Staying safe while traveling is paramount. Because you’re in an unfamiliar place, away from home, surrounded by strangers, it’s easy to get lost in anxiety when thinking about how to keep yourself, your car, and your things safe. This short list is a great place to start when factoring in a secure journey.
Keeping Your Car Safe
Making sure that your vehicle remains safe and sturdy while you’re on an adventure is important and especially critical if you’re taking a road trip. First, start with an emergency box in your car: this can include a first aid kit, including bandaids, neosporin, braces, wraps, etc.; phone charger; insurance ID cards for your health/dental/vision insurance; and quick on-the-go snacks.
Second, make sure you have a spare bottle of fluids for your car in the event that you break down or need top-offs on your trip. This can include engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, windshield washing fluid, and brake fluid.
Third, make sure you have a spare tire, jack, and tire iron in your car, along with an air pressure gauge or pump. Most gas stations have vacuums on-site, but they often charge in coins (and who carries those anymore) or are out of the way of wilderness adventurers who prefer isolated areas.
In terms of keeping the vehicle itself safe, making sure you don’t have your title or other key documents in your car can ensure it’s less likely to be stolen. Keep your car insurance ID card and registration in the glove box, but take other information and lock it in the trunk. If you’re keeping important documents in the trunk, try to make sure you aren’t putting them away in clear sight of other people. Don’t keep anything valuable or critical in your car for longer than a few hours if you’re going away from the car, including laptops, cell phones, tablets, purses, etc.
Keeping Your Stuff Safe
Keeping your things safe during travel can be simplified into one key phrase: remain vigilant. If you’re staying at a hotel, make sure that you put away any valuables as soon as you’re in the room. If you want, you can leave highly valuable items in your bags, and not unpack them until you need them.
Clothes, shoes, jewelry, and other wearables can go into closet or dresser drawers if they’re available at your hotel. Making sure not to leave things in the car overnight can help keep your things safe.
Basic safety tips also include making sure the hotel has access to a spare room key, in the event that you lose your own. If you go down to the pool or bar, don’t take anything along with you and ensure you lock the door to the hotel.
If you’re camping alone or staying at a cabin, ensuring you have proper lockboxes for valuable items can help keep them safe from other people or even wildlife. Campsites in bear-frequented area will have bear boxes available, so use them for valuables and food.
Keeping Yourself Safe
Finally, how do you keep yourself safe while traveling?
First, make sure you alert people you trust – family or friends – as to where you’re going, your route, and your pitstops. Making sure you have access to cell service along the way can keep you out of trouble.
Ensure all of your IDs are up to date and not nearing expiry, including your passport if you need one for your destination. Checking with your cell phone service provider about the limits or restrictions surrounding international travel is also a great preventative measure, just in case you need to make calls home while you’re traveling.
Taking basic precautions like not divulging your location to strangers, staying out of seedy areas especially at night, and using well-lit and populated areas as pitstops can also keep you safe. Avoid stopping at that cheap gas station if there’s a bigger, well-known one close by – Wawa, Racetrac, and other gas stations are often staffed 24/7 and offer a measure of security and peace. Along major highways and other roadways, there are often security-patrolled rest stops you can use for a quick bathroom or snack break, and that’s preferred to getting off the highway along the route.
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