Tips for preventing theft when on holiday
Having your pocket picked or your handbag pinched is an upsetting experience that’s made even worse if you are abroad. Being the victim of crime can leave you seriously shaken and your holiday in tatters.
Fortunately, there are a number of practical steps you can take to stay safe overseas.
Do your homework
Before you go anywhere it’s worth spending time researching your destination. There’s a wealth of useful information online, ranging from informal forums such as Lonely Planet’s excellent Thorn Tree, to more formal sites such as the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.
Get travel insurance
Travel insurance provides affordable peace of mind when you are abroad. It’s designed to safeguard against a variety of situations, from lost or stolen baggage to medical emergencies. To find out more, or for an online quote, visit Quoteline Direct’s travel insurance pages.
Blend-in with the locals
By keeping a low profile you’ll attract less unwanted attention. Admittedly it’s hard to look like a native while wearing shorts and a t-shirt, but you’ll blend in much better if you leave your designer labels and expensive jewellery at home.
Plan your day
Standing on a street corner clutching a guidebook and wearing a confused expression makes you an easy target for thieves. Much better to carefully plan your day’s route and if you do get lost go into a shop or café to ask for directions.
Shun the crowd
Thieves love crowds that they can melt into, so be extra vigilant at tourist hot spots and transport hubs. Confined spaces are another favourite haunt for pickpockets, so take extra care when using lifts, escalators and revolving doors.
Be careful with cash
Work out a budget for each day and leave the rest of your cash in the hotel safe. Watch out for ‘shoulder surfers’ when withdrawing cash from ATMs, and keep your PIN protected when using cards to make payments. Also ask yourself whether you really need to carry all those cards around; the chances are that you don’t.
Spread your worth
By spreading your cards and cash about your person you won’t be left penniless if you are pickpocketed. Better still, use a money belt to keep your valuables close to your body and hidden from view.
Be safe and sound
Either use the safe in your hotel room or leave your valuables with the receptionist for safe keeping. It’s worth noting that some travel insurance policies won’t pay-out if you fail to take ‘reasonable care’ of your personal possessions, so don’t give them any excuses.
Copy your documents
Make copies of all important travel documents, including passport, insurance, bank cards, flights and reservations. Leave one set of copies with a friend back home and take another with you; then if the worst happens at least you won’t be left stranded abroad.
Snap your valuables
When packing it’s a good idea to take a picture of everything spread out on your bed before it goes into the suitcase. Then if your luggage does go missing, you’ll have plenty of evidence to help make a successful travel insurance claim.
Remember that thieves are opportunists, so don’t give them the opportunity. And have a great time on holiday!
Do you have any additional tips for staying safe and preventing theft when on holiday? Be sure to share them with us below!