Preparing for a summer vacation: safety and security tips

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Summer is the season for vacations and picnics. From around May to August, Manitoba has the perfect weather for staying outdoors, enjoying nature and having fun. Many families go on road trips, camp out under the stars or rent a cottage near a lake.

If you are planning on going away for the weekend or longer, here are a few tips and reminders to help you plan for an enjoyable and stress-free summer outing:

Before you leave

  1. Check travel advisories – In view of the pandemic, some regions and local communities within and outside Manitoba may still have restrictions in place. Check specific health or travel guidelines and read Restoring Safe Services before you leave.
  2. Don’t overshare – Don’t announce that you’re going away for the weekend or longer on social media. If your post has a geotagged photo or if you mention your address, you’re practically inviting robbers to your house while you’re away.
  3. Hold mail – Mail that is piling up is a sign that nobody’s home. If you’ll be away for longer than a week, ask a neighbor or a friend to collect your mail. You can also avail of Canada Post’s Hold Mail service (avail of this three days before the start of the service). In this way, you also protect your sensitive mail such as credit card notices or mailed checks.
  4. Have a friend check – Ask a trusted friend or neighbour to check on your home every now and then. Make sure they know your home alarm code so they don’t set it off accidentally.
  5. Don’t forget to lock up your house before you leave!

Packing

  1. Pack light – Bring only what is necessary. A lighter vehicle means more savings in terms of gas mileage.
  2. Bring proper gear – Bring proper protective gear depending on the activities you have planned. This means hats, helmets, knee pads, goggles, and other equipment that protect you from getting hurt. This should also include sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, hand soap as well as face masks for your protection. Make sure to bring enough for the entire trip. These items are in demand and you may not be able to find them in stores along the road.
  3. Keep an emergency kit handy – Pack a flashlight, first-aid kit, cash, and extra batteries in a bag and put it somewhere easily accessible. If you want to know what items to have in a complete emergency kit, go to Get Prepared .gc.ca: Basic Emergency Kit.

Drive safe!

  1. Check your vehicle – Make sure that your vehicle is road-ready especially if you plan on driving a long distance. There are many online guides that can help you with this such as Road trip prep: 10 things to check before you hit the road or 14 ways to get your car ready for a road trip from Canadian Living. Read 10 easy steps to prepare for a road trip for more tips. The most important thing to remember is to do this weeks before your trip. In case you discover that intensive repair is needed, you’ll have time to do it (or have it done).
  2. Plan your route and stops – Getting lost in the prairies may not be the ideal summer memory for your family. As you are not familiar yet with the Manitoban landscape, it will be wise to plan your route, bring maps and have GPS. Better yet, prior to your trip, consult someone who knows the way. Estimate the amount of time you will need to get to your destination and take into account your stops. Know if there are hotels, motels or inns along the way that you can go to if you need more rest.
  3. Observe road safety – Always observe traffic rules and buckle up! Get the latest information on road conditions on Manitoba highways (call 511 toll-free, visit Manitoba 511 or follow @MBGovRoads on Twitter). Never drive after drinking at a picnic or barbecue.

Have fun and have a great summer!

Sources: The Government of Canada – Get Prepared.gc.ca, The Government of Manitoba Spring and Summer Safety.

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