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What should you know when you check into a hotel? What should you take out of your wallet or purse when you go out on the town? What can you do to protect your home before you go out for an evening or on a trip? How do you make your home look “lived-in”?

Here are super safety tips to avoid problems when you’re out of town.

Personal Travel Plan: Think Before You Go

  • Before you leave, make sure your house appears “lived-in”.  Lock all doors and windows, set household lights (inside and out) on timers.
  • Trim your hedges and bushes so thieves cannot have a place to hide out.
  • Have a neighbor park a car in your driveway to make it appear as if someone is home.
  • Have a neighbor pick up your mail and newspapers while you are away or have them held at the post office.
  • Invest in an alarm.  An alarm system controls access points to your home and lets you know if someone has invaded your space.
  • If you are traveling alone, tell a friend or family your “travel plan” so they will know where you are going, the route you plan to take, when you plan to arrive and how to contact you. If you deviate from that plan, let someone know.

Driving: On the Road Again

  • At the mall or downtown, park in well-lighted areas and close to the building.
  • Always lock your car doors.  Keep valuables out of sight, preferably in the trunk of your car.  Put shopping bags in the trunk too.
  • Never pick up hitchhikers.
  • Do not stop alongside the road if possible. If your car is bumped from behind or if someone indicates there is something wrong with your car, go to a service station or a well-lighted, populated area and call for help.
  • Fill the gas tank before dark; lock your car doors and roll up your windows if you step away from the car for any reason.

Travel Destination: Checking In

  • Use all hotel locks and other security devices, even when you’re in your room.
  • Store valuables in the room safe or in the facility’s main safe.
  • Don’t tell strangers the name of your hotel, your room number, or other personal information.
  • Guard your room keys.  Don’t leave them unattended or visible at restaurants, the pool, or clubs.
  • Don’t prop open your door or open your door to strangers.  Use the peep hole before opening the door.
  • Don’t leave your purse or bags unattended at hotel buffets or lounges.

Personal Safety: On the Town

  • Leave large amounts of cash at home. Carry only the cash you need in your purse or wallet.
  • Limit the number of credit cards you carry.  Bring only the necessary credit card(s) with you and carry money separately from credit cards.
  • Women should keep purses closed and snuggled tightly against the body.
  • Men should keep wallets in a front pants pocket or coat pocket.
  • Know your route and stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets.
  • If you feel threatened, get away and call for help, or try to go to a crowded place.
  • Always let someone know where you are going, who you are with, and when you will return.
  • Avoid going off with strangers, and always use the buddy system.
  • Avoid using alcohol and other drugs to excess.  Impaired judgment can put you in potentially dangerous situations.
  • Select ATM machines in visible, well-lighted locations.

Thank you to the National Crime Prevention Council for sharing advice with The National Crime Prevention Council is the nonprofit leader in crime prevention. For more than 30 years, our symbol of safety, McGruff the Crime Dog®, has delivered easy-to-use crime prevention tips that protect what matters most—you, your family, and your community.