Travel at any time can be stressful, but during any of the holidays, travel, whether by car, plane, train, or even bus can move the stress meter off the charts. This is particularly true during Thanksgiving week, the busiest travel week of the year. If you are planning to visit friends or relatives, the best advice is to be prepared for just about anything… delays, traffic jams, weather, even illness… The good news is that there are some things you can do to travel safely and without too much hassle. So let’s hope for the best and prepare for the worst!
Start by making sure your home is secure before you leave. Visit the post office and have them hold your mail until you return. Cancel newspapers you subscribe to. Avoiding pile-up outside your home will make it less of a target to thieves who are monitoring neighborhoods for inactivity and obviously empty homes. Unplug all appliances (coffee maker, toaster, etc.), close the shut-off valves to your washing machine, or even the entire house to prevent a flood, and turn your heat down to 60 degrees. There’s no point heating an empty house! Make sure your home’s alarm is properly set, if you have one. Put a couple of lights on a timer, to make it look like someone is in the house, in different rooms, at different points in the day and night. And before you leave, close all drapes, blinds, and curtains, and make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked.
Stop being so “friendly” on social media! Do not write about your vacation plans on Facebook, Twitter, or other social networks in the days leading up to your trip. This lets people that you both know and don’t know see that your home will be unoccupied in the near future. There’s no point to advertising an empty house to potential thieves. Save those updates and pictures about your holiday trip and post them after you return home… not before, and certainly not during.
Will you be gone for an extended period of time? Ask a friend or neighbor to keep an eye on your home while you’re gone. Have them come by and move your car from time to time, if necessary, collect any delivered mail or papers, and make sure no unexpected packages are delivered and sitting at your front door. Having a trusted pair of eyes on the house will give you peace of mind and will also make it look as though your home is occupied.
Make sure anything you absolutely need, medication, money, documentation, even things like diapers, formula, or a change of clothes is in your purse or carry-on bag. Do not pack items of necessity in your luggage where you can’t get to it, or it may be lost. Keep your carry-on bag with you at all times. It’s easy to lose a bag or have it stolen in a crowded airport, bus terminal, or train station.
Before you leave, have your car serviced to make sure everything is in good working order. Plan your route ahead of time. Don’t just rely on GPS. Check the weather and traffic reports before you leave and make necessary adjustments. All passengers should wear their seat belts. Be sure to lock your car at every rest stop and make sure you have an emergency kit and a charged cell phone with you at all times. This is especially important during bad weather when you could be stranded for long periods of time. Your kit should include a blanket for each passenger, extra gloves, hats, and socks, kitty litter or sand, a flashlight, extra batteries, water and non-perishable food, road flares, a small tool kit, and jumper cables. Most importantly, give yourself time to get to your destination safely. Driving traffic may be very heavy.
Make sure your Thanksgiving is a happy one by taking special care to protect your home and your family when you travel and stay safe.
Headquartered in Falls Church, Virginia and with a mid-west office in Louisville, Kentucky, Foundation Insurance Group is an independent full-service insurance agency specializing in auto, home, life, and business insurance. Since our founding in 1994 the mission has been simple: “Our mission is to provide solid solutions backed by superior service at a competitive price.” For years we’ve partnered with a variety of top rated insurance carriers to fulfill this mission and to provide our clients with tailored insurance programs that fit the unique needs of an individual or business.
We, at Foundation Insurance Group wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving. For more information about homeowners, auto, life, and business insurance, contact us today, or visit our website: www.foundationinsurancegroup.com.