As Christmas break approaches, many families are taking that final opportunity to escape the pressure of everyday life, and make happy memories in a relaxing environment with loved ones. Taking some sensible steps can help you avoid being victimized by criminals.
The first step begins at home before you leave. Make a list of credit cards and customer service numbers of all credit cards you plan to take. And take only the cards essential to the trip. If your cards are lost or stolen, you can quickly cancel them.
If you are traveling internationally, make two copies of all passports and keep one set with you and give the other to a trusted person back home. Should your passport become lost or stolen, you will need a copy. Before leaving home, do some research to determine the location and telephone number of the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest your destination and add it to your list. Make physical and electronic copies of the list of this essential information. And make sure your cell phone is set up to function en route and at your destination.
The next step in safety is the air travel process, where the first concern is your luggage. Never keep anything you can't afford to lose in your checked bags. Checked bags should also remain in your sight until they are collected at the luggage check-in point. And upon arrival at the flight destination, always proceed straight to the baggage area so you can retrieve your luggage as soon as it emerges. A bag placed off to the side of the carousel is an open target for thieves.
Airports are notorious for pickpockets and theft artists who prey on folks with vulnerable pockets, purses, and backpacks. Keeping your wallet in a front pocket will virtually eliminate that target. Also, cash should be split, with a small amount for travel necessities kept in a wallet or pocket and the remainder hidden away in a concealed money pouch. Your passport should be kept apart from your cash and credit cards; a specialized pouch worn inside your clothing is the best place.
The carry-on bag or backpack is an inviting target for thieves. This is especially true if you are inattentive. Long, stationary periods with a backpack on your back should be avoided, as a skilled pilferer can be in and out of a zipped pocket without your knowledge. Carry it at your side by the top strap instead. Actually, a shoulder bag or small rolling bag is preferable. Most important, though, is keeping your bag in sight at all times. If you feel a nap coming on in the airport waiting area, place the carry-on bag in your lap. When you board the plane, place it beneath the seat in front of you or in an overhead bin that you can clearly see throughout passenger loading and unloading.
If your travel is being made by vehicle, keep luggage and other valuables out of sight - even while you are driving. A thief who sees suitcases inside a car might follow you until you eventually stop. Worse yet, a rooftop full of baggage is like drawing crosshairs on your automobile. Also, keep in mind that crooks are always on the lookout for out-of-state license plates. Don't give them a clue that your car is full of goodies.
The last thing you want is for your trip to turn into a nightmare because of a criminal. Take the time to preplan and utilize situational awareness, and thereby return from your vacation with only pleasant recollections.
For more recommendations about vacation security, or to request a comprehensive assessment of your travel plans, call the specialists of ResultQuest at 713-781-9040. We will be glad to help you with a proactive approach for safe travel.