The mercury is rising, and after a long winter, many people are beginning to feel stir crazy. The snow kept us indoors for months, and now we’re craving changes of scenery.
If you and your family plan to trade the winter blues for sand between your toes and waves crashing over your beach chair, be sure to follow these tips for a safe, stress-free spring vacation.
Keep your home safe.
Departing for an adventure after many months of cold and dreary weather is undoubtedly exciting. So exciting, in fact, that you may be tempted to post about your travel plans on social media. Don’t. Especially if your profile is public, posting about being away from home can let burglars know that it’s a good time to ransack your home and take any valuables you’ve left behind.
Tell a trusted neighbor you’ll be on vacation so they can keep an eye on your place. Let the police know as well so they can drive by periodically. They can alert you if anything looks suspicious or out of place and nip any problems in the bud.
Make sure all doors and windows are locked before you take off. Also, stop your mail for the length of time you’ll be away and consider investing in a light timer. Homes with piles of mail and newspapers, combined with lights constantly off or on, can signal that your home is an ideal target for burglaries.
Protect your identity.
According to statistics gathered by Experian’s ProtectMYID identity theft awareness program, 39% of Americans experienced some form of identity theft while traveling in 2015, a nine percent increase from the year before. Although it’s a real threat, there are precautions you can take to decrease your risk of being a victim.
Be wary of using a shared Internet connection when traveling, especially when accessing private information, such as checking your bank account. Public WiFi offered at many airports can be decrypted, giving hackers easy access to your personal information. If you absolutely need to log on to an unprotected hotspot, limit activity to casual communication.
Watch your wallet.
Many thieves engage in electronic pickpocketing to steal your credit card information without ever laying hands on your wallet. Through Radio Frequency Information technology (RFID), pickpocketers can simply wave an electronic scanner near your purse or pocket, activate the RFID chip embedded in your credit card and download your information within seconds. Since carrying your credit cards is a necessary part of travel, consider purchasing a RFID-blocking money belt or wallet. Made with a special material that can block electronic scanners, these wallets can stop thieves in their tracks and keep your information safe.
Renting a car?
If renting a car during your trip is necessary, check with your insurance provider to make sure that your auto policy will cover you in case of any mishaps.
If you’re traveling abroad, bear in mind that some countries may require you to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). An IDP translates the license issued in your country of residence into another language, allowing you to rent a vehicle and drive on foreign soil. If you’re not sure if an IDP is necessary, check with the consulate of the country you’re visiting. Finally, study the rules of the road in your destination country in order to maintain safe driving habits while abroad.
No matter where your destination is, enjoy your time away worry-free by following these simple safety tips.