Security: Proper Planning Prevents Travel Nightmares
by Russell D. Longcore
Russell D. Longcore
Recently by Russell D. Longcore: The
Presidential Oath of Office: When Is an Oath Not an†Oath?
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, letís discuss the security issues you
need to deal with while youíre traveling.
will not address the repressive governmental strictures on travel
in the USA. You can get that from another source.
If youíre 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.
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 donít have Emergency Road Service on your policy,
either have it added or buy it from someone like AAA.
tips youíll find below. They are as useful when traveling domestically
as they are internationally.
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 naÔve and trusting.
So, here are some tips. Each one could be an article all by itself.
- Pack light...then
pack even lighter. Donít take big suitcases. Try to get by on
the smallest luggage you can. A rucksack or backpack would be
best. Youíd 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. Donít you need
mementos of the trip?
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.
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. Donít even take valuables
- 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, donít you?
- Keep both
hands free. Carrying stuff makes you vulnerable to getting your
- 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. Donít
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
- 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. Donít be so absorbed in
sightseeing that you become blind to whatís happening next to
- Donít 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, itís 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. Donít 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.
D. Longcore [send him
mail] 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.
© 2009 Russell D. Longcore