If you are planning a holiday, the chances are that there are numerous lists running around your head: vaccinations; passports; visas; transfers; sun cream; mozzie repellent and much, much more. Thoughts of home are probably at the very back of your mind as you prepare to leave home turf for something a little more exotic and relaxing. However, coming home to a house that has been flooded or burgled can quickly make your holiday relaxation evaporate. To make your perfect holiday remain perfect, make sure you take the relevant security measures at home, too.
Protecting your home
At Travangelo, we love social media. We adore seeing images of more happy customers enjoying their adventures thanks to the great deals they got on flights. However, showing off about your holiday isn’t always such a good idea. We get that you want to post hotdog/leg pictures, or the obligatory shot of you with a giant steak or seafood platter, but first make sure that you know just who can see your posts. If you can’t possibly enjoy your holiday without a bit of showing off via social media, have a good cull of friends before your trip, and make sure you delete acquaintances or people you barely know. Check your security settings so that your profile is completely private and your posts can only be seen by people that you are linked to. If you are tagging others into your posts, be aware that their connections will be able to see your post; if you tag a friend with a public profile into your post, your post is there for all to see.
Social media isn’t the Big Bad Wolf that it is portrayed as, but be sensible you don’t want the whole world to know that your house will be empty for a week or more.
Is Anybody Home?
A sure-fire way of letting people know you are away is to lock up and leave the house for two weeks with the curtains drawn and your bins waiting for collection. Leave your curtains half open and consider getting a timer that will switch a lamp and television on at set times in the day. If you have a friendly, reliable neighbour, you could ask them to pop in, switch lights on, draw the curtains and water the plants for you. Ask them to remove any leaflets and newspapers stuck in your letterbox, and to put your bins and recycling on the right day, too – don’t forget to bring them back a souvenir to say “thank you”!
Out of Sight, Out of Mind….
Most burglars are opportunists, and will chance a peek through a window or two to see if there is anything worth breaking in for. In the rush to get to the airport, don’t forget to put valuables away: laptops, cash, jewellery etc. The same goes for garden implements: stow bikes and tools securely in a locked shed or garage. This will help to keep your property safe, but will also ensure that, in the unfortunate and unlikely event that you are burgled, you are covered by insurance.
While You’re Away
These, days, it’s not essential to keep copies of all your documents, but for peace of mind, we advise that you do. Make two copies of your flight, insurance and accommodation details, and keep copies of your passport and important phone numbers. Keep your spare copies separately from the originals (there is no point keeping the copy of your passport with your passport!). This will help to streamline the recovery process, should you lose your original documents.
Keep Your Data Safe
In a digital age, it is more than likely that you will have a mobile device that you will use to book tickets for events and museums. Only use secure WiFi networks, and make sure you disable your network sharing facility on your phone or tablet. It is worth switching off your mobile data – most of us have it on all the time, but this can put your information at risk, not to mention result in unexpected data charges. If you do use an internet café, make sure you log out fully when you are done.
It is difficult to know what to do with documents and cash. Some people prefer to carry valuables and documents with them all the time but if your bag is stolen you will lose everything, which will probably mean a long and inconvenient wait at the local police station and embassy. If your room has a safe, use it! Put your passports and travel documents in there, along with the bulk of your cash, just taking out what you need for the day. This has the added bonus of helping you to budget, too.
Don’t Flash the Cash
While you are on holiday, try to keep a low profile. Most holiday locations are safe, but there will always be a pickpocket or two looking to take advantage of laid-back tourists. Don’t wear expensive jewellery and watches: they can attract attention, and you are more likely to lose jewellery when taking it on and off to go swimming. If your jewellery, such as wedding and engagement rings, are very valuable, consider investing in cheap, silver “stunt doubles” while you are away; if you lose them, it’s not the end of the world.
If you are going to busy markets and city centres, don’t show off your valuables – stow expensive cameras safely away and avoid getting out large amounts of cash – particularly when paying for something after a hard barter! If your aim is to use solely cash and to avoid using cash points, it is worth keeping a contingency fund securely stashed somewhere separate (a secret pocket in your bag, a money belt, or a spare wallet or purse). This will stop you from making an emergency cash withdrawal if you get overexcited at the market, or stop for impromptu drinks, snacks and meals. If you do use your card, keep a record of where, when, and how much, so that you can check it when you get home.
We want your holiday to be memorable for all the right reasons. We don’t want you to find cheap flights, only to end up losing precious belongings or having to pay insurance excesses. So, be sensible so that you can enjoy your holiday.