How to Keep Your Home Safe While You Are on Vacation

No one wants to worry about their home while on vacation. Here are some tips to help keep your house safe from burglars while you are enjoying your holiday.

Don’t Advertise

It’s only natural to want to share your vacation plans with others. But sharing them on social media is a bad idea. Once it’s out there, you have no control over where the information ends up. Your plans could end up in the hands of thieves. And they’ll know that they have lots of time to do a thorough job of clearing your home of all your valuables. Likewise, sharing photos and updates on social media isn’t a good idea either. I’ll admit, I was guilty of this. It’s hard to not share photos and exciting stories about the fun things you’re experiencing. But wait until you get home to share your vacation online.

Lock it Up

Lock up valuables and documents in an immobile safe, bank safety deposit box or leave them with a trusted friend or family member. For Example:

  • Tablets and Laptops
  • Important documents (Social Security Cards, birth certificates, spare credit cards, password lists, etc.)
  • Keys to your home, office, car, etc.
  • Expensive jewelry and electronic devices
  • Firearms and ammunition

A portable, fireproof safe is fine for protecting valuables from fire. But it won’t stop a thief from walking off with it. If you use portable safes, leave them with a friend/family member while you’re away.

Make Your Home Look Occupied

Put your mail and newspaper on hold or ask someone to pick them up for you. If you’re gone for more than a week, have someone mow your lawn in the summer. (If it’s winter, ask someone to shovel your driveway after a snowfall and leave footprints going to and from your door.) Don’t leave your garbage bins by the road. Ask someone to put them out and bring them in or skip it altogether.

Put a few indoor lights (in various rooms) on timers. Don’t use just one light; it’s a dead giveaway that you’re not home. And don’t have the lights all go on and off at the same time. Try to set them up so they switch on and off at the same times that you would switch them on/off when you are home.

Put outdoor lights on timers, too. Or hook them up with light sensors so they’ll go on at dusk and off at dawn.

Put your radio or TV on a timer so that there is noise in your home now and then. If you have a home phone, turn off the ringer so that thieves won’t hear your phone ring, and ring, and ring…

A silent air conditioner on a hot day is a good indicator that no one is home. Leave it on, but set it at a high temperature so that you won’t spend too much extra on electricity.

Whether or not to close the blinds/drapes has always been a topic of debate. On one hand, if they are all closed, it gives the appearance of being deserted. On the other hand, leaving them open allows burglars to look into your home to see if there’s anything worth stealing. One idea is to leave them closed part way. Or you could close the living room/family room curtains and leave the rest fully or partially open. Think about what you normally do with your blinds/drapes and plan accordingly. Remember, though, if you choose to leave them open, be sure to move any valuable items out of sight. If you have someone coming over to water your plants, etc., they could also open/close your blinds.

Ask Neighbors for Help

Some thieves like to use a ruse where they show up at a house in a work van acting like they’re supposed to be there. What they’re actually doing is stealing your stuff. Let trusted neighbors know that you will be out of town and ask them to keep an eye on your house and report any suspicious activity. And tell them that you will not be having any work done on the house while you’re away.

Notify Your Security Company

If you have a security system, notify the company that you will be away. Make sure you set the alarm properly before leaving.

Notify the Police

Some local police departments will provide extra patrols by your home if you notify them that you will be out of town. Check with yours.

Do You Rent?

Notify your apartment manager or landlord that you will be away and ask them to keep an eye on your apartment/home. Some landlords want you to let them know if you’ll be gone for more than a couple days. Some even put it in the lease. If you plan to have someone house sit or check in on your apartment, you may want to let your landlord know that, as well.

Garage and Cars

This is another subject that causes debate. Some say leaving a car outside gives the impression that someone is home. If you do leave a car in the driveway, take out any valuables and the garage door opener. Make sure the car is locked up.

Others say that it’s safer to put your cars in the garage with the windows closed and the doors locked. This protects your cars and also takes up space so thieves can’t park a van in your garage where they can remain unseen by neighbors while they clear out your home.

Leave your car keys with a friend or hide them carefully so, if your home does get invaded, the thieves won’t have easy access to your cars.

Unplug the power to your automatic garage door opener to keep thieves from opening it with a universal remote. Many garage door openers come with a manual release which consists of a rope with a handle on the end. Some burglars are adept at catching the handle with a coat hanger and disengaging it so they can open the door manually. If you have one of those, secure the handle up and out of site so the burglars won’t be able to see it. Lock your garage doors (most doors come with a manual locking device). Securely lock all exterior garage doors and windows.

Lock the House

Lock all exterior doors and windows. Check patio doors, balcony doors and skylights as well. Lock or secure all pet doors.

Don’t Hide Keys Outside

Don’t leave spare keys outside the house. Every thief knows the trick of keeping a spare key under the welcome mat, in a fake rock, etc. If you insist on hiding keys outside of the house, bring them in and hide them in a safe place or leave them with a friend while you are on vacation.

Catching a Ride?

If you take a taxi or shuttle to the airport, don’t discuss your travel plans in front of the driver. To be extra cautious, have the driver pick you up at a friend’s house or have a friend drive you.

Stay Safe…

The Best Travel Tips For Your Dream Vacation

It is not rare to hear about vacations that have gone horribly wrong. However, the bottom line is, the nightmare would probably not have happened with good planning. If you want to avoid the problems that come along with poor vacation planning, read on for some great advice. Be aware of your passport’s expiration date. Some countries have very specific rules regarding passports, including when they expire. Depending on the expiration date of your passport, a country may not let you visit. These times can be three or six months, or even eight months to a year. Some travel websites off e-tracking options that you can use. This will provide you with the most current and cheapest methods of travel. You will be sent email alerts if a flight you have shown interest in lowers it price and can now be purchased at a lower rate. If you have already booked a flight, you will also receive an email alert if the price of the ticket has dropped.

TIP! If you’re going on a cruise, pack a tackle box and keep your valuables in it. Cruises often have a lot of thieves aboard them and you don’t want to risk losing something important to you.

Use a list to help you pack your essentials. Put together a list of things you must take with you. You can start doing this a couple of months out, but should be finished about a week before your trip. This can especially help you if you are in a rush to pack, as it will prevent you forgetting things or including unnecessary items. You do not always have to travel far to experience a great day trip or weekend getaway. There are probably places you haven’t enjoyed in your home state or the neighboring ones. Staying local allows you to save money while benefiting your own local economy. The perfect getaway could be right around the corner. If you bring them, you will be able to connect your laptop to the TV in your room. You can take advantage of various streaming movies rather than pay for expensive rentals directly from the hotel.

TIP! Going on a cruise can be an appealing way to travel for those who want to visit many different locations. They can do so without having to drive themselves or have the hassle of different planes and/or trains.

Sleeping pills can get you through a red-eye flight. This can help you to sleep in a situation that many are uncomfortable in, on board an airplane. If you have trouble sleeping while flying, feel free to have a sleeping pill shortly before your flight in order to help you relax and possibly get a nap in during the trip. Don’t take the medication before you go in case there are delays or problems with the plane. Always plan ahead when traveling by air. Just reaching the airport can be difficult to do quickly, especially if you are traveling through a major city during rush hour. Have your bags packed well in advance. You need to make all of your travel plans far before you plan to fly. Not making your flight will cost you time and money. Make sure your dog is easily accustomed to new places if you plan on traveling together. Your dog needs to reliably respond to leash and voice commands, and you should always keep it leashed during travel and in public places. When traveling, you can assure the safety of your pet by being in control of his activities at all times.

TIP! If you are packing for a cruise, don’t buy anything new for the trip. This is because most cruises today will allow you to remain in casual clothes even for dinner, and almost never require that you dress in black-tie formalwear.

Pack light, and be sure to plan your trip when you travel. A light, smart packing job will make any trip easier and more enjoyable. A desert contains lots of interesting places to look at as well as animals most people never get to see in their lives. A visit to the desert is a breathtaking event, particularly for those who have never made one before, and is something that should not be missed. Be wise about food allergies when visiting a foreign country to avoid dangerous liaisons. Learn enough about the foreign language to understand if something may be dangerous for you. This way, you can easily explain your allergies to waitstaff or chefs in restaurants or–should something happen–medical professionals.

TIP! If you are planning a long cruise, consider selecting a cruise line that offers self-service laundry. This will reduce the amount of laundry you need to bring along when you pack, and is also significantly cheaper than asking the ship’s crew to do your laundry for you.

If you want the cheapest exchange rates, wait to exchange your currency until you arrive at the destination. If you know there won’t be a place to easily exchange currency once you land in your destination country, exchange a limited amount before you leave and then look for a better exchange rate once you arrive in-country. The reason for some of the worst stories about traveling happen because the traveler didn’t think ahead and plan correctly. With the information you have obtained in this article, it is now possible for you to enjoy your vacation stress free!

8 Tips For Eating Healthy While Traveling

If you travel for work or pleasure, you know that healthy food can sometimes be hard to come by. Or I should at least say there are so many temptations out there that the healthy options seem few and far between. Being prepared is 75% of the battle when it comes to eating healthy while traveling. It definitely requires a little planning and a special nutritional strategy. Luckily, you can adhere to your healthy eating plan with a little extra work. These 8 tips for healthy eating while traveling provide some solid ideas to staying on track while on the go.

1. Location – When you’re choosing where to stay, it’s all about location. Let’s say you’re traveling for work and you’ll be in the same location for at least a few days. Finding a spot that’s close to healthy resources is key. Is there a grocery store nearby that you can run to for healthy snacks and/or meals? Are there healthy cafes or restaurants within walking distance that you can stop in for a bite to eat? It’s easy to make the excuse that you can’t eat healthy while on the road if there aren’t good options around you. Don’t make that your excuse. Choose as wisely as you can to set yourself up for success.

2. Accommodations With A Kitchen or Kitchenette – One of the best ways to ensure healthy eating while traveling is to have access to some type of kitchen. Extended stay hotels, vacation rentals and Air B & B are all great options if convenient to your location. If a kitchen isn’t available, having a refrigerator in your hotel room for some healthy options is a great alternative. The point being that if you have either a kitchen or a refrigerator, you have the ability stock up with good snacks and easy meals. Things like fresh fruit and vegetables, bottled water, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, nuts, natural peanut butter, rotisserie chicken and canned fish are fantastic options that are easy to store and don’t require a lot of prep work to create a quick meal or snack.

3. Ship Items Before – Another strategy would be to ship your favorite dry goods to your location before hand. Protein powder, beans, nuts, canned tuna, bread and quick cooking oats are all items you could have sent prior to your arrival so that you have some healthy options waiting for you.

4. Carry A Cooler – Tote your health food around with you. Stock a cooler full of your favorite healthy snacks, sandwiches, bottled water and anything you need for the day. This options works well if you can drive to your location and bring your cooler with you. If you’re flying, you’ll need a collapsible cooler to pack in your suitcase.

5. Research Restaurants In The Area – Do your research before you go. Even if you have access to a kitchen or a refrigerator, you still may want or need to eat for a few meals. Find out what restaurants are in the area and which menus offer healthy options that interest you. You can plan any outings to one of these restaurants and know what you’re going to eat when you walk in the door.

6. Protein Powder – Protein is often the hardest thing to come by. Healthy eating on the go is made much easier if you can bring some protein powder with you. Even it it’s a back up, you know you have a good protein source to go to if you can’t find a viable option. Sometimes your healthy eating strategy might require using a combination of options. For example, finding some fruit and vegetables might be easy but grabbing a protein source might be pretty expensive. In certain cases, protein powder can fill in the gaps.

7. Supergreen Supplement – It’s often times very difficult to get the correct amount of vegetables in when traveling. This is the perfect time to incorporate a great supplement like Amazing Grass, Green Defense or Greens +. A supplement is just that – a way to supplement your diet. While this shouldn’t be your mainstay to getting in vegetables, it can always be used as a way to up your micronutrient intake and get some greens into your diet.

8. Bring Homemade Snacks – Bring homemade non-perishable snacks with you. Homemade granola or protein bars, protein muffins, kale chips and homemade granola or trail mix are all wonderful options to take with you. If you have healthy food with you, chances are that you’ll eat that healthy food rather than seeking out the junky stuff.

If you’ll notice (or maybe you already have), the common theme here is that you need to be prepared. If you’re committed to a goal of weight loss, a health goal or just want to ensure you’re eating good quality meals, you’ve got to set yourself up for success. Healthy eating while traveling is totally doable but it does require a bit of planning and strategy to make it work.

Tips on Finding the Best Golf Courses to Visit During Vacation

If you like to hit the links, you can find amazing places to play all over the world. You can plan an entire vacation around your game, or you can just plan to fit in a few holes while you are visiting a new place. Whatever kind of trip you are planning, you will need to identify the best golf courses so you can get the most out of your experience while you are there.

Here are a few tips on how you can find the best greens when you are traveling away from home:

Learn about Course Characteristics

All golf courses are designed a bit differently. Sure, the end result is to get the ball in the hole, but you may have to make it over hilly terrain, deal with huge sandbars, or manage other obstacles along the way. Some places are designed for a more professional skill set, while others are created with amateurs in mind. They may offer the full 18 holes, or they may only offer nine. Make sure you know exactly what to expect from the green before you sign up for a game. You’ll be operating on limited time, and you don’t want to waste any of it on an unsatisfying game.

Look for Places Open to the Public

Some of the very best golf courses in the world are not open to the public. You usually must have a membership to the country club or to the greens themselves. If you are just visiting, you aren’t likely to invest in a membership. Make sure you find out whether the course is open to the public before you put it on your list. You don’t want to wait until you’re turned away at the door to find out that you aren’t going to be able to play there.

Find Out about Greens Fees

Even if the golf courses you choose are open to the public, they will still charge you fees for the privilege of playing. You may also be required to pay additional fees for required items. Some places will provide a discount at certain times of the week or certain times of the day — usually the least busy days and times. If you want to play somewhere that charges high fees, you can still make it fit your budget by planning your game during one of these discounted times. Add in caddy fees and other charges you may face.

Playing a round of golf is a great way to relax, helping you to enjoy your vacation even more. Going to new golf courses on your vacation can help you enjoy a little variety in your game. Make sure that you research potential places to play before you make your agenda to ensure that they will meet your needs and fit your budget. These tips can help you identify the right places to play so that you have a game and a vacation to remember.