Thursday, April 6, 2017

One final item on your spring travel checklist...

Thank goodness insurance is there to help with some of life's "unforeseeables," but wouldn't life just be simpler if we could foresee everything and therefore avoid the unpleasant stuff?  We like to plan for safety where we can, and the spring travel season brings a lot of extra subject matter to mind. You leave your home behind when you go on vacation, which has implications for your home, your stuff, and YOU...

First, your HOME:      
Most of us make a point of doing a thorough check before we leave to make sure everything that should be turned off, unplugged, or put away before we leave is, but how about making sure your home itself is in good shape for your trip?  Are the roof sound, the gutters clear, and the earth graded such that water flows away from the home? Are trees and bushes trimmed back so branches  are not likely to touch or fall on your home and would-be burglars don't find opportunities to hide? Are your heating/cooling systems on conservative settings so they don't have to work too hard while you're away, and have they been checked recently to make sure they are functioning properly with no shorts or worn parts?  Are the mail and paper stopped so as not to tip anyone off to your absence? How about some of those nifty light timers (UL-approved ones, of course!)? And, finally, have you designated a trusted neighbor, friend, or family member to look in on things while you're away?

Next, that leave YOU and your STUFF, out in the world, taking a departure from the familiar:  
Make sure essential phone numbers are in your phone in case something comes up - your family doctor, credit card companies in case cards are stolen, perhaps the number for your insurer(!)...  
If travelling by car, don't forget to have an emergency kit along, just in case.   Also, you'll probably have more stuff in the vehicle than usual.  Do it the right way. Keep any valuables well-secured and out of sight (includes stashing any appealing tech-toys passengers may be using en route when you hit the gas station or rest area),  and don't load the passenger area with anything that might shift, lurch, or move abruptly out of position and injure a passenger in the event of a sudden stop.  If travelling with pets, keep their safety in mind, too, making sure they are secure in sturdy, approved, well-ventilated travel carriers. It may be tempting to let them roam freely so you can enjoy their company over the miles, but that could be a distraction for you and likely not in their best interest in the event of a sudden stop, etc.  (Here's an ASPCA link we linked with some more good thoughts for travel with pets - )
...and (do we have to say it?) LOCK THE CAR.  Even if you're only stepping out for a few moments at a friendly-looking fruit and vegetable stand in the middle of nowhere.   You just don't know.   Hey, surely you've got the 4 extra seconds it takes to lock/unlock the're on vacation, for goodness' sake!
As you draw near you destination, in addition to watching for favorite restaurants and attractions, keep an eye out for essentials in the area - drugstores, hospitals, and such.
So...out of the car, into the hotel room at last. Make sure to take a good look at that map inside the door so you'll know your escape route, if needed, and confirm any unexpected arrivals at your hotel room door with the front desk.  
Virtually infinite opportunities for relaxation and adventure await . Enjoy, but keep in mind you are outside of familiar territory.   Be extra watchful for other possible hazards while you're taking in the scenery, or looking for that street you want, and expect other drivers and pedestrians may be distracted.  Depending upon how different your getaway environment is from home,  there may even be cultural differences to consider. You may stand out as a non-local. There are opportunists out there, so beware. Many are the tales of tourists being "swarmed" by seemingly well-intentioned locals, then finding their belongings missing.  Keep your kids close and your essentials well secured - inside pockets and inner layers of clothing are great, and, where possible, toward the front of your body, the area of which most of us are most aware.
Make sure key friends and family members have at least a general itinerary, know where you'll be and how to get in touch with you, if needed.   As for the rest of us back here in Franklin TN and Middle Tennessee, we'll look forward to hearing about your vacation and seeing those photos  after you get back - no sense broadcasting that you'll be away in advance!
Hope you have a chance to get away for a bit of fun soon to make some great memories - safely!
David Yates Insurance Agency
1881 General George Patton Dr., Suite 103
Franklin, TN 37067
Phone 615-778-1816  Fax 615-778-1817

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