Family Travel Safety Tips

Before you leave

Preventing crime while traveling begins with protecting your home. The key is to make it look like you never left.

  • Keep shades & blinds in their normal positions.
  • Stop mail & newspapers or ask a neighbor to pick it up every day.
  • Put several household lights on timers so they turn on & off at normal times.
  • Arrange to have grass mowed or snow shoveled while you're gone.
  • Make sure all your door & window licks are in working order, and use them.
  • Activate your home alarm if you have one.

You may want to leave a radio on by putting it on a timer. Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway overnight, or anything that suggests that you are at home. Don't forget to lock all windows & doors when you leave.

Packing your bags

  • Clean out your wallet or purse before you go. Take only essential credit cards. Use credit cards or travelers checks instead of cash whenever possible.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, or wallet in a front pocket. Take a fanny pack & use it under a jacket or wear a money pouch under your clothes.
  • Pack as lightly as possible. Heavy & large bags will slow you down, and make you more vulnerable to getting robbed.
  • Expensive designer luggage will draw attention. Pack in inconspicuous luggage.
  • Keep a separate record of your luggage's contents. Keep valuable items such as jewelry & medicine in a carry on case.
  • Ship large bags to your destination for extended vacations in advance. You can also mail bulky new purchases home, or have the merchant ship it.

Out and about

Remember, tourists make tempting targets for thieves. If you're lost or distracted, loaded down with bags, carrying cameras, plane tickets, money & other valuables, unsuspecting travelers can attract crime like a magnet. The best advice for you & your family to do is blend in with the crowd.

  • Don't display expensive jewelry, cameras, bags, & other items that draw attention.
  • Check maps before you go out so you can tour confidently.
  • Stick to well lighted, well traveled streets at all times; do not take 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 are a tourist by leaving maps & guidebooks on the seat or dashboard, keep them in the trunk or glove box.
  • Find out more about protecting yourself from the Crime prevention bulletin on auto theft & carjacking.

Traveling safely with your family also means sticking together & keeping an eye on the children at all times. Make sure they know where you're staying ( name & address), and teach them what to do if they get lost or separated. You may want to agree on a meeting place, just in case. Make sure your kids know not to accept rides or favors from strangers. Make your family vacation a memorable one for all the right reasons.