Travel Security: Proper Planning Prevents Travel Nightmares

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Travel security
is a topic that needs some discussion. I talked about Vacation Security
in my last article, which dealt with leaving your home secure when
you go on vacation. Today, let's discuss the security issues you
need to deal with while you're traveling.

This article
will not address the repressive governmental strictures on travel
in the USA. You can get that from another source.


If you're on
a driving vacation, here are some tips.

  • Get the
    car checked over before you begin driving. Make sure the tires
    are good and properly inflated. Make sure the engine is running
    correctly. If your car is old and unreliable, seriously consider
    renting a car for the trip. Nothing can ruin a trip more quickly
    than a car breakdown.
  • Prepare
    an emergency box for the trunk. Put in flares, a can of tire inflator/sealant,
    jumper cables, a gallon of premixed engine coolant, a toolbox,
    a flashlight with extra batteries, a blanket and duct tape. Add
    more if you can think of stuff you want.
  • Make sure
    that your auto insurance premiums are paid and your coverage is
    current. If you don't have Emergency Road Service on your policy,
    either have it added or buy it from someone like AAA.

Follow the
tips you'll find below. They are as useful when traveling domestically
as they are internationally.


Most places
you will likely travel are tourist areas that will have relatively
good safety. However, some like to travel to out-of-the-way places.
Just realize that there are risks you take whenever you travel.
The greatest risk you take while traveling is being nave and trusting.
So, here are some tips. Each one could be an article all by itself.

  • Pack light…then
    pack even lighter. Don't take big suitcases. Try to get by on
    the smallest luggage you can. A rucksack or backpack would be
    best. You'd be better served to take extra cash and buy clothing
    at your destination. Leave it there when you come home, or buy
    a suitcase over there and bring the stuff home. Don't you need
    mementos of the trip?
  • Carry-on
    bags: Keep your bag under your seat or between your legs. If you
    are going to place it in the overhead compartment, try to place
    it ahead of your seat location, so you can see whoever reaches
    into the compartment.
  • Rucksack/backpack
    rules: line the bottom with a towel or jacket. Bad guys like to
    slit the bottom of backpacks with a razor and then follow you
    until your stuff falls out. Bring with you or buy a daypack, a
    smaller version of the backpack just for day trips. Same rules
  • Don’t look
    wealthy; don’t flaunt your valuables. Don't even take valuables
    with you.
  • Never leave
    a computer, PDA or other electronics in your hotel room. Put it
    in the hotel safe or take it with you. You do realize that even
    the finest hotels can have employees that steal, even from the
    hotel safe, don't you?
  • Keep both
    hands free. Carrying stuff makes you vulnerable to getting your
    pocket picked.
  • Make copies
    of your passport photo page, vaccination certificate, travelers
    check receipts, airline ticket, driver’s license, student card,
    YHA card, etc. Leave one set of the copies at home. Carry a couple
    of copies in various places in your luggage. Take a certified
    copy of your birth certificate to help you get a new passport.
    Keep a list in your trip address book of the numbers of your insurance
    policies, bank accounts, social security or national identity
    number and credit card numbers.
  • If you buy
    new travelers checks, train or airline tickets along the way,
    not only save the receipts (separate from the checks), but keep
    a separate note of all the check numbers and when you spend them.
    Having exact information will help in getting them replaced if
    lost or stolen.
  • Keep your
    passport, credit cards and cash next to your skin. Keep them in
    front of you, not in your back pocket or a fanny pack on your
    fanny. Sleep with them. The best solution is a "passport
    bag" that you hang around your neck, inside your clothing.
  • Keep a small
    billfold with your "day money" in your front pocket.
  • If you buy
    enough stuff that you need another suitcase to carry it home,
    seriously consider boxing it and shipping it home.

  • Stay in
    physical contact with your bags unless they are locked in your
    room or stowed safely on the vehicle of transport.
  • Every time
    you stand up, glance back to see what you left behind.
  • YOU carry
    your luggage onto the bus, train, truck, or taxi with you. Don't
    allow a porter or stranger to take your bag for you. You might
    not ever see it again.
  • When you
    buy a ticket, be sure you actually receive a ticket.
  • Don’t rent
    a hotel room that is not secure; lock your room every time you
    leave it.
  • Rinse out
    your own laundry in the room, and hang it up inside the room.
    It will usually dry overnight. But sending out your laundry invites
  • Be aware
    of your surroundings everywhere you go. Don't be so absorbed in
    sightseeing that you become blind to what's happening next to
  • Don't agree
    to carry ANYTHING home for ANYONE, no matter how bad their sob
    story or who it is. If they want it badly enough, they can ship
    it. If you get caught with contraband in your bags, it's your
    backside that will go to jail.
  • Always count
    your change after you make a purchase.
  • If you are
    in a bar or restaurant, NEVER EVER leave your drink or meal unattended.
    Drugs can be squirted into a drink in a millisecond. Don't accept
    free drinks from anyone.

If you will
simply be highly aware of your surroundings at all times, you will
likely be pretty safe as you travel.

6, 2009

D. Longcore [send him
] has an insurance claims practice in Atlanta, Georgia.
He is married to “his redhead” Julie, and has three wonderful children,
and three even more wonderful grandchildren.

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