Millions of travelers will set out on long road trips to see family and friends this holiday season. Take a moment to read these tips for keeping your self and belongings safe.

First, keep your travel plans on a need to know basis. Do not post your excitement about being out of town on social media sites. Resist the urge to "check-in" on Facebook at various restaurants or clubs. Friends of friends might not be the most savory of characters, leaving thieves with direct knowledge of when your home is empty.

Consider enlisting the help of a house sitter. This could simply be a teenager or college student home on break that would love to have a few days of solitude. If you have pets, this person could double as a pet sitter. Instead of staying in a kennel for the vacation, your pet could be cozy in the comfort of their own home.

If you’re not in the position to hire a sitter, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home. Tell them to notify the police if they see any activity on your property.

Leave on a few lights or TVs in your home as well. This can give the appearance that the house is occupied.

There is one person, however, with whom you should share your travel plans. Let someone at your destination know your itinerary. Let them know where you plan on stopping, staying, and when you should arrive. During inclement weather this could end up being a life saver.

Another life saver is safety gear for road trips. Be sure to stock your car with kitty litter (for icy road traction), flares, cell phone charger, water, protein bars, blankets, and warm clothing.

Check your car over before starting down the road. Check fluid levels and also that your spare tire is fully inflated. Be sure the jack is in the car as well.

If you are making a long trip, switch off drivers every few hours to make you keep fresh. Don’t drive while tired. It would be better to stop for the night than risk falling asleep at the wheel.

It should also go without saying that you should never ever drive after you’ve been drinking. If you plan on drinking at a holiday party, be sure to make arrangements for a designated driver or a cab or keep your drinking to a minimum.

Finally, its important to keep peace during a long trip. Kids do best when well-fed, entertained, and rested. In order to keep everyone happy you must plan ahead. First, consider packing portable dvd players and headphone or handheld game systems. These can offer hours of entertainment.

Next, consider bringing travel versions of kids favorite board games, such as Trouble or Guess Who?.

Pack some easy to "eat on the go" foods, such as string cheese, fruit, or granola bars. Finally, make nap time a breeze by packing a few pillows and blankets.

The bottom line is traveling can be fun, it just takes a few precautions to keep your family and home safe.

Log in to comment