Safety First ~ A Guest Post by Tamra Botzum
Upon hearing of the struggles a friend is going through after theft of some items in her hotel room in October of 2012, I feel it’s time to think about what one should and should not do when vacationing.
Don’t tell people on social networking sites where you are going or when. Having a status message like this can open your home to being robbed while you are on that fabulous Disney Cruise. If you have an enthusiastic travel agent, ask him or her nicely not to post your vacation plans. If you are polite, your agent should not take offense to maintaing your privacy. Feel free to brag about your vacation when you return home!
Posting photos online from your mobile devices can also give others a clue that you are not home. Photos are often tagged with a location. Status messages also can disclose where you are at the time, too. Remember, you are on vacation, you can leave the social networking alone for a bit.
Do you need insurance? Check with your homeowners and car insurance policy if you are covered for theft. You may be surprised what they will cover! If you rent your home, check your renters insurance. If you feel you need travelers insurance, you needn’t buy it from where you booked your vacation. Instead, try a third-party insurance company like insuremytrip.com. You may even save some money!
Oh my, your daughter wants to bring her iPad mini, your son wants to bring along his iPod, and you are just dying to use that brand-new digital camera! It is a good idea to write the serial numbers down for each device you will be taking on your trip. Take a photo of them, too. Keep that information in a safe location at home. This includes your cell phones, too.
Take only the credit cards you will use and make a copy of them before you leave on vacation. Make a copy of your drivers license, too. Keep the copies and serial number information in a secure location. My first choice is a safe deposit box at a bank. They come in a variety of sizes and the rental period is usually for a year. If you must keep this important information at home, get creative. One example, is keeping your information behind some photos hanging on your wall. Just don’t forget where you hid them.
When you are on vacation, take precautions there, too. Use the safe in your room. Sure, those room safes are not known to be spacious, but it’s far better than having that new iPad stolen. Also be sure to lock your door when you are in your room. If you don’t want housekeeping in the room, be sure to use the DO NOT DISTURB sign. You can request extra towels and toiletries from housekeeping.
If you are using public wifi, be extra careful. Try not to check your banking or shop online when using public wifi unless you are absolutely certain you are not in a public area and the wifi is secure. Chances are, that Amazon item you saw on your iPad app while lounging at the pool can wait until you get home. You can never be too certain who is watching when you are busy looking at your smartphone.
Ahh jewelry. I really love jewelry. Try to resist the temptation of wearing expensive jewelry when on vacation. Keeping your jewelry in a safe deposit box is a great place to keep them when away from home. This is the time to wear the funky and colorful jewelry you know you have! You may even find some new jewelry while on vacation.
I hope you have found this article interesting and insightful. We envision our vacations to be perfect, and with a little extra preparation and some diligence, you CAN have a perfectly stress-free vacation! Do you have any additional tips on how to stay safe? Please let me know in the comments below! I would love to hear from you!
Tamara Botzum is a recent graduate of The Disney College of Knowledge and is happily selling Disney travel through CruiseDirections.com.
Tamara and husband Spencer have visited Walt Disney World over eight times so far. Their first trip together was in 2006. They have also visited Disneyland twice. When Tamara is not selling Disney vacations, she enjoys reading, interacting with Disney friends on Facebook, traveling, writing short stories and crafting.
Great article, Tamara! Good & practical advice.
Tamara — really enjoyed your article and need to add one thing. Many people think they are ‘safe’ because they are in a Walt Disney destination and this can lead to actions they wouldn’t think twice about doing at home. I heard from the owner of Orlando Stroller Rentals that there was a team of stroller thieves working the parks about a year ago which caused her to lose a bunch of strollers to theft. A young woman would walk around the theme parks with a small child and when she saw a stroller parked with valuables left in it (camera, diaper bag, etc), she would plop the child in the stroller and wheel the child out of the park to the parking lot where her partner waited. She would put the stroller and valuables in the trunk of the car and go back in the park for her next ‘hit’. This team was caught and many of the valuables recovered but you never know who else is out there pulling the same thing.
Hi Marlene! Here is what Tamara had to say:
“Very good point. I had not heard of this story, but I can see how that could be done. As safe as Disney likes to make us feel, one should keep his/her guard up. Thank you so much for this additional information. It does anger me when adults use children to commit crimes.”