20 Dec 2017 by Olga Brighton
Millions of us travel over Christmas, or host family and friends at home, so stay safe and keep that festive feeling throughout the holidays with our home security and Christmas travel guide, because it’s not just Santa Clause who’s coming to town...
Are you leaving your home unattended for hours on end, or days over Christmas? It’s a sad fact that burglaries increases by around 30% during the holidays, as unoccupied homes full of gifts and Christmas goodies make rich pickings for unscrupulous burglars on the prowl. Take a few straightforward steps to reduce risk, leaving you to enjoy your travels.
The best Christmas gift you can buy yourself is an automatic timer for lights and radios. It will deter casual observers and opportunists. Don’t close curtains or blinds in an attempt to make your home look less tempting. It could do the opposite and send a clear message that you are away. Move car keys; door and window keys well out of site and don’t store them anywhere near a door.
If you are away for a while, arrange for your local postal service to keep your mail when you’re away, or get a neighbour to pop in each day to collect it. This avoids tell-tale piles of post in the doorway, or a bulging mailbox, which is a sure sign that nobody’s home.
Don’t leave a spare key in that clever outdoor hiding place that only you know about! You can be sure that if you have thought of it – so will any devious burglar. Be discreet when discussing travel plans where others may overhear. Avoid the temptation of announcing your travel plans on social media; or tagging your location (away from home) on Facebook etc. Leave a key with a neighbour or friend who can pop in regularly and clear post, open and close curtains, park their car on your drive to maintain an “I’m home” impression. Even if neighbours can’t pop over – still tell them your travel plans and whether anyone else is expected at your home, so they can raise the alarm if they spot unexpected activity or suspicious behavior.
Avoid unwanted Christmas surprises like burst pipes by keeping heating set to come on for short time periods and insulate exposed outside pipes.
You may have more than ever to remember when travelling at Christmas and everywhere is busier than usual which can add to the stress of travel. Make your check list and check it as many times as necessary to ensure you are good to go before you travel. Keep essential documents accessible and don’t carry liquids over 100ml in your hand luggage so you can breeze through security.
Plan your route well in advance and check traffic reports on the day to ensure nothing unexpected will scupper your plans, like accidents, maintenance work, or even strike action.
Your Egg Nog, or Christmas pudding may be legendary family favorites, but check restrictions on drink and foodstuffs before you pack, if travelling by plane, or crossing country borders.
Bookies have slashed the odds for the warmest UK Christmas on record this year, but we’ve seen temperatures of minus 13 this month! So the message is – weather is changeable, so check and re-check the weather at your chosen destination and pack (and dress) accordingly.
Crackers are a great Christmas tradition, but many airlines don’t allow Christmas crackers in your luggage, nor party poppers, fireworks or sparklers. We don’t need to explain why! Also avoid pre-wrapping presents in case you’re selected for a security check.
Finally nothing will dampen your Christmas spirit and give you the Christmas blues like an exorbitant medical expenses bill while you are on holiday. Accidents and mishaps do happen, so be a savvy traveler and ensure you’re covered by a decent travel insurance policy before leaving home.
Read also: Where Do You Shop for Christmas Gifts?