Miami-Dade County

Crime Watch: Take precuations when traveling

Travel plans are on many minds, as this is the time of year when many people will be enjoying time away from home. Traveling to new destinations is fun, but however, it can be dangerous if safety is not considered while making plans. I want to share some basic tips to assist you in getting the most out of your trip without fear of becoming a victim of a crime:

• When booking your trip online, always consider a major travel site whose reputation you are familiar with or comes highly recommended. I usually go directly to the airline or hotel site. Be cautious of travel sites that offer discounted prices that are too good to be true. You may not receive the promised tickets or reservations, only to find your money was taken. Be careful when entering your credit card information and see if the website is secure for financial transactions.

• When making any travel plans, be careful and read thoroughly the fine print and all agreements relating to the cancellation terms and penalties that could be involved.

• For personal safety always make sure someone else knows your plans, with a thorough itinerary of your trip and where you can be reached in case of an emergency. And please let your alarm company know. Depending where you live, advise your local police so a watch order can be placed on your home.

• Refrain from carrying large amounts of cash with you. Contact your credit card company before going on a trip to inform it of your destination. This notification will allow a fraud alert to be placed on your card, and your purchases won’t be suspect when made in different areas than where you normally make purchases. Have the telephone number of the credit/debit card company available in the event the card is stolen or lost. I even go as far as telling the card companies that no purchase over $200 is allowed since I know I am not going to buy anything that costs more than that.

• Be careful not to flash money, jewelry or other valuables during the trip. Women, use fanny packs, and men, keep your wallet in the front pocket. Keep all valuables in the room safe or hotel safe, and leave electronics devices and cameras in the room safe when you’re not using them.

• Should anyone knock on your door, check through the hotel peep hole before opening the door. Always have your hotel door secure and locked at all times. Consider leaving the lights on and the television/radio on when you are not in the room to make it seem as if the room is occupied when you’re not there.

• If possible download your cell phone contacts to your computer in case your cell is lost, and have your provider number handy.

• Lastly, before going anywhere do a little research about the area you are visiting; contact the local police department for advice on areas you should stay out of!

Traveling to a new place is exciting, but to enjoy it we need to take some good steps first.