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How to Travel Safely When Moving

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Many times we get so caught up in all the major details of our move, like transporting our belongings from point A to point B, we let other important details sit on the backburner. No matter how important your belongings are, your safety should always take precedence.

Read on for tips and advice on how to make your physical move as safe as possible for you and your family.

On the road

Unless you're moving across the globe, driving to your new destination is a popular choice. However, if you are moving long distance, there's no doubt that this drive could end up taking a few days or more. The longer you are on the road, the longer you expose yourself to potential safety mishaps. Below is a list of some dangers of road trip traveling, and how to avoid putting yourself in harms way:

  • Vehicle malfunction: Whether it's a blown tire, a cracked windshield, an old wiper blade or a faulty brake light - your safety can be compromised. It is imperative that you ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape before driving it long distance. Replace old tires and windshield wiper blades if necessary, top off all fluids, and make sure you have a spare tire (not just a doughnut)
  • Getting lost: It's a good idea to have a travel route planned prior your moving day, so you can familiarize yourself with the roads, and where you may be able to make pit stops and overnight stays. If you are a AAA member, this service can help you plan your travel and will include maps for your convenience. If you will be using an electronic GPS or smart phone app, make sure the maps are properly updated in case any roads have changed, or if there's construction on your route.
  • Rushing the trip: It's hard not to be anxious, but don't let that compromise your safety on the road. When you're tired, your reaction time is longer and you run the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. Statistics show that tired driving is just as dangerous, if not more so, than drunk driving. No one person should drive more than 500 miles per day when traveling. You should also make necessary stops for food, water, bathroom use and filling up your gas tank.

TIP: Some websites like AAA and AARP offer online safe driving courses. It may be beneficial to brush up on your rules-of-the-road knowledge before making the long trip. These courses cost a small fee, but many auto insurance companies will offer a discount on your yearly premium upon completion of the course.

In hotels

It's not uncommon to travel late into the night and end up at a hotel off of an interstate at 2 a.m., but just make sure you take the right steps to ensure your safety. You'll sleep better with peace of mind.

  • Research your hotel pit stops prior to traveling. If you know exactly how many miles you will be driving per day, you can have a good idea of hotels or other lodging offered in that particular area. You can then do some research on these facilities. Look at customer reviews of the hotel and price. If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. You may also want to research the surrounding area for crime rates, or maybe any breaking news on crime in the area.
  • Park your car close to your room. If you'll be staying in a motel, it will be easier to see your vehicle from the window of your room. In hotels, the set up is a little different. But you'll rest easier if you know your vehicle isn't parked on the other side of the building. Plus, if you end up needing something from your car, you can get to it quickly.
  • Take all important documents/possessions with you. If you're traveling with any personal records, tickets, identification, etc., or any valuables like jewelry or expensive electronics - take these in your room with you. Do not just leave them in your glove box. If a thief does break in, you will have a lot of trouble recovering these things, if you can recover them at all.
  • Lock your door. This is simple enough, but if you're in a state of delirium from what seems like endless hours behind the wheel, you may forget. If you have power locks, try not to use the remote, as its radio frequency can be picked using a code grabber - a device car burglars often use. Instead, lock the doors from the inside of vehicle. While burglars are constantly gaining new technology for breaking into vehicles, it is much harder to do so when the car is locked manually. Having an alarm system in your vehicle is also helpful.

If you're flying

There is always a certain amount of risk when flying, and you'll have to abide by many TSA regulations when it comes to luggage weight, prohibited items, acceptable forms of ID, what liquids you can carry on the plane, and more. Once you have boarded the plane, your safety is largely in the hands of the pilot and flight attendants, but there are still general precautions you can take from your departure airport, to touching down at your destination:

  • Never leave your bags alone. If you have to get up from the waiting area to use the bathroom or get something to eat, always take your luggage with you.
  • Keep your ID and boarding pass in a safe place. Although going through checkpoint can get a bit chaotic with rushing to remove belts, shoes, cell phones, etc., resist the urge to hurriedly stuff your boarding pass and license into your back pocket. While you're scrambling to tie your shoelaces, your documents could easily fall out, or even be stolen without you noticing.
  • Once you board the plane, adhere to all cabin rules. If the seatbelt sign is on, for example, stay seated - don't insist on running to the bathroom. These rules are in place to keep you, and the rest of the passengers, safe at all times.

If you're taking a train

Similar to plane travel, you will need to follow any rules and regulations regarding the amount of luggage and weight.

  • Don't leave your bags unattended.
  • Since train rides are much longer than traveling by air, it is likely you will be asleep for longer periods of time than you would on an airplane. When you are, be sure your carry-on luggage is close to you, and your important documents are in a safe place - away from a passerby's immediate reach.
  • Train rides also provide short breaks from time to time for passengers to leave the train. If you choose to leave, be sure to take all of your items with you if you're alone, and make sure you return to the train prior to your break's end - this will ensure the train does not leave without you!

Photo by: Stockimages (Freedigitalphotos.net)

Jenna Farmer  Posted by Jenna Farmer on October 7, 2013

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