We save up all year for that precious week or two in the sun with our nearest and dearest. The annual holiday has been commonplace as far back as we can remember but unfortunately, so has holiday theft. It’s easy to see why a tourist unaware of their surroundings -and after one margarita too many- may fall foul to theft. Here’s our top tips on how to stay safe on your travels:
Don’t carry valuables in your back pockets
This applies mostly to men, who tend to keep their wallets or keys in their back pockets. It makes you an instant target and is a pickpocket’s dream. Don’t make it easy for them!
Keep the status updates to a minimum
Holiday theft doesn’t just happen on holiday. Telling your social media contacts that you are about to leave your house unattended could lead to the information getting into the wrong hands. Four out of five burglars used social media to pinpoint their victims in 2013. Save the poolside snaps for your return.
Check your travel insurance is sufficient
You may think £1,000 of contents cover will more than cover the cost of your bikinis, but the value of your suitcase can be surprisingly high. In August 2010 the Daily Mail reported that the average holiday suitcase contained valuables of up to £3,000 in value. Expensive gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, designer sunglasses and watches in particular really bump up the value. Ensure your travel insurance covers the cost of everything, should your luggage go missing.
Be aware of the latest pickpocketing ‘trends’ in your holiday destination
City break destinations in particular have a high rate of pickpocket thefts. Mobile phones and money are the key scores. These people are professionals and often work in groups. More often than not, before you’ve even realised your goods are gone, a pickpocket is counting your money in a nearby apartment. Be aware of some of the tricks they use:
- The ‘bird droppings’ trick: Somebody will approach you insisting you have bird droppings on your shoulder. As they try to ‘wipe it off’ (and your head is naturally turned to investigate) their accomplice will take your bag/ camera/ whatever is hanging on your shoulder.
- The ‘bump’ trick: One person will bump into you. As they apologise profusely, you don’t even notice that your wallet and phone are gone.
- ‘My wallet has been stolen’ trick: This often takes place in busy places such as tourist attractions or train stations. A person will shout “my wallet has been stolen!” prompting you to feel for your own wallet/purse to check. You have just shown the pickpockets where your money is.
Don’t take valuables to the beach!
This sounds obvious but it is easy to grab your purse or wallet on the way to the beach, only for it to go walkies when you go for a swim. Be sensible, take a little cash and leave the cards in your hotel safe. Consider whether you really need to take items such as iPods, expensive cameras and smartphones, and if you do be sure you can afford to lose them, or have them properly insured.
These are just some of the most obvious precautions you can take to keep yourself safe whilst travelling. If you have any questions regarding travel insurance, or simply want to discuss your existing cover, call our travel team on the number below who will be happy to help.