Are you heading out of town for the holidays? If so, there are a few things we think you should know, and do before you go; but, before we get into those, let me ask you this:
WOULD YOU PLACE A SIGN OUTSIDE YOUR HOME TELLING PEOPLE YOU ARE ON VACATION? NO? THEN WHY PUT IT ON A SOCIAL MEDIA SITE???
- Before you leave: Have good locks on all doors and windows, and USE THEM!
- Ask a neighbor to watch the house while you're away. It's a good idea to leave your vacation address and telephone number with family or a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.
- Never leave your house keys hidden outside your home.
- Stop all deliveries, or arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspapers and packages.
- Arrange for someone to mow your lawn, rake leaves and maintain the yard to give the home a lived-in look.
- Plug in timers to turn lights and a radio or television on and off at appropriate times. This helps to disguise the fact that you are away.
- Turn the bell or ringer on your telephone down low. If a burglar is around, he won't be alerted to your absence by a ringing phone.
- Don't announce your absence on answering machine messages.
- Leave your blinds, shades and curtains in a normal position. Don't close them unless that is what you do when you are home.
- Close and lock garage doors and windows. Ask a neighbor to occasionally park their car at your home as you normally would.
- Vehicles parked outside should be moved occasionally to appear that they are being used.
- Secure storage-sheds, attic entrances and gates.
- Tell your local police you plan to be away. Patrol officers may have the opportunity to periodically check your home. In Phoenix we have 'Patrol Watch', ask your precinct.
- Finally, let your neighbors know to call the police for suspicious activity. They should call 911 and let the officers check it out.
Hitting the Road! (Are we there yet?!)
Proper planning can make your trip more enjoyable and keep you safe. Use these tips to prepare for your next trip:
- If you are driving, make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced and is in suitable condition for the journey.
- Plan your trip carefully and allow for factors such as weather, fatigue, facilities for lodging, food, and fuel. Proper rest is the key to a successful journey!
- Keep a fully stocked first-aid kit and working flashlight in your vehicle. Pack some extra batteries for your trip, but do not always keep extra batteries in your vehicle, they do not store well in heat.
- Pack extra food and water in case your vehicle breaks down or you experience unforeseen delays.
- Have specific directions and routes to your destination.
- If you get lost, call the local police for directions or assistance.
- Keep your vehicle doors and windows locked.
- Be sure you have sufficient finances either cash, travelers checks or credit cards.
- Ask the hotel or motel staff about their security measures so you know what to expect.
- Use the hotel safe to store your valuables during your stay.
We highly recommend that you provide a neighbor, friend or family member details of your vacation. This includes: travel dates with a detailed itinerary, flight information or driving route, your vehicle color, make, model and license plate number, cell phone numbers and hotel information with phone numbers.
And remember, although cell phones are the easiest way to contact someone in an emergency, they do not work if they are not charged. Remember to pack your cell phone with car and home chargers.