Traveling? Here’s How to Stay Safe.

Updated March 3, 2017 . AmFam Team

Whether it’s across the world or across town, travel with peace of mind with these safety tips for your unoccupied home and at the hotel.

Whether you’re traveling abroad or to the next town over, it’s important to do so safely. Here’s our round up of tips for keeping your unattended home safe, along with staying safe at stops along your vacation.

Home Safety

  • Make sure all windows, doors and the garage is locked, and an extra key is not easily accessible or visible.
  • Tell a friend or neighbor you know and trust that you will be gone for an extended period of time so they can keep an eye on your home for any suspicious activity.
  • Put a hold on your newspaper and mail or have a neighbor or friend collect it for you.
  • Adjust the thermostat. In colder climates, don’t turn the thermostat off; lower it to a temperature that’s warm enough to keep the pipes from freezing (no less than 55 degrees). In warmer climates, set your air conditioner no higher than 85 degrees to prevent humidity damage.
  • If you are leaving for an extended period of time, have the water turned off and pipes drained to prevent freezing or bursting. If your home has a fire sprinkler system, it will be deactivated if you shut off the water. If your home has hot water heat, do not turn off water to any kind of boiler unless the system has a low water cutoff valve installed.

Hotel Safety

  • When booking your stay ask if the hotel rooms have electronic guest room locks (access with a key card), a deadbolt lock and a wide-angle peep hole.
  • If possible, book your room on an upper floor.
  • Ask about the hotel’s security measures; if there are security guards available 24 hours per day, if an escort is available to walk you to and from your car at night, if doors, hallways and elevators are monitored with security cameras and if the front desk is staffed 24 hours per day.
  • When checking in make sure the staff person does not announce your room number. If it is announced out loud, ask for another room.
  • When registering, use your last name and only your first initial. Do not use titles that would indicate gender, marital status or profession.
  • Instruct the front desk to not give out your name and room number and if someone inquires, to check with you first.
  • As soon as you arrive, obtain an item with the hotel name and address and keep this on you at all times so you have the hotel contact information easily accessible if you get lost.
  • When arriving to your room for the first time, check the bathroom and closet to ensure no one else is in the room.
  • Make sure all windows and patio doors are securely locked.
  • Never prop open your door or open the door to anyone unless you are sure of the identity of the person. If they say they are hotel staff, ask to see their identification or call the front desk to verify that the person is a hotel employee.

Protect Yourself From Bed Bugs

Wherever your trip takes you, always remember to be vigilant for bed bugs. Bed bug infestations spread rapidly and can be quite a nuisance. Bed bugs are 1/4 to 3/8 of an inch long, brown in color and flat with an oval shaped body. To protect yourself against bed begs while traveling, use luggage racks to hold your belongings and check the mattress and headboard. When you return home unpack your clothing into a dryer and run on low or medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes to eliminate any that have crept into your luggage.

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