The 1989 cult classic “Weekend at Bernie’s” is the perfect example of what you shouldn’t do on a vacation. While most of us will never be in a situation as ridiculous as pretending our deceased boss is actually alive, there are still some precautions all of us can take to protect ourselves and our families when we travel away from home.

When you and your family are at home, it is relatively easy to keep everyone safe. Between a Mijac Alarm system, locks on your doors, and knowledge about what parts of town are safe or unsafe, most of us rightly feel secure in our own neighborhoods. All of this changes, however, when traveling for a vacation. Spending time away from home can be fun and exciting, but it also poses security challenges, particularly for those of us who have children, and especially when visiting a foreign country.

At Mijac Alarm, we are committed to your safety wherever you happen to be. Although our monitoring station can’t protect you when you are out of California, we can still provide you with some tried-and-true safety tips for you and your family to follow.

Give everyone in your family a mobile phone while traveling

If your kids are old enough to be on their own at any point during the vacation, they should have their own mobile phone. If your kids get lost or into any sort of danger, it is imperative that they have a way to reach you, the hotel, or law enforcement. If you aren’t ready to give your kids their own phone for everyday use, prepaid phones are available at most big box and convenience stores.

Check in with the Embassy or Consulate when traveling outside the United StatesState department

The unfortunate reality is that there are many people in the world that do not like Americans. One way that you can protect you and your family is to check in with the embassy or consulate upon your arrival. You can let them know where you plan to be, the hotel you are staying at, a contact number, and an emergency contact in the United States. If you’d like, you can leave photocopies of your passport with them so they can put a face to a name if necessary.

By the same token, be sure to check with the State Department before leaving so you can be apprised of any travel advisories or warnings that may be in effect.

Rent a portable GPS system when you are in an unfamiliar country

If you plan on driving at any point during your vacation, renting a portable GPS system can be one of the best investments you can make. Since smartphone data plans are typically prohibitively expensive when used internationally, a portable GPS allows you to easily find your destinations without wasting time and without putting you in dangerous neighborhoods. Make sure to bookmark your hotel and other essential locations (such as the embassy, airport, etc.) so you can quickly and easily find them when you need to.

Blend in as much as possible

When travelling outside the United States, it is usually a good idea to blend in as much as possible, at least in urban settings. While it is perfectly fine to wear a Hawaiian shirt while sunbathing at a resort, looking like an obvious tourist is a good way to get targeted by a pickpocket in a foreign city. This also means you should have at least some local currency, even if the country you are in accepts United States dollars.

Bring a basic first-aid kit with youFirst Aid Kit

While it is usually possible to buy first-aid basics (such as antibiotics, aspirin, bandages) at your destination, it may be difficult to find especially with language barriers, money exchange and of course availability when you need it most. A simple band aid for the heel of your hiking shoes can save you from a big infection down the line on that once in a lifetime trek across the Himalayas.

Use Uber (if possible) instead of traditional taxis

Uber is an amazing new company that offers far better taxi service than traditional taxi companies. Uber allows you to hail a cab using only your smartphone, and allows you to choose the type of driver (professional or part-time), and the type of vehicle (SUV, towncar, compact sedan, etc.). Best of all, Uber conducts background checks on each of their drivers, and provides you with a picture of the driver along with the

Taxi

If you follow the steps described above, and can steer clear of Bernie, you are sure to have a fantastic vacation! make, model, and license plate number of the driver’s vehicle before they arrive. Uber is now available in several US cities, and in 42 countries around the world.

For more travel security tips, or for general home or office security questions, please visit the main Mijac Alarm website by clicking here, or call us during normal business hour at (909)982-7612.

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