Missed connections can make travel rough, but few things can ruin a trip faster than worrying about the safety and security of things at home, losing a credit card, or getting sick in a country that doesn’t accept your insurance. All of these can be a bit less painful if you plan ahead and have a few travel safety tools in place.
Securing Your Home When You’re on the Road
To travel we have to leave home. That can mean leaving our residences unattended for a week or more, along with all our valuables and maybe even our pets. An excellent way to keep an eye on things at home while you are away is with a home security monitoring system.
My recommendation is the Panasonic Home Monitoring System for four easy reasons:
1. It is super easy to set up (that’s key for this technologically challenged Traveling Grandmom)
2. At just under $300 it is relatively inexpensive.
3. The system connects to your home’s Wi-Fi.
4. You load the Panasonic Monitoring App on your smartphone and watch the video feed directly from there.
The system also has speakers that allow you to talk to people in your home through the cameras from your phone. Hopefully if you are traveling, no one will be there, but if you’ve left Kitty at home you can always let her know the caretaker will arrive soon to keep her company. (By the way, I don’t need this for my grandkids, but I really wish it would have been available when my kids were teenagers. Check out these 5 ways to use home surveillance to monitor your kids.)
Protecting Your Finances
There is no worse feeling than being away from home – especially in a foreign country and losing your credit card or having it declined because your financial institution is protecting you from fraudulent use. It has happened to me and, trust me, it is frustrating and often a bit scary.
The key to avoid having the card declined by your financial institution is to report upcoming travel in advance. My credit cards are set up to accept all domestic locations due to the amount of travel I do each year. But, for international trips, I always report the dates and places of upcoming travel.
It is also crucial that you take more than one credit and/or debit card when you travel and do not keep them in the same place. If you have one in your wallet, have another one in the safe at the hotel or somewhere else secure. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you will at least have a back-up.
Many of us (myself included) only consider travel insurance when we are concerned about a cancellation that would cause us to forfeit a huge trip deposit. But travel insurance can help in many other ways. Each type of travel insurance has different features ranging from trip interruptions to shortened trips and flight delays or missed connections.
While many personal health insurance policies cover you while you travel, out of network providers are considerably more expensive than a travel insurance policy premium. If you are traveling internationally it is important to check your policy to be certain you have coverage outside the United States. Even if you don’t need medical coverage, depending on your destination you may want to consider emergency medical evacuation coverage.
A Few Other Safety and Security Tips
Don’t post all the details of your trip on social media sites. Unless you have the
strictest privacy settings in place on all your social media sites it is risky to let the world know how long your home will be vacant. Even though you can use your new Panasonic Home Monitoring system to talk to an intruder in your house, it is far better not to invite the intruder to visit.
For road trips, take an emergency road care kit with booster cables, a flashlight, AA batteries and duct tape. You can find ready made kits for about $40 and most include a basic First Aid kit.
Finally, for international travel, scan a copy of your passport before leaving home and e-mail it to yourself or save it to the cloud so you can access it electronically if necessary.
Oh, and if you’re traveling with your kids or grandkids – pack your sense of humor and patience.