Travel Safety: How to Protect Yourself and Your Home While Away
How do you stay safe while traveling? It’s a common question among Houston residents, and it has two sides. You have to protect your home while you’re away, and you have to keep yourself safe in a foreign place. It takes care and attention for both of these, and the help of a locksmith for the first. Read on for some tips and guidelines.
No-one’s home: is your house safe?
Many people don’t realize how vulnerable their home is when they’re gone. In order to protect your house or apartment from burglary while you’re away, it’s important to understand how burglars work.
A criminal’s first priority is to choose an easy target, a house that they can get in and out of quickly without being seen. When looking for a house like this, they’ll usually scope out the neighborhood for a few days beforehand, taking note of when people leave for work, which houses have alarms or large dogs, which homes always have someone home and looking out the window, where the good hiding places are, etc.
If you’re not careful, your empty house will stand out like a sore thumb. You need to make it look like it’s occupied, or at least make it clear that someone’s keeping an eye on things. Hiring a housesitter or asking a friend to sleep over is ideal, of course, but if that’s not possible, you have other options.
Darkened windows at night are an obvious sign that no-one’s home. However, leaving the lights on the whole time you’re gone also looks suspicious, not to mention bad on your energy bill. Consider getting an automatic timer for some of your lights, which you can set to approximately the same times you normally turn the lights on and off.
Instead of letting the mail and newspapers pile up, ask the post office to stop delivering until you get back, or ask a neighbor to pick them up for you.
If you have a dog and hire someone to walk it, tell them to come at the time you usually take the dog out.
Before you leave for a long trip, it’s a good idea to consult a professional locksmith. Ask them to do a full review of your home security, checking that your locks and alarms are working well. If anything needs repair or replacement, do it before you go!
Safety tips for travelers
Once your home is secure, you need to make sure that you are safe while traveling. Theft is an unfortunate companion of travel, and anyone who spends enough time on the road is bound to lose some items sooner or later. There are no guarantees, but following these guidelines will help minimize the risk.
As a general rule, keep all your valuable items – especially your passport and wallet – with you at all times. Be discreet when you take these things out, and don’t make it obvious where you’re storing them.
Pickpockets target tourists who look like they have money to spare, so dress low-key and try not to stand out. Always walk like you know where you’re going, even if you don’t. You should never flash around expensive things like a fancy camera or iPhone, especially if you’re in a country where these aren’t common. Keeping your money in a money belt, instead of your pockets or backpack, can be a lifesaver.
Sometimes petty thieves will have a whole con routine to get their hands on your wallet, and they often work in teams. Watch out for people bumping into you or creating a loud scene: this is often a distraction for another person to swoop in and grab your things. Be aware that many pickpockets are children, since people won’t usually be as suspicious of them.
Keep a lock on your suitcase, as well as your laptop, and look into anti-theft bags if you’re traveling with a lot of expensive items. Finally, make photocopies of your passport and any other important documents before you go. This might save you serious trouble if anything happens.
Basically, if you make a habit of being careful, you have no reason to worry. Have fun and safe travels!