Tag Archives: holiday

8 Helpful Holiday Hints for the Last-Minute Mayhem

Although not everyone is in it for religious reasons, 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas, and that means the countdown is on. To help you stay safe (if not necessarily sane) during the last few days before Christmas Day, we’ve pulled together a list of eight posts you’ll find useful—but might not be thinking about because baking and wrapping is top of mind! 

1. Prepping your vehicle for road trips
If holiday travel is on your agenda and you’re headed over the river and through the woods, make sure your vehicle is ready for the trip—especially if you might encounter winter weather. 

2. Protecting your packages
Porch pirates are real: 23 million Americans have packages stolen from their front porch each year. Definitely read this post if you’re getting packages delivered and you’re considering ways to keep them safe, because you’ll get tips for thwarting the porch pirates who’d like to make your packages into their booty. Or find out if you need a service like Amazon Key or if your home security system will protect your packages for you. 

3. Getting teens to town safely
If you have college students who are homebound for the holidays by car, go over the safety advice in this post to ensure safe travels. If they are traveling by plane or train, see this post for excellent advice to share with them. 

4. Making sure Fido will be fine
If you’re traveling and your pets will need looking after, follow the advice here on finding a good pet sitter and ways to prepare your pet and your pet sitter before you leave. Read more…

5. Decorating with a safety-first mindset
This post offers holiday safety tips to use throughout your home as you’re decorating! Also see tips for keeping your Christmas tree fresh and less fire-prone. 

6. Staying safe if you’re still doing your shopping
Many of us are still shopping up until the last minute! Read the tips in this post to make sure you’re safe, whether shopping online or in person. Although the advice is specific to Thanksgiving weekend, it applies to the whole holiday shopping season. 

7. Taking safety into account when buying toys
All toys are not created equal and some pose a bigger threat than others. Before you start your toy buying, review the safety tips in this post to ensure the toys you give will be both fun and safe. 

8. Giving home security as the gift that lasts all year
If you’re stumped for gift ideas, consider home security. This post explains why it’s an excellent gift the whole year long. Read more…

Despite the decline in the religious reasons for celebrating the holiday, Christmas is still a major event for most Americans, making it a busy time of year that can lead to mistakes and missteps. Review this list of posts for reminders, and stay safe this holiday season and into the new year! 

Have Yourself a Greener Little Christmas…with Gifts that Last

The environment is top of mind for many this holiday season, after a year of horrendous natural disasters. That might mean we’re a little greener in our Christmas preparations this year. And even if wildfires and hurricanes aren’t pushing us to be greener, the rising awareness of plastic waste should be. As we switch to re-usable grocery bags and restaurants stop offering straws, we are paying more attention to that waste. And now is the time to do it, because the amount of trash we throw away in the U.S. increases by an estimated 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

Yes, that makes the holiday season an excellent time to step back and figure out ways to make less waste of all kinds…starting with gifts. To help you get greener, we offer four ways to give gifts they’ll love—with less waste.

Give quality gifts
Choose a higher quality product if it will last longer, and most definitely avoid kitschy things that no one really wants anyway. (Hint: If it looks like it belongs a White Elephant party, it belongs at a White Elephant party.) Spend a little more and give a little less if you have to make up the difference in price. When you spend more for a higher quality product that lasts, you benefit in the long run by cutting down on waste.

Restrict your buying to local, independently owned shops
One way to cut back on waste is by driving less and spending more locally. It’s easy to go online and go on a splurge, buying things people might not need or want and generating lots of plastic shipping material that gets thrown away. Try shopping locally and you’ll make less waste while benefiting your local economy. (We are trying an experiment at our house this year: We are taking the money we saved for Christmas out of the bank as cash and only using that to do our Christmas shopping, forcing us to shop at brick-and-mortar stores and not online.)

Give gifts that keep on giving
It might not be glitzy but a gift like home security is a gift that keeps on giving without generating more waste. It’s something useful and much appreciated. It doesn’t take up any room or need storage, but it gives plenty of peace of mind. And it’s a gift that causes the recipient to think of you every time he or she uses it. Home security can be a priceless gift that keeps on giving. If not home security, maybe it’s a subscription to a publication, or a donation to a charity, or something else your loved one would appreciate.

Wrap naturally
Although we’ve been saving and re-using the same Christmas wrapping bows for years now (and admittedly, some are looking haggard and worn!), we are transitioning to all natural materials for gift wrapping. Check Pinterest for ideas, and you’ll see how gorgeous this kind of gift wrapping can be!

As our awareness of plastic waste increases, organizations and businesses are taking steps to decrease the amount of that waste. You can read updates on the fight against plastic waste at the National Geographic website. And you as an individual can take your own steps to reduce waste by going a little greener with gifts this season!

5 Christmas Tree Safety Tips–for Those of Us with Real Trees!

Lately the controversy has been heating up about which is the greener choice: a real Christmas tree or a fake one. If you really think about it, the real tree seems to be the greener choice, but surprisingly, over 80% of trees Americans will display in their homes this holiday season will be fake.

That still leaves about 20% of us committed to the real tree, and that means it’s worth reviewing Christmas tree safety tips. So our gift to you today: 5 Christmas tree safety tips.

1) Find a fresh tree—and keep it fresh
We live in an area surrounded by Christmas tree farms, and many trees are harvested well before Thanksgiving. Unless you’re cutting your tree yourself, check for freshness when you head out to find your perfect tree. Pull on the needles to make sure they aren’t falling off. Pick up the tree a few inches off the ground and drop it to see how many needles fall off. A few is okay. More than a few is not.

Buying your tree earlier in the season might help you to find a fresher one too. The longer the tree sits on the lot waiting to be sold, the more dried out it will get. We don’t put our tree up until right before Christmas but we buy it early, cut off the bottom 2 inches of the trunk, and keep it outside in a bucket of water until we are ready to put it up. We heat our house with a woodstove (because it was built in 1890 before central heating), and that can quickly dry out a tree, we learned the hard way. Keeping the tree in a bucket of water like just described has made a big difference in keeping the tree fresh.

2) Display your tree in a safe place
As I said, we heat our house with a woodstove, so our tree has to go in another room. All Christmas trees should be displayed far from woodstoves and fireplaces, as well as out of traffic areas where they might get bumped into by a toddler running through the house or a rambunctious big dog jumping about because he’s excited about a new toy. (I’m not going to say I’m speaking from experience here, but….)

3) Get the right size tree
As much as you might want something grandiose for displaying in your home, you don’t want your tree to be a hazard! So give your space serious consideration before you head to the tree lot. Our living room has ceilings that are 9-feet high, but our living room is small so the tree has to be skinny. It takes us a while to find a tall but very skinny tree! Even then, we end up trimming branches before we decorate, to make sure the tree is not sticking out and in the way at all.

4) Keep your Christmas tree watered—and watered, and watered
Once your tree is in the house, you’ll put water in the tree stand, of course, but you have to keep up with it. Your house is warm and that will dry out the tree quickly. Keeping the stand filled with water will help to slow down that process. And don’t let the tree stand go dry. If the bottom of your tree gets a chance to harden up again, you’ll have a hard time getting it to soak up any water. I make watering the tree part of my nightly routine, even when it’s soaking up less water after a few days.

5) Turn off the lights–safely
I don’t like turning off the lights on our Christmas tree. We only have it up for 3 weeks each year, so I want it lit up 24 hours a day during that time. That’s not safe, however. It’s not safe to have to climb under or around the tree to unplug the lights before bed either (something we are guilty of), so consider using a timer for your tree lights, or a surge protector with a switch, or something else that ensures you’ll turn the lights off when gone or in bed—without jeopardizing the tree.

I have to admit I was saddened by reading that only 20% of us are using real Christmas trees. There’s just something about the search for the right tree, the smell of the tree, the uniqueness of each tree every year…it would be hard to give that up. So for now, I count myself proudly among that 20%, using a real tree and following the tips above to keep it safe!

Review These Shopping Safety Tips Before You Whip Out Your Wallet This Weekend…

Thanksgiving is early this year. No, it really is. It falls on November 22nd, which is the earliest date it can fall on. So, it’s not your imagination. Thanksgiving did sneak up on you! And on us too, we admit, and because of that, we are all of a sudden realizing it’s time to talk about safe holiday shopping before the buying frenzy begins.

It’s going to be a big year for holiday shopping
And a frenzy it will be! Last year 174 million Americans parted with their money during the Thanksgiving weekend shopping, which includes Thanksgiving Day, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You can expect that number to be higher this year because the economy is booming and consumer confidence is high. As a result, eMarketer predicts 2018 holiday season will bring strong retail sales: offline sales are expected to increase 4.1%, while online spending will increase 16.2% to $123.39 billion.

Will you be one of the confident consumers coughing up cash this weekend? Before you whip out your wallet this Thursday, Friday or Monday, review these safety tips first, so your holiday won’t be more expensive than you’d planned.

While shopping online
More money will be spent online than in person this Thanksgiving weekend, so be ready to be safe for any shopping that involves your laptop or mobile phone:

  • When at a website, check the URL and look for https:// rather than just http://. You can also look for a lock or similar symbol, showing that the site is confirmed secure.
  • Change up your passwords on a regular basis.
  • Pay with a credit cardinstead of a debit card.
  • Have a plan for any packages that will get delivered to your house, so they’re not sitting on your front porch and easily stolen.

While shopping in person
Despite the allure of online shopping, many of us still like to go spend our money in person. If you’re going to be hitting the Black Friday sales, pay attention to these safety tips:

  • Don’t flash any cash and only pull out your wallet when you’re ready to pay.
  • Keep your purse close to your body or carry your wallet in a front pocket.
  • Only purchase what you can carry at one time.
  • Keep your phone charged.
  • Set up meeting times and places if you’re shopping with others.
  • Park under a light if you’ll be shopping until after dark.
  • If you put packages in your car and do more shopping, keep those packages out of sight by hiding them in the trunk.
  • Once you’re back home, don’t advertise expensive purchases. Don’t leave boxes on the front porch and break down large boxes as soon as possible to keep your buys to yourself.

Don’t spend what you don’t have
Although the buying and giving is fun, and these tips should help keep you and your property safer, we offer one caveat to all this: Avoid the debt. Consumer debt is set to reach $4 trillion by the end of 2018. You might think that’s unrelated to home security and safety, but when debt affects our physical health, marriages, and financial futures, it’s totally related. No matter how good the Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal might be, if you have to borrow to buy it, you’re going to end up paying more for it anyway.

And on that note, have fun, buy smart, and stay safe this Thanksgiving weekend!

Protect Your Passport! 6 Passport Safety Tips

Do you have a passport? Having one is a good idea for U.S. citizens. It’s identification, it’s proof of citizenship, and it’s necessary for traveling outside of the U.S. In some cases, however, it’s not just necessary for international travel any longer. In nine states, a passport is now required to fly domestically, because the driver’s licenses issued by those states are not compliant with TSA standards. And because the wait for a passport can be several weeks, it’s probably a good idea to get one even if you’re not planning on travelling abroad or you don’t live in one of those nine states targeted by TSA.

Regardless of the reason for needing a passport, you need to keep it safe once you have it. Passports can be lost and they can be stolen to be sold on the black market. And if you’re without a passport in a foreign country, you could be in a very bad way.

To practice passport safety, follow these six tips:

  1. Photocopy your passport and keep the copy separate. That way if your passport is lost or stolen, you have the duplicate for proof of your identity and to speed up replacement. Better yet, make two copies. Keep one with your luggage and one with you—but separate from the original, as in keep it in a different bag or pouch. And to be extra careful, make a third copy to leave with someone back home.
  2. Scan it as well for a digital version. This you can keep on your smart phone.
  3. Keep your passport with you when traveling—and we mean close with you. Don’t tuck it into a backpack or purse that’s easily stolen, but carry it where a pickpocket can’t get it, like in a money belt or a neck wallet that you wear under your shirt.
  4. Regularly make sure you have it with you when traveling, but not in an obvious way. If you do lose it or it gets stolen, you want to know right away.
  5. Don’t hand it over to anyone else, not the hotel staff or tour guide. Keep it with you.
  6. If you’re going somewhere or doing something that makes hanging on to your passport impractical (like bungee jumping or scuba diving), lock it up in your absence.

Are you heading somewhere that requires a passport this summer? I am! And I am looking forward to the getaway! I have my passport and my neck wallet, but I will also be following my own advice and making copies both paper and digital, plus practicing diligence while out of the country. We will have some of our adult children traveling with us too for the first time internationally, and everyone will be getting these safety tips above as we practice what we preach. I hope you will as well, for passport peace of mind!

12 Days of Safe Holiday Decorating: How to Avoid Decor Disasters This Season

Would any holiday comedy be complete without at least one decorating mishap? Whether it’s a scene showing Dad falling off the roof while hanging lights or Mom plugging too many lights into one electrical socket causing sparks to fly, safety isn’t exactly a staple in these films.

Accidents might be funny on-screen, but the last thing you need to add to your holiday to-do list is a trip to the emergency room or a call to the fire department. In order to survive this holiday season without any scrapes or bruises on you or your home, follow these 12 tips to get into the holiday spirit, safely.

  1. A partridge in a well-watered tree: If you love the smell of a live tree in your home, keeping your tree watered is a must. A healthy, hydrated tree will be less flammable in the case of a string light breaking. Also be sure to keep any greenery away from heat sources, such as fireplaces or radiators.
  2. Fake it ‘til you make it: Maybe a live tree isn’t the best option for you, and you prefer to buy artificial. Although you won’t have to worry about keeping it hydrated, do be sure that it’s labeled “fire resistant,” just to be safe.
  3. Three is not a crowd: Your decorating team should include you, your ladder and someone securing the ladder for you. When you’re hanging decor out of reach, make sure the ladder is sturdily grounded and your partner has a good grip.
  4. Check your cords: Not your caroling chords, but your extension cords. Use heavy-duty extension cords, and only use outdoor-use cords outside the home. When setting up your lights, don’t plug in more than three sets of standard cords to one extension to avoid overloading.
  5. Not just the stockings should be hung with care: Prevent electrical damage by avoiding nails or tacks when hanging lights. Instead, opt for hooks or insulated staples indoors, and clips to safely attach lights to the house outdoors.
  6. Rearrange those lights: Indoor lights should be kept away from curtains, furniture and carpeting.
  7. Turn it off before you turn in: Power down any lights indoors before you go to bed or leave your home, and use a timer for outdoor lights.
  8. Careful with those candles: Provide candles with a sturdy base to prevent tipping, and never leave a lit candle unattended.
  9. Reduce, reuse and recycle that paper: Instead of burning wrapping paper in the fireplace, which can cause a chimney fire or give off toxic fumes, either recycle or reuse it. Of course, if you do choose to reuse it, that means no ripping that paper to shreds come present-opening time!
  10. Arrange ornaments the smart way: Place fragile ornaments higher up and unbreakable ornaments closer to the ground. For any ornaments that plug into a bulb to light up or spin, use no more than two per strand, or check the manufacturer’s directions.
  11. Purge poisonous plants: Although poinsettias are beautiful and festive, they are also toxic when consumed, so keep them out of reach of pets and children. Another option is to go artificial and skip the real ones altogether.
  12. Speaking of kids and pets: Try to avoid any decorations that look like candy or food, since these can be easily mistaken for the real thing. You don’t want to end up with a glass ornament in a little one’s mouth because it looked like a tasty snack. (We are speaking from experience here.)

You’ll find more holiday safety tips at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Whether this season fills you with holiday cheer or holiday fear, at least home safety will be something you can check off your list. Maybe check it twice, just in case though.

The Least Relaxing Weekend of the Year Is Here: Here’s How to Stay Safe While Shopping

With Turkey Day over, many of us would like to fall into a food coma while someone else finishes the dishes in the kitchen. Some of us want to watch football with our family. Others, however, start gearing up for the next few days of shopping: Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

Since 30 percent of all retail sales happen between Black Friday and Christmas, it’s no surprise that millions of Americans will be retiring to bed early on Thanksgiving so they can get going first thing the next morning.

But all that shopping comes with some risk, and you know we are all about mitigating risk! So here’s your guide to staying safe every day of this holiday shopping weekend…

Black Friday

  • Do your research. If you check out the layout of the store beforehand, it’ll be easier to head straight for the deals you want and avoid the wandering crowds.
  • Don’t get up too early, since 8:00 a.m. may be the perfect time for your Black Friday shopping. All of the super early risers will have left already, and those wanting to sleep in will still be in bed. As long as you aren’t looking for a specific big-ticket item, arriving at a reasonable hour may benefit you by keeping you out of the chaos.
  • Check the web. Sure, you can wait until Monday (we’ll get to that later), but some stores have their Black Friday deals online too, meaning you don’t have to go to the brick-and-mortar location.
  • See other Black Friday safety tips here.

Small Business Saturday

  • Do make sure that all doors and windows are locked before leaving home (or check remotely from your phone once you’re out and about). On a more relaxed day like this Saturday, you may be out even longer than usual strolling around town. Making sure to secure everything can help with your peace of mind.
  • Don’t leave packages outside after you return home, and don’t advertise expensive purchases. Break down large boxes as soon as possible to keep recent pricey purchases like televisions or appliances a secret from curious eyes…and we don’t mean just those of your family, but the curious eyes of anyone else.
  • Check your car. Lock all doors and roll up all windows in the parking lot, even if you only leave for a bit. Make sure to double-check they’re locked, just in case a sale notification pops up on your phone and distracts you.

Cyber Monday

  • Do use a credit card. By using a credit card as opposed to a debit card or a third-party payment service, you release less information about yourself. The less information you give out online, the better. Credit cards are also easier to deal with if fraud happens, and may even provide a “zero liability” policy in case you are the victim of fraudulent charges.
  • Don’t reuse your passwords. If someone gets hold of your password to one site, make sure they aren’t able to use it on every other site as well by changing up your passwords. This includes using different passwords for sites such as your bank or email than you would for shopping sites.
  • Check for an “s.” To be sure that the site that you’re shopping on is secure, check for https:// rather than just http://. A lock or a similar symbol may also appear to confirm the security of the site.

If you happen to be one of the 100 million people scouring for deals before dawn, you could probably use a helping hand. While this post can’t help you carry all your bags to your car, it can give you some new tips to help keep you and your belongings safe this crazy weekend.

Traveling for the Holidays? Be Prepared to Pinpoint Your Perfect Pet Provider

Halloween is over and while some may already be looking forward to tree-shaped cookies and the smell of gingerbread, the rest of us are thinking of turkey and cranberry sauce. Our winter holidays are a time of eating good food, seeing family and most of all…traveling.

Since 68% of U.S. households own a pet, chances are you may be leaving a critter back home this season when you travel. Before you run knocking on all your neighbors’ doors asking for their help looking after your favorite fur ball, check out these tips for finding the right pet sitter for you.

Before You Choose That Pet Sitter…

  • Start looking early. Finding a pet sitter is not a task you want to rush. This is someone who will be entering your home, caring for a furry member of your household, and taking on a lot of responsibility. Starting your search sooner rather than later can guarantee finding reliable care for Fluffy and Fido.
  • Check their services. See what the different options of sitters have to offer. Some pet care can include multiple visits during the day to feed, walk or play with your pet, while others can stay in your home so your pet isn’t alone. Many even offer to bring in your mail or water your plants while you’re away.
  • Ask around for referrals. Your perfect pet sitter may be just a question away. Friends, neighbors or even your veterinarian may know of some great pet services they’ve used in the past and can tell you about the not-so-great ones to avoid as well. If your pet has special dietary or behavioral needs, your vet may be the best resource for finding a pet sitter who will work for you.
  • Have a list of prepared questions. While searching, know which questions you’re going to ask potential sitters. These questions can be as simple as their hourly rate or how many visits they can do each day, but they can also be specifically tailored to you and your pet’s needs. The Humane Society has a helpful list of potential questions you can use if you’re not sure what to ask.


Preparing Your Pet Sitter…and Your Pet

  • Schedule a meet and greet. Before you leave your pet alone with your chosen sitter, introduce your furry friend to their caretaker while you’re still home. This can provide a more comfortable transition for your pet, as well as allow you to explain any special requests to the sitter while you’re face-to-face.
  • Reserve for the holidays ASAP. Many pet sitter businesses offer their services on holidays, but those days can fill up fast. Be sure to plan with your sitter well in advance if you need someone watching your pet while you’re away this holiday season.
  • Leave more than one key. Have two spare keys, one for the sitter and one for a trustworthy neighbor. If the sitter gets locked out, they have a backup, and if something happens and they can’t stop by your home, it enables your neighbor to step in and help. Also have your pet sitter and your neighbor exchange phone numbers so they both know whom to contact.
  • Show them around. Make sure to show your pet sitter your home’s safety features such as the circuit breaker or security system, in case of an emergency or just accidentally setting off the alarm.
  • Buy extra supplies. You never know what might happen while you’re traveling, especially around the winter holidays, so stock some extras that your pet may need in case you’re gone longer than expected. This could be food, medication, doggy bags, kitty litter, or even some water jugs in case of an emergency.

Wherever your travels take you this holiday season, rest assured that your furry family is safe and sound back home with a pet sitter you trust–especially if the rest of your family can’t be trusted to keep their fingers off the turkey.

Going on Vacation? 5 Ways to Make Your Empty Home Look Anything But

You’ve earned your vacation and you’re looking forward to it! But don’t get so caught up in your plans for getting away that you forget to secure your home before you go. And part of securing your home is to make it appear that you’re still there. Since installing cardboard cutouts or mannequins as silhouettes against windows is only a short-term solution—until the burglars figure out that those “people” never move—here are five other ways to make it look like you’re occupying your vacant home while you vacate your way to some rest and relaxation.

Tip 1: Get a house sitter
The absolute best way to make it look like someone is in your house is to have someone in your house. This works even better if you have a dog that would otherwise go to the kennel while you’re gone. With the house sitter occupying the house and the dog barking alarms, you now have two deterrents to burglary.

Tip 2: Leave a car in the driveway
A car in the driveway definitely gives the impression that someone is in the house. If you have an extra car that you normally park on the road or in the garage, park it in the driveway so it’s easily seen. If you only have one car, consider getting a ride to and from the airport so you can leave your car conspicuously in the driveway.

Tip 3: Hire someone to take care of your lawn and yard
This tip is a little trickier because it would be better if you hired someone well before you left, not just for the week or two that you’re gone, for two reasons. One, if someone is watching your house, they’ll know there has been a change in the routine. Two, you want to make sure this person or company is reliable before leaving your yard in their care. Now, if you can follow tip one and find a house sitter and this house sitter will keep up with the yard maintenance, you’re twice blessed!

Tip 4: Keep the electronics going
If you don’t have a house sitter, or even if you do but they are gone for work, use timers and/or your home automation system to keep lights and electronics like radios and TVs turning on and off.

Tip 5: Keep your vacation to yourself…
…at least until after you get home. As we’ve said before, broadcasting your vacation via social media is the same as telling the world your house is sitting empty. So don’t. Save your vacation pictures until you get home and then share them. That way you can make sure you’re only sharing the best of the best, besides, rather than inundating friends and family with far too many photos.

It only takes a little effort to provide a lot of protection, so put in that effort now and enjoy more peace of mind while you’re away.

Money Matters for Those Planning to Travel (Safely) in Europe

At our house, we are preparing for a long-awaited trip to Europe and what’s top of mind for me? No, not finding someone to take care of all our animals while we’re gone. Nope, not the clothing I want to pack. And not even anxiety about the air travel.

Money matters are top of mind for me.

I haven’t been to Europe in decades. The last time I went, we didn’t have debit cards and ATMs. We didn’t even have an EU and the euro! I went with travelers’ checks and I cashed them at banks in the various cities as I needed currency for whichever country I was in.

Now that our lives are so different, with plastic and cash machines, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around how to do it in the digital age without putting our money at risk—or ending up without enough. I’ve learned a lot, but here are the three biggest lessons I’ve learned prior to our trip…

Tip 1: You still need a money belt
You might think it’s cliché, but in Europe, tourists are still vulnerable to thieves, pickpockets and scam artists. According to the Rick Steves’ Europe website, that means a good old-fashioned money belt is still required. It’s also the best place to keep your passport or other identification.

Tip 2: Choose cash over a debit or credit card
Also according to Rick Steves, who is undeniably a guru if not the guru on European travel, you should plan on spending cash as much as possible. Carry a credit or debit card with you (in your money belt), but save that for big purchases like airfare. Steves says he gets cash at the ATM when he lands at the airport, rather than carry dollars and exchange those for local currency.

Europe is more cash-based than the U.S., so many times cash will be required. In addition to that benefit, using a debit or credit card puts you at risk in a way that cash can’t.

As far as using the ATMs in Europe, the ATM scams there are the same as what you’d run into in the U.S., so you should already be familiar with the risks. The key here is to only use ATMs at banks, as well as follow the same safety precautions you would at home.

Tip 3: Don’t make yourself a target
Sure you love your bling necklace or big fancy purse, but you know what you’re saying to thieves when you flaunt that stuff in a European city full of tourists? You’re essentially saying, “Pick me! Pick me!” The same goes for flashing any expensive equipment like a camera or a wad of cash. Choose to blend in and be subtle. (Besides, the rude American is more of a reality than a cliché. Don’t be that guy.)

This is just a summary of some of what I’ve learned—and all of it from the Rick Steves’ Europe website. There you can learn about more than money matters, like how to protect all of your belongings from theft while traveling. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, definitely spend a little time at that site getting familiar with the safety precautions you’ll need to take before taking off.

View all of our security plans and features!

Customer Reviews

I feel so much better knowing my family is protected! I spoke with SafeStreets USA in the evening and a technician was able to come install the system for me then for my parents first thing the next morning. Very impressed with his knowledge and care!


We had our ADT system installed by SafeStreets USA and were really impressed with the service we received from our technician. He was very friendly and answered all of our questions on the system and how it worked. He set everything up in a couple of hours and was a real pleasure to talk with []

Read more reviews