Contact Kim: Traveling with confidence

Plan ahead of time to make sure there's smooth sailing during your vacation. (Source: MGN Online)
Plan ahead of time to make sure there's smooth sailing during your vacation. (Source: MGN Online)

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Spring Break is the unofficial start of the vacation season. Before you know it, summer will be here and you and your family will be taking off for exciting vacation destinations.

But before you go, there are some things you need to do in advance to make sure you get to your final destination.

If you booked your vacation through a third party, be sure to verify the arrangements. "Right now is a great time for you to go ahead and verify your accommodations," said Michele Mason with the Better Business Bureau. "Make sure there really is a hotel room waiting for you and that your flight is all set up and that there's a car available for you."

Make sure you have confirmation numbers for everything at every stage of your trip. If you rented a vehicle, make sure you know what fees you are paying.

"Before you leave, do your homework with your insurance company – make sure you have coverage should you have accidents or things of that nature. Don't pay extra fees to those agencies. Also, check your insurance to make sure of what other coverage you have so you don't have to purchase other policies for accommodations," said Mason.

Be careful about sharing your vacation plans on social media. Steer clear of talking about your vacation plans ahead of time, and wait until you return to post all those great vacation photos.

"Some folks will count down to their vacation and let people know in advance. 'I am about to be out of town for several days,'" explained Mason. "You really shouldn't do that on social media, especially Facebook. If friends of friends see that, then you are letting someone know you will be gone and they could rob your house. They will have a huge window of time to be able to get in, get out, and probably go unnoticed."

Here is a checklist of things you should (and should not) do before you head out by land, sea or air for vacation:

  • Call and confirm your arrangements.
  • Get everything in writing. Write down or save all confirmation numbers.
  • Pay for everything with a credit card, in case you have to dispute charges later. Remember that wire-service funds should be avoided as means of payment because they cannot be tracked.
  • Notify your financial institutions of your travel plans, especially if you travel out of the country. This will prevent your bank from freezing your accounts due to suspicious activity.
  • Check your homeowner/auto/medical insurance policies – know what is covered and what is not. You may have to purchase travel insurance if there is doubt about your coverage.
  • Let someone within your family or trusted friends know the details of your travel, including dates, times and methods of travel.
  • Don't post pictures of your vacation on social media while you are still away. This can make you an easy target for burglary if the wrong people see that your house is unattended.

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