Before you leave, take a few steps to ensure your family and possessions are secure on your journey. Pack a carry-on bag for essential items. Keep these items with you at all times while traveling; NEVER check them in your suitcase: tickets and itineraries, cash and travelers checks, prescription medications, guidebooks and maps, extra glasses, camera, cosmetics, identification (use business address) and insurance information.
If you are traveling abroad you should also carry with you: all passports and visas, extra prescriptions for your medications, insurance claim forms. Keep half of your cash and traveler's checks in your carry on bag and the other half on your person in a cash stash worn underneath your clothing. Never carry money in your pockets and never leave cash or valuables in your hotel room. Some other items that might come in handy are a flashlight, a luggage cart and a Swiss Army knife (the older style with a non-locking blade). If you must bring valuables such as jewelry or electronics, carry them with you until you can put them in a hotel safe.
Take precautions to protect your home while you are away, as well. Use a business address on all baggage. Crooks cruise airports to find out who is leaving town. Also, never park your car at the airport, as these crooks also check license plates to see who is away. Have a trusted friend or neighbor collect mail, newspapers and deliveries and take out the trash while you are gone. Never cancel any services, as you are only informing strangers when your house will be empty. Do not leave a spare key outside or notes on the door, but do use timers on lights and radios, and do use an answering machine or unplug the phones.
In the airport, keep your tickets secured in your carry on bag. The airline takes no responsibility for your tickets and tickets are difficult, if not impossible to replace. Often, you will have to purchase a new ticket for a much higher fare. If you are checking valuable items, distribute them among several suitcases and purchase extra insurance through the airline. Limit your carry on luggage to the necessities listed above and a few entertainment items. Items stowed in the overhead compartments on a plane become dangerous projectiles if the compartment opens. The most important thing to remember is to hold your children's hands. Kids can get lost easily, especially in crowded airports.
When you arrive at your hotel, immediately put all valuable items, including return tickets and surplus traveler's checks, in the hotel safe. Make a habit of exchanging items and getting more money from the safe on a daily basis. Do not use the "Please Make Up My Room" sign. It informs all passers-by that you are not there. Instead, call the front desk to request maid/ linen service. Never leave valuable or tempting items around your room. Put them in the hotel safe or lock them in a suitcase. To protect small children you should tape back electrical cords, plug up electrical outlets and remove matches and breakable objects. To make your older kids feel more secure, show them around the hotel and make sure they can find your room and the front desk.