Traveling, whether for business or pleasure, can be a wonderful experience, if you follow these commonsense tips.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE HOME
Use this handy checklist to prepare your home before you leave on your trip:
Stop mail and newspaper delivery
Leave shades and blinds in normal positions.
Put at least two lights and a radio on automatic timers.
Ask a neighbor to keep your property maintained, if need be (grass mowed, snow shoveled).
Have someone park a car in your driveway occasionally.
Leave a key with a trusted neighbor in case of emergency.
Lock all windows and doors before you go. Don't forget to double-check the basement and garage doors.
Make a record of your passport, credit card and traveler's check numbers, as well as plane, train, or bus tickets. Give a copy of the list to a family member or friend for safekeeping.
ON THE ROAD
Carry little cash. Use traveler's checks, ATM cards, or credit cards whenever possible.
Keep careful tabs on your plane, train or bus tickets - they're as good as cash.
If you're driving, plan your route carefully. Travel on main roads and use maps. Have your car serviced before you leave.
If you're stopping overnight, remove luggage and other valuables from the car.
When stopping en route, conceal obvious valuables from sight, preferably in the trunk.
If your car breaks down, turn on the flasher and open the hood or tie a white cloth to the antenna. If anyone stops to offer help, ask them to call the police.
IN YOUR HOTEL OR MOTEL
Don't leave your luggage unattended anywhere.
Use all auxiliary locking devices when occupying or leaving your room.
Do not leave valuables in your vehicle or hotel room. Place them in the hotel safe deposit box. Always take cash, credit cards and keys with you.
Locate fire exits, elevators, and public phones. Plan the best way to get out of the building in an emergency.
Check your belongings daily. Arrange your things in the closet or dresser so you will know immediately if something is missing.
Leave the TV on in your room when you leave to make it seem occupied.
Be observant. Report any suspicious activity to management.
Look around before entering parking lots or garages. Park near lighted walkways when possible.
Do not answer the door in a hotel or motel room without verifying who it is. If a person claims to be an employee, call the front desk and ask if someone from the staff is supposed to have access to your room, and why.
IN YOUR NEW ENVIRONMENT
Carry your purse close to your body - don't let it dangle. Carry your wallet in an inside coat or front trouser pocket.
Learn about your surroundings. Ask the hotel/motel clerk about problem areas and avoid them.
Select sightseeing companies and guides carefully.
Make sure everyone in your party, including children, knows the name, address, and telephone number of your hotel or motel.
Avoid advertising that you are a tourist by the way you dress.
Carry only the cash that you need, and in small denominations.
Don't flash your cash or jewelry.
If members of the group go off separately, be sure to check in at prearranged times.
KEEPING FIT ON THE ROAD
There is no reason to cancel your daily fitness routine just because you are traveling - as long as you take some commonsense precautions:
When jogging or walking, team up with a partner - a friend, colleague, or family member - especially if you go out early in the morning or late at night.
Check to see it your hotel/motel has a health club or has access to one you can use.
Avoid isolated roads, trails, and paths. Stick to well-lighted routes. Vary your exercise time and route.
Wear clothing that make you visible to motorists - bright colors for day and white or reflective clothes at night. Always carry identification.
Carry change for an emergency phone call.
Consider carrying a whistle or shriek alarm.
Always wear your glasses or contacts.
Stay Alert, especially if you are in a strange area. Don't walk or jog wearing headphones.