Vacation season is upon us, and many are already making plans for that big getaway to some far-off exotic destination, a place to recharge our batteries. We all need a place to get in some serious relaxation before returning to the workday life.
Relaxation is the key word here. You need to feel that the home place is safe and secure, or you will be worried about break-ins, fires, floods, etc.
There are a lot of precautions you can take to ease your mind while away, either about your home or about your own personal security.
Here are some suggestions that might make the trip more enjoyable and as worry-free as it can get:
1. Do the obvious: Stop mail and paper delivery. Nothing tips off a burglar quicker than newspapers piled by the house and mail stuffed in the mailbox. You can arrange to pick up your mail at the post office when you get back.
2. If you have a home-security system, make sure it is working and turned on before you leave. This is a major deterrent for most crooks.
3. If at all possible, get a house sitter, especially if you are going to be gone more than a few days. It is important to make your home looked “lived in,” and a person coming and going will be noticed by anyone looking for a break-in opportunity.
4. While light timers are a good thing, if you are out of town more than a week or so, it becomes obvious to any crook with a modicum of sense that no one is home.
5. Before you leave, go to your bank or call your credit card vendor and tell them where you are going and when you will be back. This can save you a great deal of anguish and downright panic. Credit card issuers monitor the use of that piece of plastic, and if it shows up outside your normal buying area, a red flag goes up. They could freeze the card, and your purchases could be denied.
6. Be secure in your hotel or other accommodations. Never leave valuables in your room. The dishonest know where to look, so hiding them does not help. If the room has a personal safe, use it. If not, leave valuables you are not taking with you at the desk, and get a receipt.
7. Rental cars are a necessity in this era of air travel. Before you leave, make sure your car insurer has you covered. This can save you from buying extra insurance from the rental agency. Make sure you understand the terms of the contract before you sign and not just blow it off in your hurry to get out of the airport.
8. Check out the condition of the car thoroughly before you sign. Make sure there are no undisclosed dents, bumps, scrapes or cigarette burns in the seats.
9. Use sunscreen.
10. Count your kids as they get on the plane, and count again when you leave. Don’t laugh; it can happen just like in “Home Alone.” I know someone who left a child at a rest stop on the interstate and drove many miles before anyone noticed!
Hasta la Vista!
Neil Winget is the president of the Better Business Bureau serving West Central Ohio. The BBB may be found on the Internet at www.lima.bbb.org.