Travel Safe ----- that means you have to work on the safe part before you get to the travel part. I’m talking about preparing your home for safety and security before you ever leave your home. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on home security systems from ADT or Brinks.You can protect your home just as effectively with some great do it yourself home security. These are easy to use, easy to install and very effective; some great home security systems for just pennies a day. You’ll want to know that your home is safe while your away. Studies have shown that a large percentage of crimes are being committed in peoples homes. In addition, you’ll be preparing you and your family to travel safe while on your vacation as well.

Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, you’ll want to know that things are safe and secure while you’re away. I know that in the excitement of thinking about those beaches or mountains, the cruise ship, the road trip or whatever your holiday entails, it’s easy to overlook taking a few moments to make that travel checklist and check it twice. You don’t want to be lounging on a beach somewhere when suddenly you think, “Did I remember to unplug that curling iron? Did I lock the back door?” So here are my tips to travel safe.

Check that you’ve not left any appliances on, curling irons, hot rollers, clothes iron, ovens, stove tops burners, furnace, TV, stereo. You may even want to unplug some of those items to be really sure things are safe at home. I have read that they use electricity even when turned off if they are still plugged into the wall socket. Who knew?

Don’t go telling everyone you’ll be gone for 2 weeks. Don’t leave an outgoing message on you answering machine like; “I’m in the beautiful Bahamas, see you in 2 weeks!” Resist the urge to blog about your daily events as they happen. There’s no sense in announcing to the world, “hey, no one’s home so come and get it!”

Invest in a timer that will turn some lights on and then off for you. Nothing says an empty house like sitting dark for days on end. You may also want to invest in some motion sensor lights. Burglars don’t like the light and finding themselves suddenly in a spot light will surely discourage them.

An obvious one, but I’ll mention it anyway. Lock everything. Lock doors, lock windows, lock the garage. Locks are a very inexpensive first line of defense. And don’t leave tools out. Invest in some window alarms and some door alarms. Again, very inexpensive and worth every penny. You may even want to stash those expensive items so they can’t be seen by anyone looking through the window. If you do have lots of valuables in your house, it may be a good idea to take a photo of them for insurance purposes. It never hurts.

And speaking of windows, your natural instinct for ‘do it yourself home security’ will be to close your curtains and blinds. Don’t! Again, nothing says ‘No One’s Home’ like having it all closed up and dark.

Don’t let that mail start piling up in the mailbox either. The same with your newspaper. So be sure to add this to your ‘Do It Yourself Home Security’ list. Put a temporary hold on delivery until you get back.

Another good way of making it look like someone is home is to have a car parked in the driveway. If you have a neighbor that you think wouldn’t mind, ask them to park their car in your driveway. You will be able to return the favor sometime.

Invest in a home alarm or some home security systems. You don’t have to spend a ton of money with some company. There are all types of products for all types of budgets. You can do very nicely with your own home security products like monitors and alarms for just pennies a day.

If you keep a spare key hidden outside, please don’t put it under the doormat or that potted plant nearby. That is the first place a thief will look.

If you are going to be away for any length of time, have your lawn mowed just before you leave and then maybe once more while your gone. Again, that neglected lawn is a big red flag. If you have plants on a balcony, bring them in so that you don’t have dead plants announcing your absence.


If this is a road trip, make sure that your travel checklist includes having your vehicle properly serviced. Let your mechanic know that you will be traveling and to where. Sometimes altitude or severe temperature conditions need to be taken into consideration.

If you get lost and you’re not using a GPS, call the local police department for directions. I know it seems like asking a local for directions is a good idea but they may be as dumb as a rock (no offense) and with even the best of intentions they could send you into a big mess like maybe a very bad part of town, bad roads,no gas stations. Call a professional if you are an out-of-towner.

Let someone know of your itinerary; where you are going and when you expect to be there. Don’t just hit the road without letting someone know just what road that might be. Make sure that you have allowed for things like weather, fuel, food stops and fatigue. All this goes on your travel checklist as well. Plan the finances. It’s best not to carry cash; travelers checks or your debit card is best.

If you are traveling with valuables (though I don’t know why you would) stash them in the hotel safe or maybe a travel safe. A diversion safe would be great for this. Maybe a can of STP that’s really a safe.

If you are doing a road trip then make sure that you have plenty of water and snacks. Make sure that you have gotten your maps from AAA and have your trip planned out.

If you will be staying in a motel or hotel, take just a few minutes when you first arrive to assure your stay is an enjoyable one by doing the following:

Note where all the fire escapes are as well as the exits. Make sure exit signs and all hall lights are working. If not, notify management.

When you first get to your room, prop the door open while you check everything. Turn on the lights, check the closets and any drawers, check under the bed, in the bathroom, behind curtains. Mistakes do happen and you want to be sure no one else is occupying that room.

Make sure that everything in your room works properly. Turn on lights, the A/C, phone, T.V., radio, sinks, showers, toilet. If something isn’t working ask to switch to another room. It will be so much easier than waiting for someone to fix it and easier too since you haven’t unpacked yet.

A first floor room in a hotel or motel is not the safest location. Part of your travel safe plans should include trying to get a room on the second floor or above if at all possible. If there is an adjoining room, make sure the door is locked.

Once you are in your room keep the door closed and locked. Don’t give your room number to any strangers. Door alarms are a great investment, inexpensive and easy to pack.

If you are camping then make sure you have all the supplies you need. Check in with the Ranger Station so they know who you are and where you will be camping should anyone need to contact you. And don’t forget to pack the Bear Spray.

If you will be traveling to a foreign country, besides preparing yourself for the language differences and the currency exchange, be aware of other customs. For instance, most countries expect women to dress conservatively. Don’t be running around in that tube top and short shorts. You may get some very unwanted attention plus you will be broadcasting that you are a tourist.

Try not to wander around looking up all the time. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are on foot be aware of con artists that just love to target tourists and they like to work in pairs. If two strangers approach you and one is engaging you in conversation the other one is most likely eyeing your purse so keep it close.

There are probably many more tips that I could add to this list, but this is just to get you thinking about your travel checklist and how to travel safe. Every situation is different so take some time to think about your specific circumstances and what will work in your best interest to make your home and you safe so that you can really enjoy that well deserved vacation.