Avoiding crowds, enjoying better weather and more affordable prices are three reasons more people are planning to travel in the fall, according to AAA. In fact, according to a 2017 survey, 28 percent of Americans were planning to travel in the fall (specifically between Labor Day and Thanksgiving).
Fall road trips have been increasing in popularity. According to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers® study, 39 percent of fall vacations taken in 2016 by U.S. travelers were road trips. AAA found that 62 percent of fall travelers were planning a road trip. Some of these travelers are “leaf peeping” and looking to see the changing autumn scenery in the North East. Others are seeking a more flexible and convenient way to travel.
If you’re planning to travel in the fall, there are some safety and security tips you should keep in mind to help ensure that you stay safe and that your home stays secure while you’re away.
Keep Travel Details Private
Social media has become a huge part of travelling for many people. 60 percent of travelers are posting photos to their favorite social media sites while they are in the middle of a trip according to research compiled by MDG Advertising. Though posting a picture might seem like the modern way of sending a postcard to friends and family, you also have to consider that you’re basically advertising that your home is empty. Consider avoiding posting until a trip is over, or only sharing to a more private/exclusive audience. Obviously, you want some trusted friends or family members to have the details of your trip, but maybe not all your Facebook friends or Instagram followers. You can always share pictures when you get home.
Secure Your Home Before Leaving
Make sure that your home is not vulnerable before you go away when you travel in the fall.
- Make sure that any access points like doors and windows are sturdy and working properly.
- Consider unplugging your garage door so that it cannot be accessed by a universal remote.
- Make sure that your windows are blocked by curtains or blinds so that strangers can’t see what’s in your home or that your home is empty.
- Consider installing monitored home security home so that if your alarm is triggered when you’re gone, the monitoring center can alert authorities.
- Add video surveillance to help you check on your home from your smartphone.
- Have a family member, trusted friend, or neighbor keep an eye on your home.
One of the best ways to help secure your home is to find a reputable house sitter or someone to visit your home a couple of times when you’re away. Not only does this take away the appearance that your home is abandoned, but you’ll also be able to have a first-person account of what’s going on at home. This person could pick up your mail and park in your driveway, sending a sure signal to any nefarious person that your home isn’t an easy target.
Keep Weather Conditions in Mind
Road trippers should take extra care when planning around weather when they travel in the fall since they will be spending much of their time in the car. Taking an advance look at the weather can help you prepare for a safe trip and ensure you have the proper clothes and footwear. Packing supplies in the car in case the conditions become dangerous is very important. Weather conditions at home should also be considered in your planning. If the temperatures are going to be very cold at home, make sure your house is weatherized. No one wants to come back to frozen or damaged pipes or a downed tree because they weren’t prepared for weather conditions.
Maintain Access to Your Smartphone
Your smartphone can be a handy tool when fall traveling. These are just a couple of ways you can use your phone to make your travelling more convenient:
- Digital tickets can be stored and used in many places
- Travel apps can be downloaded for airlines and hotels
- Navigational help is usually accessible if you get lost or confused
- Translation apps help limit language barriers
- Entertainment options come in handy for long flights or drives
- Smart home security apps allow you to check-in on your home
Make sure that you know how to get access to WiFi or data service when you’re traveling in case of an emergency. This can be especially important if travelling internationally. Also make sure you have backup battery chargers ready to go because if your phone dies, you may not have access to these valuable tools and services.
Help Protect Your Identity
An identity theft happens once every two seconds according to Identity Force. Traveling leaves you vulnerable to identity theft in some unique ways. When you are using your phone during travel, make sure you are doing so as securely as possible. Make sure you have a passcode, fingerprint or facial recognition to gain access in case it’s lost or stolen. Be careful what you access through non-secure internet connections. Keep any personal documents like a password secured as much as possible whether in a hotel safe or on your person. You should also avoid ATMs as much as possible and keep some hidden cash if needed.
Avoid Pickpockets and Theft
Stay attentive to avoid pickpockets or theft. Tourist spots, especially in Europe, can be hotspots for thieves. The US Embassy offers these tips for Paris, but they can be valuable wherever you travel:
- You should never carry all your cards, ID, and money in the same place because if they are stolen you will be in some trouble.
- Women should carry purses that zip and can easily be tucked under your arm or worn across your body.
- Men should keep their wallet in a front pocket with a rubber band around it or in a money belt.
- Pickpockets often operate in groups so be aware.
- Know how to call the local police wherever you are travelling.
Also, don’t leave valuables in any vehicle in which you are traveling if you can avoid it. If you must leave valuables in your car, keep them as hidden as possible. Always lock your vehicle and keep an eye on your keys.