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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Safeguard Your Home During Summer Vacation

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


We're on the cusp of summer vacation. Do you want to let criminals know you're not home?

I've talked in the past about so many ways we let our guard down and make ourselves susceptible to criminals, especially in the summer. Fortunately, there are some basic precautions you can take to safeguard yourself.

Here's how to make sure your home stays safe when you're away on vacation

 

  • Do not post post updates on Facebook and Twitter while you're away. Only post pictures from your vacation when you're back at home. You don't want to alert "friends" who may be anything but that you're out of town. When I first had access to wifi on a plane, I made the mistake of Tweeting from the air. My executive producer Christa thankfully sent me an e-mail and told me to stop Tweeting!  

  • Get automatic timers. These will pop your lights on and off at the appropriate times of day, deterring criminals and saving electricity at the same time.

  • Suspend delivery of mail and newspapers. You can also either have a friend or relative collect your mail while you're away, or you can put in a temporary stop at your local post office.

  • Make sure the doors to your home and car are locked. People let their guard down in this respect too often in the summer. You don't want a crook to just help him or herself to your property.

  • Consider a taser. Some people have strong opinions either for or against having weapons like a gun at home. If a gun is a bridge too far for you, you might want to look at a taser. Just a thought.

 

Getting to your summer destination on the cheap

The way people get to their vacation destinations is evolving. More than any time in the last 45 years, people are choosing the bus. Maybe they're fed up with security at the airports, the cost of airfare, or the hassle of driving their own vehicle. I don't know.

What I do know is that there are a variety of cheap bus lines including MegaBus, Bolt Bus and Greyhound Express that offer travel between metro areas. Services like these were originally designed to attract the young and broke, but they're now branching out and crossing economic and age lines. Women traveling alone are a particularly booming client base for some of these players.

With any of these services, there are no scary bus terminals because they pick up and drop off in metro areas where people feel safe. These are not the dirty, unreliable kind of buses you might remember from being a kid; free wifi and luxury seats are among the amenities most of them offer.

And, boy, are they cheap! My associate producer Joel, his wife, and some friends recently took a trip from Atlanta to New Orleans. For a party of four travelers, they paid $46 roundtrip for everyone on MegaBus!

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