With the upcoming holiday travel season fast approaching, we have compiled a few tips to help keep your person and your belongings safe. Whether you are planning to drive or to fly, there are a few things to keep in mind: pack light, travel during the day, keep your cellphone charged and on your person, leave an itinerary with a friend or family member, do not carry too much cash, and check the weather. Pack what you think you need, but try to keep it light; this will prevent airlines from charging extra for your bag or extra burdens weighing down your car. Try to plan your travel to take place during daylight hours so that more people will be awake and around in case of trouble. Your cellphone can be your only means of communication in the event of an emergency; try to keep it charged as best you can. Leaving a list of your planned stops and destination will help your loved ones regain communication more quickly in an emergency. Carry enough cash to cover a tank of gas or a couple meals, but not enough to make you a target. Finally, check the weather as you make your plans and before you leave; give yourself enough time to make other arrangements if the weather looks as though it will change your original plans.
If you are planning to fly this season, be cautious with your baggage. Don’t keep fragile or valuable items in your checked baggage; keep them in your carry-on or ship them to your destination. Putting identification labels on all your bags and electronics can help them to be returned to you if they are somehow lost. Check and double-check your pockets and bags for anything prohibited; be sure to check the TSA’s list of prohibited items. Leave your luggage unlocked or use a TSA-recognized lock; any un-approved locks will be broken if your bag needs to be inspected. Finally, don’t over-pack your bags; if they need to be inspected and cannot be closed properly, they may be delayed.
Be careful on the roads this winter if you are planning to drive for the holidays. With the high price of airfare, many travelers are choosing to drive, so the roads will be crowded; plan accordingly. Consider leaving a day or two in advance or using lesser-traveled roads. Keep an emergency-preparedness kit in your car; water, a blanket, road flares, a flashlight, and batteries are the essentials. Use wisdom when parking in unfamiliar locations: hide your valuables in the trunk or locking glove compartment, roll up your windows, and park under lights if possible. When driving, maintain your road awareness, even amidst the festivities; be as careful driving on a holiday as you would any other day.
Taking precautions is as important to your travel security as it is to your home security, so use these tips and be prepared. Enjoy your holidays, and have a safe trip!