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Vacation Planning Safety Tips

June 08, 2017
Planning a vacation? Here are some safety tips to keep in mind before you travel:
 
Plan Your VacationYour Destination:
  • Do your research. Consider the area you are visiting and familiarize yourself before you arrive. Save emergency numbers for local services in your phone ahead of time.

  • If traveling out of the country, make sure you know where the U.S. Embassy is in the country you are traveling to in case you need to make a trip for a lost passport.

  • If you are traveling out of the country, you might want to register with STEP which allows you to let the U.S. Embassy know you are in that area:
    • Lets you receive important information about the safety conditions of the destination country.
    • Helps the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency, whether natural disaster, civil unrest, or a family emergency.
    • Helps family and friends get in touch with you in an emergency.
    • You can find the enrollment link to STEP on the following site along with other helpful information: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go.html

Your Home:
  • Before leaving, consider having your mail and newspapers held so they aren’t filling your mailbox while you are gone.

  • Always let someone know how to get in touch with you in case something would happen at your home.

  • Before you leave, make sure your windows and doors are locked and secure. Watch your garage door completely close before exiting your driveaway. 

  • Make sure your house looks “normal” while you’re away:
    • If you usually park a car in the driveway, make sure one is still there when you leave.
    • If you leave certain lights on at night, make sure those same lights are left on while you’re away.
    • Have someone check on your house.
    • Set out the trash for your normal garbage pick-up if possible. 

Road TripYour Vehicle:
  • Make sure your vehicle is in good working order and check it carefully. Go for a tune-up. Have your tires, battery, belts, fluids, and A/C checked by a mechanic.

  • Make sure you have a copy of your auto insurance card in your vehicle.

  • Have an emergency plan in place in case you have vehicle trouble. Make sure you have extra oil, a functional jack, a good spare, and know how to use them. Emergency road flares and snacks are also good to have. Pack walking shoes in case your breakdown happens off the beaten path.

  • Pack road games for the kids and patience... pack LOTS of patience.

  • Renting a car for vacation? Wondering if you need the insurance they offer? Check with your agent as your own car's insurance policy may cover rental vehicles. 

Your Money & Identification:
  • Strongly consider alerting your bank that you will be traveling and where. Otherwise, an unusual spending pattern from an out-of-state or out-of-country location may get a “hold” placed on your credit card. Those can normally be removed quickly but only if the bank can find you to alert you of the hold being placed.

  • Lighten your wallet. Only carry the card(s) you plan to use. Leave the rest at home.

  • Don’t forget to carry your insurance cards and your photo ID.

  • Make copies of your ID and passport in case either is lost or stolen. Bring one copy with you and store it away from your original and leave the other with a friend.

  • Make sure you have a list of all your credit/debit card numbers and their customer service numbers before leaving just in case you need to report them as lost or stolen.

Your Stuff:
  • Make a list of items you need to take and check them off before you leave home.

  • Pack as lightly as possible. Lots of heavy, cumbersome bags will slow you down and make you more vulnerable target for theft.

  • Pack a first aid kit. Bumps and scrapes are to be expected, especially with kids.

  • Don’t forget to pack sunscreen. You don't want a sunburn on day one of your sunny vacation to ruin the rest of your trip.

  • If going to the beach with kids for a week and the weather is forecasting rain for several days, make sure you take plenty of games and movies.

  • Make sure to keep all prescription medications organized with labels. You may also need the prescription bottle if you're flying or traveling internationally.
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