Travel Safely This Summer

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Vacations are for reducing stress, not adding to it. Unfortunately, things can happen to make any vacation a stressful experience, no matter how beautiful the locale or destination.

6 Essential Travel Tips

  1. Make Copies of Your ID and Passport: Make two photocopies of your license or passport in case either is lost or stolen. Bring one copy and store it separately from your original, and leave another with a friend or relative. The U.S. Government also offers the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals traveling abroad. The program permits enrollment with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, which can assist during an emergency such as a lost or stolen passport.

  2. Streamline Your Wallet: Lost wallets are the leading cause of identity theft. Only carry the card(s) you plan to use on your trip, and leave your checkbook and the rest of your cards at home. If you decide to bring more than one credit card, consider stashing the extra, along with account information and customer service numbers for the cards you have with you, in a hotel safe or other secure location.

  3. Check Out Guides: Before you book that zip-lining, parasailing or river rafting trip, check online for any customer reviews. Seeing what others have to say about the company and the excursion can help you choose a safe and well-run adventure.

  4. Travel like a Local: When visiting any location, know your surroundings and plan your route in advance. Be aware of how the locals talk and dress, and consider whether certain actions will make you stand out as a tourist.

  5. Check the Weather: Into every life—and vacation—a little rain must fall, so take steps to protect yourself from lightning, hail, thunderstorms and severe weather by monitoring the local weather and packing the appropriate gear. Also, keep tabs on the weather at home to make sure your property is protected.

  6. Avoid Oversharing Online: Posting photos or checking in on social media sites advertises your absence from home. Real-time updates can be tempting, but wait until you return safely home before sharing your adventures.

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Preparing Your Home for Vacation

Vacation is for fun and relaxation. Help save yourself some worry about what could be happening at home by protecting it from theft and damage while you are away. Here is a checklist we have developed to help you have a relaxing and peaceful vacation.

  • Make sure all electrical appliances are turned off.

  • Clean the refrigerator of all perishable foods, and take out the garbage.

  • Lock all windows and doors.

  • Arrange to have the newspaper and mail held until your return, or have them picked up by a trusted neighbor.

  • Arrange to have your lawn mowed (or snow shoveled) while you are away. Ask a neighbor to set out your trash on collection day and then retrieve empty cans and recycling bins the same day.

  • Let a trusted neighbor know you will be away and have them keep an eye on your home. It is a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.

  • Never leave your house key hidden outside your home.

  • Set timers on interior lights.

  • Make sure to unplug televisions, computers and appliances susceptible to lightning and power surges.

  • Advise your alarm company and local police if you will be gone for an extended period.

  • Store jewelry and valuable items in a safe-deposit box.

  • Arrange for the care of pets.

  • Set the heating system to provide minimum heat of 55 degrees.