Dates & Events

Safety tips for the holidays

Special thanks to University of Alabama for sharing these tips with us!

The approach of vacation — Thanksgiving, Winter or Spring break — is an exciting time for students. Unfortunately, vacations are also when potential thieves know students are likely to be out of town.

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High School Parent | College Parent

Before vacation, review the following safety tips with your student. While nothing can guarantee the security of your student’s rental property and belongings, these precautions may help. Encourage your student to share this advice with roommates, too. Their home is only as safe as they make it.

  • Securely lock all doors and windows.
  • Close blinds or drapes in all rooms.
  • Leave a light on so it appears someone is home.
  • Remove items (university banners, etc.) from the rental’s exterior (lawn, porch, balcony) that indicate students live at the address.
  • Have the U.S. Post Office hold all mail until they return.
  • Never leave a message on an answering machine or cell phone, or post to social media, stating that they are going out of town or will not be home.
  • Report persons loitering outside the rental property to the police.
  • If driving home, always park in well-lit locations when stopping for gas or food.
  • Keep car doors locked and windows rolled up, and do not leave valuable items (purse, laptop) in the car even for a short time.
  • If traveling by train, plane or bus, put ID tags and locks on all bags and only pack as much as they can comfortably carry/roll. (Remember to use locks compatible with the TSA when flying. More information available here.)
story-icon-bar-convo-3As a precaution, students living in residence halls should always take valuables home for the holidays.

Other suggestions:

  • Encourage your student to program campus and local police phone numbers into his or her cell phone.
  • Suggest bringing cash for small purchases made while traveling (rather than sliding credit/debit cards).
  • If you haven’t already, consider purchasing renter’s insurance to cover your student’s belongings. It is relatively inexpensive ($100-200 annually).
  • For students who will hit the road, make sure they have emergency back-up (such as a membership in AAA) and snow or all-weather tires in northern regions.
  • Students who will be gone for more than a few days should let the landlord or property manager know in case there is a maintenance issue or an emergency at the rental property.

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter and purchase the Guide to Supporting Your Student’s Freshman Year for additional tips, insight, and to help your college student succeed. You may also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our Community Forum and College Parents’ Facebook group.

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