Travel during any of the holidays can be incredibly stressful, but traveling during Thanksgiving week, the busiest travel week of the year, is by far the worst. The good news is that there are some things you can do to travel safely and without too much hassle.
Secure Your Home
Start by making sure your home is secure before you leave. Call the post office and any newspaper you subscribe to and put a hold on your mail and papers. Avoiding pile-up outside your home will make it less of a target to thieves who are monitoring neighborhoods for inactivity. 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 at different points in the day. And before you leave, close all drapes, blinds, and curtains, and make sure all doors and windows are closed and locked.
Stop Being So Social
Stop being so social 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. Save those updates and pictures about your holiday trip and post them after you return home… not before, and certainly not during.
Recruit a Friend
Will you be gone for an extended period of time? Ask a friend or neighbor to 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. Having a trusted pair of eyes on the house helps and will also make it look as though your home is occupied.
Make sure anything you absolutely need – medication, money, documentation – is in your purse or carry-on bag. Keep that bag in your hand at all times. It’s easy to lose a bag or have it stolen in a crowded airport, bus terminal, or train station. If you’re driving, be sure to lock your car at every rest stop and make sure you have an emergency kit and a charged cell phone at all times. Most importantly, give yourself time to get to your destination safely. Public transportation may run late. Driving traffic may be very heavy. Make sure you give yourself extra time to make connections or to sit in traffic so that you arrive in plenty of time to celebrate the holiday with friends and family. Make sure your holiday season is a happy one by taking special care to protect your home – and your family – when you travel.