Being robbed is a quick way to put a real damper on your vacation. While there is no way to guarantee thieves will leave you alone, there are a few simple precautions you can take to reduce the risk.
1. Make your house look occupied. An obviously empty house is a major target. Remember to stop your newspaper and mail delivery, or ask a neighbor to pick it up for you, so it doesn't pile up on your porch or in your mailbox and make it obvious to anyone looking that no one's home.
You can set up a timer to turn your lights on periodically, or even ask a friend or relative to house-sit for you. At the very least, let a neighbor know you will be away so they can keep an eye out for suspicious activity.
2. Pack your valuables in your carry-on, not your suitcase. If your luggage gets lost, you don't want anything irreplaceable getting lost with it. You can use a TSA-approved lock to keep your carry-on secure.
3. Use the hotel safe. Lots of hotels offer an in-room safe, or at least a house safe where you can store your jewelry, electronics and travel papers. Even hostels will offer at least a locker for your valuables.
4. Protect your kids. Taking a picture of your kids before you leave each morning will make it easy to remember exactly what they are wearing if you get separated. You can even use a GPS-tracking device on your kids to keep track of exactly where they are at all times.