460th SFS offers travel safety tips
By Tech. Sgt. Linwood King, 460th Security Forces Squadron
/ Published June 15, 2010
BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Summer is here, and with it comes family vacations, TDYs and other travel opportunities. These travel safety tips can help your vacation be memorable for all the right reasons.
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 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 doors and window locks are in working order - and use them.
- Activate your home alarm (if you have one).
- Avoid announcing big vacations on your personal web page (including Facebook or MySpace)
- Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway overnight - anything that might suggest someone's home.
- Don't forget to lock all doors and windows when you leave.
Packing your bags
Preparing for a family trip requires a lot of planning. Planning can decrease the chances of crime joining you on your journey.
- Clean out your wallet or purse before you go; take only essential credit cards. Plan to only 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 can 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 anything of value such as medicine and jewelry in a carry-on that stays with you.
- For extended vacations, consider shipping large bags to your destination. Mail bulky new purchases home.
Out and About
Your home is secured and you're packed. Now it's time to go. While you and your family are traveling, it's important to remember that tourists make tempting targets for thieves. Lost and unsuspecting travelers can attract crime like a magnet. The best advice for you and your family is to 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 tour 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 - leave maps and guidebooks in the glove box or trunk.
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, just in case. And by all means, make sure your kids know not to accept rides or favors from strangers.
For further information, call Tech. Sgt. Linwood King at 720-847-9161.