Plan to travel this summer? Here are some pre-trip security precautions

Did you ever set out for you summer vacation only to return home a few minutes later to double check that you’d secured the garage door or shut the kitchen window? When you’re packing up for a trip, the natural focus is on planning for where you’ll be … but you don’t want to come home to a major problem, so an important part of any trip prep is to  take the time to secure your home before you leave.

Our friends at Chubb Insurance have compiled a great interactive trip planning guide with tips tools you need to prepare for your trip so that you can depart worry free, View the short video below or  download Home Preparation Tips – Steps to protect your home, vehicles, valuables and security during your next trip.

Chubb also offers security advice for while you are on your trip – check out the video or download Travel Tips for managing your documents, money, valuables, technology and more while you’re away.


Some popular posts on travel from our archives


Best times for safe Thanksgiving road travel

If you are planning to hit the road for Thanksgiving, you’ll have plenty of company. Road travel is expected to be very high this year, bolstered by favorable gas prices right now — according to AAA, this week started off with a national average price for a gallon of regular gas of $2.885! is a good source for the best prices — and this year, they conducted a survey on Thanksgiving travel with more than 80,000 people and learned the following:

  • When do we go? 36% say their Thanksgiving travel begins on Thanksgiving Day. 30% said it starts the day before; 18% say they’re hitting the road 2 to 3 days before.
  • What about the return trip home? 25% say they’ll fight the tryptophan malaise and drive home later on Thanksgiving Day; but the majority, 42% say they’ll wait 2 to 3 days and drive home Saturday or Sunday. 22% of us expect to hit the road with a fresh start the next morning.
  • How well prepared are we? 95% of respondents have a smart phone. 52% say they use 2 to 3 travel apps for their Thanksgiving travels; 34% will actively use 4 or more apps.

Google Maps examined the traffic conditions over the last 2 years for 21 cities in the U.S. and translated that data to travel tips for those of you who will be on the road: the best day to travel? That would be Thanksgiving day itself. Google offers tips for days to avoid, the best time to set out, the best times to travel home, and more. See the full list of Google Thanksgiving travel tips here – we’ve excerpted a few infographic-style tips below.


Penguins, the Poop Cruise & Other Travel Stories That Should Remind You of Trip Insurance

andrew-peacock-reutersphoto: Andrew Peacock of the Australian Antarctic Expedition, Reuters

We were captivated by the Arctic rescue of scientists and tourists from the icebound Akademik Shokalskiy. See some fascinating photo galleries by Andrew Peacock of the Australian Antarctic Expedition, Reuters here and here.

It reminded us how often unplanned circumstances can make for “memorable” travel adventures. We came across one story about just such unplanned events that we found both amusing and appalling: Poop cruise! And 30 other outrageous travel stories of 2013. The title refers to last year’s nightmare cruise in the Gulf of Mexico. The poor passengers first had to suffer an onboard fire, a terrifying experience that resulted in the loss of all power.  It took the crippled boat 5 days to drift into port: 5 long days with thousands of people stuck on a ship with no electricity or working toilets. The horror!

If you are planning any vacations for a mid-winter break, we hope these stories won’t put you off. Unplanned “adventures” can happen at home or abroad – that’s what insurance is for. Consider protecting any costly travel plans with some trip insurance. It may not protect you from unexpected encounters with penguins, poop, or other problems, but could help to minimize any associated risks should havoc ensue. The Insurance Information Institute offers a good rundown on the major types of travel insurance: including Trip Cancellation, Lost Baggage, Medical, Dental, Emergency Evacuation, 24 Hour Traveler Assistance, Baggage Delay, Travel Delay, and Accidental Death Coverages. Some policies also have options for Collision/Damage coverage for rented cars.

And don’t forget – when going on vacation, there are some steps you should take before leaving: Going on vacation? 5 steps to secure your home while you are away!

New England summer toolkit – road trips & local treasures

Why not stay local this summer and enjoy all the treasures that New England has to offer? We’ve compiled some tips & tools to get you on your way.

First and foremost, before you hit the road, check Gas Buddy and to get the best gas prices. And make sure that your car is in tip-top shape: Consumer Reports offers a great guide to summer road travel with tips for family travel, maintenance and vehicle prep, fuel economy, travel gear, safety & more.

Here are some ideas of where to go:

Find New England Beaches, Whale Watching tours and some great cycling routes – all these, and many more ideas at Discover New England.

Yankee Magazine is a local favorite with great information and ideas for local travel and events. Eat healthy, eat local by finding the best New England Farmers’ markets – pair your veggies with some seafood – here are the 5 best tips for cooking lobster at home. On the road, check out some “only in New England” landmarks – or just explore the Best of New England with the 2013 Editor’s Choice Awards.

If you want to leave the car behind and go by foot, check out Hike New England to explore more than 200 trail reports for detailed guides that include a description of the hike, trail distances, a difficulty rating, and driving directions; often photos or trail maps are also provided. offers 25 things to do under $25 and many other ideas in Explore New England.

If your travels include your pet, check out pet friendly New England lodgings. The Boston Globe recently highlighted a pick of pet friendly choices in New England. Get more pet-friendly trip help from

Have safe and fun wanderings – and don’t forget to load your insurance agent’s telephone number in your mobile phone, just in case!

Vacation Rentals and Homeowners Insurance

Back in the old days before the ubiquitous internet, travelers had few choices as to lodgings. There were hotels, motels, B&Bs, short term vacation rental cottages, and the ever popular time shares and that was about it. Over the last decade, though, many more options have been added. To just mention two of the largest contemporary options, Couchsurfing offers you the chance to stay with like-minded people all over the world while Airbnb gives everyone the opportunity to run their own part time bed and breakfast. And then there is a growing number of home swap services, where you literally exchange homes with another family for a week or even more. These nontraditional vacation options are growing by leaps and bounds and you may even be considering joining one or another.
Couchsurfing works more like a social network than a rental. Couchsurfers pay no money when they vacation but are expected to host in their turn. Airbnb, on the other hand, is much more traditional: the host rents out a portion or all of their home, ranging from a guest bedroom to a fully equipped apartment or house, for a short period of time. Both services rely on detailed profiles filled out by both hosts and guests, listing everything from music preferences to pet issues to information about the hosts’ city. Both hosts and guests are free to accept or decline any offer as they wish and both services recommend reading profiles carefully and speaking with prospective guests in advance of any rental. Home swap services are more like couchsurfing in that they ordinarily do not involve any money but instead are a straightforward trade: you get their house and they get yours.
While there is no shortage of glowing recommendations for all these services to be found online, accidents do happen and issues do arise. Before you decide to hand your home over to strangers you should be sure you’re covered in the eventuality of any problems. The Insurance Information Institute strongly recommends that you speak with your insurance agent before you rent out any portion of your home, noting that traditional homeowners policies may well not cover any damages incurred by paying guests. You may need either an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy or a separate business policy. In either case, make sure you’re covered before you join the rental service so that you can travel with a light heart.