Summer is in full swing, which, for many, means traveling and vacations. Whether it’s a quick weekend getaway or a weeklong trip full of R&R, make sure to prepare and consider your safety options before you head out.
Where you’re going will affect everything from what you pack to your itinerary. A weekend road trip, a quick business trip, and a long vacation abroad will be full of different activities, just as a vacation to Punta Cana and Alaska require entirely different wardrobes (at least, we hope).
Check your destination’s weather forecast at least a week in advance to give yourself plenty of time to plan your wardrobe and packing list and buy any necessary new items before your departure. The weather in 2022 has been anything but predictable, so it’s a good idea to pack versatile layers, too. If you’re traveling internationally, do homework on the country you plan to visit. Be aware of different U.S. Department of State travel advisories that will inform you of local safety conditions such as areas to avoid, entry requirements, possible COVID-19 restrictions, and natural hazards. Make sure you’re also aware of international laws and customs. Some countries have specific restrictions on medical products that you can carry. For example, Mexico prohibits some nasal decongestants like Vick’s, and Japan prohibits stimulants like Adderall (The CDC has a full list of restrictions). Many countries also have restrictions on pepper spray products, so always read your destination’s local regulations.
The Travel Plans
If you’re traveling by car, you should take precautions and prepare for speed bumps on and off the road. There are 6 million car accidents ( NHTSA), and carjackings are up by 510% in most major U.S. cities, making it essential to have a plan in place in case of danger. The Safe Escape 3-in-1 Automotive Safety Tool includes a seatbelt cutter, a window glass breaker, and maximum strength pepper gel to help you get out of a vehicle in an emergency and protect yourself against an attack. If you’re flying to your destination, familiarize yourself with airport and TSA packing restrictions on items like liquids, electronics, and pepper spray. Although personal safety devices like pepper spray are illegal to bring in carry-on luggage, you are allowed to pack up to 4 ounces of pepper spray in a checked bag. Keep in mind that if you’re traveling to bear country, bear spray is prohibited in carry-on and checked luggage, but you can pack bear bells.
Personal alarms are another more convenient and portable personal safety option for airplanes and international travel. They’re small enough to carry in your pocket or on a keychain, and they also attach to a purse or backpack. With a pull-tab for easy activation, it will alert people nearby with an ear-piercing 130dB alarm.
Whether you’re staying in an Airbnb, hotel, or hostel on your summer trip, be sure you know exactly where your lodging is. Download the address on Google Maps, write it down, or print it out, so if your phone dies or service cuts out, you’ll still be able to find where you’re staying. It’s also important to scope out the neighborhood where you’re staying. Is it located in a safe part of town? Will you feel comfortable walking around in the area? Check local travel blogs, ask friends who have traveled to the area, or get in touch with the hotel or host and ask them any questions you may have.
If you’re staying at a hotel or Airbnb, always keep the doors and windows locked. You can even ask your Airbnb host to change the lock code and the hotel concierge to write down your room number instead of saying it out loud to be sure no one has access to where you’re staying. If there’s room in your suitcase, consider packing a portable home security device like a Door Stop Alarm or Door Security Bar with Vibration Detecting Alarm. These tools help prevent doors from being opened from the outside and sound a loud, 120dB alarm when a door is breached to alert you and others in the area to a potential threat.
The Length of Stay
Lastly, when you’re planning your trip, consider how to protect your permanent home while you’re gone.
Whether you’re only gone for a weekend or setting out for a long trip, ask a trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your home and make it look like you are still home. If a burglar believes someone is home, they are less likely to make your residence their target. Before you leave, keep a lamp or light on, and your neighbor should bring your mail inside every few days.
Elevate your home security with other DIY home security devices to help ward off intruders. A convincing Fake Security Camera provides an initial layer of defense for your home by giving the illusion to potential intruders that they’re being watched. Affordable and easy-to-install Wireless Home Alarm Systems for doors and windows are also available to help deter burglars with an ear-piercing alarm and alert those nearby that your home might be compromised.
Enjoy your summer trips and Make It Safe this summer!
This article was originally published in July 2019. It has been updated for timeliness.