December safety advice

The December holiday season is primarily a festive one with many South African families choosing to go away on holiday trips locally or abroad. Summer holidays are synonymous with happy memorable experiences spent with loved ones, but in South Africa, it is also a time in which crime levels soar.

Best laid holiday plans should also factor in keeping both family and home secure and safe by practicing a few precautionary measures.

How to keep your home safe while you are away on holiday

Check your alarm system

Your home alarm system should be checked before you go on holiday to ensure that it is in good working order. December is normally a busy time for security companies, so factor this in when arranging your alarm system to be checked. Apart from the normal wear and tear, weather conditions frequent in the summer months such as severe lightning and thunderstorms can also cause damage to an alarm system so it is important that alarm systems are checked thoroughly for any signs of damage.

Put systems in place

An empty home is a tempting target for thieves. Minimize any tell-tale signs that you are away from home for a significant length of time. Arrange with a friend or neighbour to check on your property from time to time and collect your post. Newspaper and other subscriptions should be cancelled for the time you are away on holiday.

Protect yourself with travel insurance

The wide range of benefits of travel insurance from Travel Insurance Consultants (TIC) also extends to include Home Caretaker services cover which has a 24 hour call-out service for home emergencies (such as burglary, fire and storm damages).

Other simple tips for a safe December holiday:

• Leave emergency contact information with your security company.
• Don’t leave a message on your voicemail or answerphone that says you are away on holiday.
• Move expensive items like entertainment systems and jewellery out of plain sight and preferably locked away.
• Unplug all necessary appliances. Not only is this protection from damaging power surges, it is also an environment friendly practice.
• Secure sliding doors and windows properly by simply placing a cut-to-size length of wood in the track of your sliding doors. This prevents them from being accessible from the outside.
• Keep the grounds of your property free of any equipment such as ladders which can aid burglars in breaking into your home.

How holidaymakers can make the most of the end-of-year holiday season

Many holidaymakers take the opportunity of end-of-year holidays to indulge in all sorts of pleasures, and sometimes these excesses may not be good for your health. Maximum benefit from the holiday season can mostly be gained by being responsible, leaving you refreshed and rejuvenated to start the new year.

• If you will be on the road, to remember not to get behind the wheel if you have been drinking.
• Keep active. Exercise is a wonderful way to boosting happy feelings and reduces stress levels.
• Try to keep to a healthy balanced diet as much as possible.

By putting a few safety measures in place, the December holidays can provide a deep source of happy memories. Travel insurance is a great safety net and a top tip to a safe and enjoyable summer holiday.