Vacation & Travel Safety

Eiffel Tower

Before You Leave

Preventing crime during family travel starts with making sure your home is protected while you're away. The key is to make it look like you’ve never left:
  • Keep shades and blinds in their normal positions.
  • Stop mail and newspapers, or ask a neighbor to pick them up every day.
  • Put several household lights on timers so they turn on and off at appropriate times.
  • Arrange to have grass mowed (or snow shoveled) while you're gone.
  • Make sure all your door and window locks are in working order.
  • Activate your home alarm (if you have 1).
You might also leave a radio on or put it on a timer. Maybe ask a neighbor to park in your driveway overnight-anything that might suggest someone is home. Double check that you’ve locked all doors and windows before you leave.

Also consider contacting the Police Department to join its Vacation House Watch list.

Packing Your Bags

Advance planning can decrease the chances of your family becoming the victim of a crime while traveling. Be smart while packing your bags:
  • Clean out your wallet or purse before you go; take only essential credit cards. Plan to use credit cards or traveler's checks instead of cash whenever possible.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, or wallet in an inside front pocket.
  • Pack as lightly as possible. Lots of heavy, cumbersome bags will slow you down and make you more vulnerable to getting robbed.
  • Expensive, designer luggage can draw unneeded attention to your belongings. Pack your things in inconspicuous bags.
  • Keep a separate record of the contents of checked luggage.
  • Always keep valuables, such as medicine and jewelry, in a carry-on bag that stays with you.
If you are going on an extended vacation, consider shipping large bags to your destination in advance. For the return trip, mail bulky new purchases home, or ask merchants to do it for you.

Out & About With Confidence

While you and your family are traveling, it's important to remember that tourists make tempting targets for thieves. Often lost or distracted, weighed down with bags, and carrying cameras, plane tickets, money, and other valuables, unsuspecting travelers can attract crime like a magnet.
  • Do all you can to blend in with the crowd.
  • Don't display expensive jewelry, cameras, bags, and other items that might draw attention.
  • Check maps before you go out so you can navigate confidently.
  • Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets at all times-no shortcuts.
  • Always lock your car when it's parked, even if the stop is brief. Keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk. Don't advertise that you're a tourist by leaving maps and guidebooks on the seat or dashboard; keep them in the glove compartment.
  • Traveling safely with your family also means sticking together and keeping an eye on your children at all times. Make sure they know where you're staying (name and address), and teach them what to do if they get lost or separated. You might want to agree on a meeting place, and make sure your kids know not to accept rides or favors from strangers.