10 things to do before you go on holiday

family packing for holiday

RACV Staff

Posted December 14, 2022

Holidaymakers and motorists are urged to keep safety at the forefront of their plans ahead of the festive season. Here are some useful tips to address potential risks at home and on the road.

Victorians are advised to remain vigilant about road safety and home security risks on the eve of the state’s summer holiday period.

Across Victoria, an expected uptick in travel to regional hot spots and holiday destinations is tipped to create busy conditions on the state’s freeways and arterials, while changed driving conditions brought on by extreme weather events such as floods could pose more difficult driving conditions than usual, particulary in regional Victoria.

RACV General Manager Automotive Services, Jackie Pedersen, says it’s important that everyone who takes to the road is aware of the effects of unseasonal rain and flooding in October and November.

“Heavy rain – brought on by the La Niña weather phase – has contributed to flooding that has deteriorated the quality of roads, causing potholes and other hazards for road-users,” Ms Pedersen says.

“Whether you’re using roads you’re familiar with, or driving to a new regional location, it’s very important that you plan ahead and be prepared for increased traffic and different driving conditions.

Motorists should check that their roadside assistance and car insurance policy is up to date before they leave, and be wary of encountering potholes on the road. Pederson also advises motorists to undertake some basic car maintenance safety checks before hitting the road.

“It’s very good practice to get in the habit of also checking the fluid levels under the bonnet, including oil, coolant and even the windscreen washer level. Checking tyre pressure is also a must,” Pedersen says.

How to make your home safe over Christmas

RACV Head of Home Insurance, Kirsty Hayes, says there are simple precautions that you can take to make your home safer over Christmas.

“Christmas lights are a beautiful way to decorate at Christmas, but using power boards in your home can be risky if not used properly. It is important to ensure that you don’t overload power boards by attaching double adaptors or additional extension cords to them. It’s also important to use good quality power boards with overload protection,” Hayes says.

“Candles add a festive ambience to your home, but they must never be left unattended and always be extinguished before you leave a room. Never touch or move a candle while it is burning or while the wax is liquefied.”

Most house fires start in the kitchen. It is important to have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in an accessible area of your kitchen. If you don’t own a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket, they are great items to add to your Christmas list.”

10 things to do before you go on holiday

Lock up and tie down

Ensure you lock up your home before you leave and consider where you park your cars. If possible, park your car behind a garage or locked gate, and take your car keys with you to help prevent car theft. Do not leave keys or valuables in your car, or bikes at the front of your home.

Summer storms and high winds can easily dislodge outdoor items such as trampolines or patio furniture, and cause damage to your home. Be sure to anchor loose items in your yard or store them away in the garage.

Check the effectiveness of your CCTV and home alarm systems before you leave and determine whether they require any servicing or maintenance.


Determine how safe your home is from burglary with the How Safe is My Place app

Plan rest stops

Driving while fatigued can be as dangerous as driving with BAC of 0.05 or higher. Get quality sleep the night before getting behind the wheel and consider taking regular breaks, such as stopping for 15 minutes every two hours. Sharing driving duties on your holiday can also help to reduce cumulative fatigue.

There’s plenty of resources available to help you plan your rest stop areas, so be sure to factor these into your travel. Be aware of the signs of fatigue. If you notice any whilst driving, find a safe spot to have a 20-minute power nap.

Service your car

If you’re planning to use your car for travel, book your vehicle for a comprehensive service ahead of your trip. Things like your car battery, windscreen wipers and tyres should all be assessed to be in good working order before hitting the road for an extended driving holiday.

RACV has accredited auto care centres across Victoria for car servicing and repairs.


Cancel deliveries and re-route online shopping

Put those subscriptions and deliveries on hold while you’re away. Overflowing online shopping deliveries, newspapers and mail is a tell-tale sign to opportunistic thieves that you’re far from home, heightening your risk of burglary.

parcels out front of home

Avoid leaving noticeable signs of being away from home. Image: Getty.

Tell your neighbours or loved ones 

Ask a neighbour, family member or friend to keep an eye on your home while you’re away. You might also ask them to take out the bins, park in the driveway or even house sit occasionally to give the appearance of an occupied household. 


Organise your pets

Coming home to a missing pet is devastating. If you can’t bring your furry friend with you on a pet-friendly holiday, keep your dog or cat safe and happy at pet sitting accommodation such as Hanrob Pet Hotel. Alternatively, follow these pet security tips.


Plan the best route

There are some basic things to consider if you’re heading out on a road trip. To minimise your fuel expenses, check the cheapest fuel prices along your road trip. Using a fuel tracker app like arevo can help you save money on your road trip route.

Doing a road trip in an electric vehicle? Planning your electric charging stops on your route is key. RACV Members can save when charging electric vehicles with Chargefox.

It’s also important to check ahead for possible summer road disruptions happening on your road trip route.

pet jumping fence

Organise your furry friends before hitting the road. Image: Getty.

Book accommodation and plan itinerary 

Whether you like to plan your holiday days to the minute, or like to keep things spur-of-the-moment, booking activities or attractions ahead of time can help save you money and avoid disappointment. RACV Members save on a variety of tickets and attractions across Australia.

Review your home insurance policy

Before you head off on holiday, ask yourself: “Does my home insurance policy align with my current personal circumstances and living arrangements, the value of the things I own, and their importance to my life?” If not, it might be time to update your home insurance policy. Home insurance can give you peace of mind when you’re away on holiday.

Review your Emergency Roadside Assistance

A flat car battery, punctured tyre or keys locked inside your vehicle can derail your holiday. For a happy road trip, check that your Emergency Roadside Assistance details are up to date before departing, reducing stress in case you run into trouble on the road.

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The information provided is general advice only. Before making any decisions please consider your own circumstances and the Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determinations. For copies, visit racv.com.au. As distributor, RACV Insurance Services Pty Ltd AFS Licence No. 230039 receives commission for each policy sold or renewed. Product(s) issued by Insurance Manufacturers of Australia ABN 93 004 208 084 AFS Licence No. 227678.