions about you and your vacation plans.
Never carry large amounts of cash. Leave what you don't need in the hotel safe. Separate the larger bills from the smaller ones in order to avoid flashing all your bills in full public view.
Stay in public areas. Do not wander off from your tour group.
Looking lost will make you an easy target for crime. If you need directions ask a service station attendant. Do not ask pedestrians directions.
If renting a car, consider covering the car rental agency's name or logo with masking tape. A rented car is a good indication that you are a tourist.
Before leaving the hotel, ask if there are any areas in town that should be avoided.
Travel brochures and maps are a good indication that you are a tourist. When not in use, keep them in the glove compartment.
Remember, vacation planning, thought, and security awareness will reduce your chances of becoming the next victim of a crime.