We don’t usually travel during the holidays, but this year we will be. There are some important things to do ahead of time to travel safety as well as safety tips to use while you’re traveling. I thought while I’m planning what we’ll be doing on our trip, I’d share a few of these tips with you.
Protecting Your Home and Pets
The first is never tell the Internet when you’ll be gone and where you’ll be going. I know it’s cool to post you’re embarking on an exciting trip to your Facebook and Twitter friends, but do you actually know all of them? The fewer people who know you’ll be gone, the better. If you have teens, ask that they not share the information as well.
Next, schedule someone to stay at your home or to check in on it regularly. Be sure they know your home alarm information and how to handle a false alarm. Also, leave a note of where the water and gas shut-off valves are and who they can contact if you’re not reachable to make major decisions for you.
If they are caring for your pets, be sure they know about their special needs, allergies, and where to take them in the case of illness or injury. And even more importantly, how much money they’re authorized to spend on the pet on your behalf. Why? Well, things can happen you never imagined. For instance, my sister was caring for a kitten that swallowed a threaded needle. The surgery was thousands of dollars, and the kitty didn’t survive the incident. Unfortunately, the owners couldn’t be reached, and my sister wanted to error on the side of caution, so she opted for the surgery. Sadly, the kitten didn’t survive. The cat’s parents came home to a hefty vet bill and then had to deal with the loss of their beloved pet as well.
Protecting Your Identity
So now that you’re ready to travel you’re not out of the woods when it comes to safety. You still need to safeguard your money and your identity – many times they’re one in the same. Lose your debit/credit card, and you’ve just lost some valuable information that can be used fraudulently.
While you’re traveling, be aware of your surroundings. Pay attention to people milling about the entrances to hotels, restaurants, parks, etc. Thieves look for individuals who aren’t paying attention to their belongings like their luggage, purse, shopping bags, etc. Also take note of ATMs and registers. Look for tampering before you swipe your debit or credit card. Thieves are putting skimming devices at these point-of-sale locations which are inserted right into the slot, so when you swipe your card, you’re actually giving the criminals all of your information.
Keep your receipts for all of your transactions, so you have something to fall back on should your bank contact you to verify charges. Before you set out on your journey, take a moment to log onto your online banking account (or call your bank) and update your contact information. They can’t notify you of possible fraud if they don’t have your email address and current phone number which is what happened to me while I was in Florida enjoying Walt Disney World. I tried to buy a soda at one of the shops, and my card was declined. It turns out my bank balked at the out-of-state charges and so they emailed and called me to inquire if it was me. But my contact information was old, and they couldn’t reach me, so they shut off my access to my bank account.
Thankfully it just took a call from me to get my card reactivated, but if it had been a criminal using my card, they could have racked up some serious charges because I hadn’t bothered to update my contact information. Now that can be done online as well as letting the bank know I’m traveling, so I don’t have to worry about losing access to my money while I’m off enjoying the sights.
I hope these tips help. Please, travel safely, be aware, prepare, and be well!