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Be sure to give your home the appearance of being occupied while you're away by:

  • Putting lights, a radio and even the TV on timers.

  • Arranging for your lawn to be cared for.

  • Have a trusted neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers, or have delivery suspended for the duration of your time away.

  • Make sure that your doors are locked.

  • Leave a key with a trusted neighbor, friend or relative.

  • NEVER hide a key on your property; criminals are good at guessing hiding spots.

  • If you choose to have a neighbor care for your home while you're away, make sure they know how to contact you in case of an emergency.

If you are driving to your vacation destination, before you leave:

  • Make sure a friend or family member has your itinerary.

  • Have your vehicle serviced by a qualified mechanic.

  • Make certain your insurance and vehicle registration is current.

  • Carry a cell phone in case of emergency.

  • Have road flares, jumper cables and a flashlight with fresh batteries handy.

  • Plan your route and be prepared for road and weather conditions to change.

  • If your travel brings you to the mountains, be sure to bring chains during the winter months.

  • Take frequent breaks to help you remain alert and avoid "highway hypnosis."

  • If you miss your exit, DON'T PANIC. Sudden stops, swerving and aggressive maneuvers may place you, your family and others in danger particularly on interstate roads.

If you're flying to your destination:

  • Make sure a friend or family member has your itinerary.

  • Put your work address on your luggage tags.

  • Arrive at the airport early to get through all the security checks and not have to rush or miss your flight.

When you arrive at your destination:

  • Learn the phone number and address of the place you're staying.

  • KNOW THE RULES. Laws and ordinances change from town to town and state to state. This is especially important if you're traveling abroad. A hotel concierge is an excellent source for assistance and information.

  • Know how to contact the local police, fire and rescue services.

  • Watch out for frauds and cons. They frequent vacation spots.

  • Never leave your valuables unattended.

  • Don't carry large sums of cash or wear expensive jewelry.

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