Holiday Travel Safety Tips

Local 2 / Fox 24 - It’s the most wonderful time of the year! With Christmas just a few weeks away, many people are finalizing their holiday travel plans. Whether you are flying or gearing up for a road trip to visit relatives, Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas advises holiday travelers to prepare for safe travels.

 

How many people are expected to travel this year?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is among the busiest long-distance travel period of the year. According to AAA, upwards of 50.9 million people will journey 50 miles or more just for the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

If you plan on driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends getting your car serviced before you hit the road, especially if you anticipate traveling in inclement weather, like snow and ice. Visit your mechanic for a tune-up and have your entire vehicle thoroughly checked.

 

 

What advice do you have for travelers?

· Check out the business first. Whether you’re looking for a trustworthy travel agency, hotel, resort or auto mechanic, check out a company’s BBB Business Profile at bbb.org.

· Research last-minute travel deals. Bargains on airfare or a hotel may be tempting, but be cautious when booking on an unknown travel website or through an online advertisement. Common travel-related complaints to BBB reported trouble with reservations, online advertisements and incorrect charges. Be sure you understand all anticipated charges to help you compare prices with confidence.

· Watch for hotel check-in tricks. It’s common for hotels to call and check in with guests shortly after they arrive, but be on guard if the caller asks for personal information, such as credit card information, to finalize check-in. Never give out financial information over the phone. Instead, visit hotel management in person.

· Watch for wi-fi scams. Avoid using public Wi-Fi, including hotel internet access, for online banking or other financial account management. Fraudsters can create fake Wi-Fi hubs and can easily gain access to personal information and passwords. If you do any holiday shopping while away from home, look for the lock symbol in the web address to indicate a secure purchasing system. The URL should also start with https (the extra “s” is for secure). Always pay with a credit card, which offers more protection than debit cards, wire transfers, cash, or other payment methods.

 

What about advice to protect your home when you’re away?

· Wait to post on social media. We all like to share our vacation adventures with friends and family, but wait until you get back from your trip. Giving too much detail about when you will be away, and when your home will be empty, could attract thieves.

· Check your home insurance. If your home will be unattended while you are away, make sure you know your responsibilities under your home insurance policy. Some policies do not cover damage if nobody checks on you for a certain amount of time.

· Enlist help. Ask friends or neighbors to watch over your home. Give them your contact information and other pertinent numbers including your insurance company, your electrician and your plumber. If you leave pets at a friend’s house or a kennel, add the name of your vet and a permission-to-treat letter.


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