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 Manitoban 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. Don’t overshare – if you are locking up your house for the weekend or longer, don’t announce it on social media. Especially if your post has a geotagged photo or if you mention your address, you are practically inviting robbers to your house while you are away.
  2. Hold mail – if you plan on being 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). Mail that is piling up signals to passersby that nobody’s home. Having a friend to pick them up or putting them on hold will also protect your sensitive mail such as credit card notices or mailed checks.
  3. 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 that you will be engaging in. This means hats, helmets, knee pads, goggles, and other equipment that can effectively protect you from getting hurt. Make sure that your gear fits well and are safety certified.
  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 – before going on a road trip, make sure that your vehicle is road-ready especially if you plan on driving a long distance. There are many articles online that can guide you on how to perform anything from checking the windshield wipers to tire rotation. You can go to: 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. You can also read 10 easy steps to prepare for a road trip for more tips.
  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 and to bring maps or be equipped with GPS. Better yet, prior to your trip, consult someone who knows the way. Figure out the amount of time you will need to get to your destination, and take into account your stops. You should take time out to rest and eat, and take washroom breaks (this is a vacation after all!). If you are driving with kids, you may need more stops for diaper changes and any other contingencies. It will also be helpful to know if there are hotels, motels or inns along the way that you can take shelter in if you need more rest.
  3. Observe road safety – always observe traffic rules and buckle up! Before driving off, 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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