Protecting yourself when you travel
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Protecting yourself when you travel

Winter has ended and the start of the travelling season begins in earnest very shortly. Although most travelelers experience nothing more than sunburn or a missed exit off the highway, it always pays to be careful when planning a trip. Here are some common sense tips and a checklist to help you avoid more serious problems when you travel.

Preparing Your Home

“¢ Stop mail and newspapers delivery or have a trusted neighbor collect them daily.

“¢ Leaves shades and blinds in normal positions.

“¢ Ask a neighbor to keep your property maintained (grass mowed, snow shoveled).

“¢ Put at least two lights and a radio on automatic timers.

“¢ Park your car in the driveway, visible.

“¢ Leave emergency contact information with a trusted neighbor.

“¢ Lock all doors and windows. Don’t forget to double check basement and garage doors and windows.

“¢ Check to make sure your home heating and air-conditioning systems are working correctly

Prepare Yourself

“¢ Make a record of your passport, credit card and travelers check numbers as well as any plane, train or bus ticket. Give a copy of the list to a family member or friend for safekeeping.

“¢ Make sure you have enough prescription medication for your trip + two days extra.

“¢ Clean out your wallet or pocketbook. Don’t take anything you don’t need. (Do you really need your Nordstrom’s credit card on safari in Africa?).

“¢ Place a piece of paper with your name and itinerary inside each bag. This will make a lost or damaged bag easy to identify and return to you.

“¢ Check the TSA, U.S. Department of State and destination web sites and make sure you are educated on all the newest travel restrictions and advisories.

“¢ If you are traveling with small children, make sure you can handle them while carrying the necessary baggage also. Consider shipping some items ahead to your destination to alleviate problems. Have extra diapers, meds, and any small food items needed in case of extended delays.

“¢ Make sure everyone in your party (children especially) knows your name, address and phone number and where you are staying.

On the Road

“¢ Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Use credit cards and travelers checks whenever possible.

“¢ If you are driving, plan your route carefully. A GPS is a great addition but sometimes they are not up to date; so have a current map handy. The American Automobile Association (AAA) has a free service to members that will map out your entire route for you. Oradell and Wayne are the nearest AAA offices.

“¢ When you stop for the night, take the extra few minutes and remove the luggage and valuables from the car and bring them into the room with you.

“¢ Carry a cell phone, everywhere.

“¢ Pay attention to the local weather forecasts and heed any warnings or advisories

“¢ Do not enter your hotel room if the door is ajar.

“¢ Check the room before you settle in for the night. Check under beds, in showers, behind curtains to make sure no one is hiding.

“¢ Ask for a second floor or higher room (not beyond 6 floors). You will be above street level, but below the maximum height of most fire apparatus ability to reach you in an emergency.

“¢ Locate all fire exits, elevators and know the best way to get out.

“¢ Do not answer the door in a hotel without knowing who is there. If a person at the door says he is a hotel employee (and you are not expecting him) call the front desk and verify who he is and why he is there.

“¢ If someone is loitering in the hallway, DO NOT GO TO YOUR ROOM. Turn around and go back to the front desk and report it.

“¢ Don’t leave the door open for any amount of time, even if you are going 10 feet to the ice machine.

“¢ Be careful not to give your credit card information to anyone on the phone. A current scam is for criminals to use the in-house hotel phone to call your room and say they are from the front desk and need to confirm a credit card number. If you are not sure about the call, walk to the front desk and ask.

“¢ A woman traveling alone should consider asking for an escort to her room or to to her car. If the front desk clerk mentions your room number loudly, request a new room.

“¢ Avoid advertising that you are a tourist by the way you dress.

“¢ Have a pre-arranged meeting times and locations if your group gets separated.

“¢ If you are traveling internationally, be aware of the local customs and any current security concerns. You can check the U.S. Department of State’s web site for information and assistance numbers. http://travel.state.gov/

The Teaneck Police Department, under the leadership of Chief Robert A. Wilson, would like to wish you a problem-free and memorable travel experience. Most importantly we wish you a safe return to OUR community. If you have any comments or questions, you can call the Community Policing Bureau at 201-837-8759 or email: mfalvey@teaneckpolice.org.

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