For more than 100 years, the United States has observed Labor Day, a federal holiday that celebrates the economic and social contributions of America’s work force. While the history of Labor Day is quite interesting in itself, the holiday is still recognized today with parades, picnics, barbecues, fireworks and other family gatherings.

Whether you’re trekking across the country in your Subaru or making a short trip to your mother-in-law’s home, follow these 5 Tips for a Safe and Stress-Free Labor Day Weekend:

1)   Lock Up

Homes left empty over Labor Day Weekend represent an easy target for burglars and criminals. To protect your home, avoid posting pictures of your whereabouts on social media. Don’t tweet that you are leaving for vacation. Leave one or two lights on 24/7 and use a security system to protect your home from opportunistic burglars.

2)   Stay Safe  

Even more Americans will be on the road this year. AAA predicts a 4.2 percent increase over the 32.7 million travelers during last year’s Labor Day holiday. While this may be indicative of a recovering economy, it also means higher traffic density and greater risk for highway accidents. Check out our earlier post that offers safety tips for your road trip.

3)   Fill ‘Er Up

In anticipation of heavier traffic on the roadways, be sure to top off your gas tank before you hit the road. Download the Gas Buddy app for your smart phone to find the cheapest gas prices in your area. It’s also a good idea to change your oil and check your tire pressure before you begin your trip.

4)   Keep an Eye on the Forecast

Unusually high temperatures have created a severe heat wave that is burning across the Midwest this summer.  To keep cool, drink plenty of fluids and lather up with sunscreen.  If you’re lucky enough to avoid the heat, you still run the risk of encountering summer showers. Drive cautiously in the rain and check the weather forecast regularly to avoid potential severe weather risks.

5)   Plan Ahead

Make arrangements for your pets, water the plants and cancel the newspaper prior to leaving for your destination. Travelers planning a northern escape to Canada might be in for a surprise to learn our neighbor nation celebrates its Labor Day on the very same day. To avoid any hassle, book hotel rooms early and confirm all travel details prior to your departure.

While unforeseen hiccups can occur at any time, a safe and stress free Labor Day weekend is possible. Avoid holiday headaches by making preparations ahead of time and taking appropriate safety precautions during the duration of your trip. Do you have a tip that you would like to see added to the list? Feel free to comment below.