Family Vacation Tips

Planning a family vacation? Whether your destination is Disney World, Denver, or Denmark, there are certain things you need to keep in mind. Making the trip fun and enjoyable for everyone is key; that's what it's all about. But just as important to the success of your trip will be steps you take to make it a safe one.

Before You Leave

Preventing crime during family travel starts with making sure your home is protected while you're away. The key is to make it look like you never left:
  • Keep shades and blinds in their normal position.
  • Stop mail and newspapers, or ask neighbors to pick them up every day.
  • Put timers on several household lights so they turn on and off at appropriate times.
  • Arrange to have grass mowed while you're gone.
  • Make sure all your door and window locks are in working order - and use them. Activate your home alarm (if you have one).
Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway overnight - anything that might suggest someone's home. And don't forget to lock all doors and windows when you leave.

Remember that the Ponce Inlet Police Department offers a vacation watch while you are away from home. All you have to do is come by the Police Department or down load one of our forms from the website. Complete the form and turn it back in. The Police Department will make regular checks on your home to insure that all is well with it. Remember an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Packing for Prevention

Preparing for a family trip requires a lot of planning. You need to decide where you're going, where you'll stay and how you'll get from one place to another. You also need to decide what to take with you. Planning can decrease the chances of crime joining you on your journey. Some tips on what to take:
  • Clean out your wallet or purse before you go; take only essential credit cards. Plan to use credit cards or traveler's checks instead of cash wherever possible.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, or your wallet in an inside front pocket. Better yet, take "fanny packs" or wear a money pouch under your clothes.
  • Pack as lightly as possible. Lots of heavy, cumbersome bags will slow you down and make you more vulnerable to getting robbed.
  • Expensive designer luggage can draw unneeded attention to your belongings. Pack your things in inconspicuous bags.
  • Keep a separate record of the contents of checked luggage. And keep anything of value such as medicine and jewelry in a carry-on that stays with you.
  • If you are going on an extended vacation, consider shipping large bags to your destination in advance. For the return trip, mail bulky new purchases home, or ask merchants to do it for you.

Out & About

Your home is secured and you're packed. Now it's time to go. While you and your family are traveling, it's important to remember that tourists make tempting targets for thieves. Often lost or distracted, weighed down with bags, and carrying cameras, tickets and money, unsuspecting travelers attract crime like a magnet.

The best advice for you and your family is to do all you can to blend in with the crowd by doing the following:
  • Don't display expensive jewelry, cameras, bags, and other items that might draw attention.
  • Check maps before you go out so you can tour confidently.
  • Stick to well-lighted, well-traveled streets at all times - no shortcuts.
  • Always lock your car when it's parked, even if the stop is brief. Keep valuables out of sight, preferably locked in the trunk. Don't advertise that you're a tourist by leaving maps and guidebooks on the seat or dashboard - keep them in the glove compartment.
Traveling safely with your family also means sticking together and keeping an eye on your children at all times. Make sure they know where you are staying (name and address), and teach them what to do if they get lost or separated. You might want to agree on a meeting place, just in case. And by all means, make sure your kids know not to accept rides or favors from strangers.

Make your family vacation a memorable one for all the right reasons.

Helpful Resources

Crime prevention tips provided by the National Crime Prevention Council.