Holidays are a time to unwind and relax which can sometimes, unfortunately, lead to a lack of vigilance over personal belongings and therefore an increased vulnerability to theft and petty crime.
It is important to understand that these are not necessarily common occurrences and so you should not over-worry at the expense of enjoying your holiday, but there are simple precautions and safety measures you can take which will decrease your likeliness of becoming a victim of crime.
When booking your holiday, make sure you book a room or apartment that comes with its own safe. Leave important documents such as your passport and tickets here, and some of your cash, traveller’s cheques or cards, depending on what you are using for spending money.
Always carry the key with you separately and make sure you don’t leave any spares in your room. If you are in an apartment you may wish to consider one with additional access control, where you need a key or fob to gain access through entrance gates or a reception area.
On leaving your room make sure all windows and doors are shut and properly locked. It’s advisable to split your possessions between ones to put in the safe and ones to keep on you, to minimise what can be stolen. So, leave some cash and cards in the safe and take some in your bag.
When you’re out remember to remain vigilant over your personal belongings at all times. Keep handbags zipped and close to your body. When at the beach make sure there is at least one person who stays out of the sea to watch the bags at all times.
If you’re going somewhere which is known to have high theft rates, you might want to think about investing in a travel bag that you can fasten around your waist and even keep hidden under your clothes. Keep any cash, cards, and ID in here as it will keep them safe from pickpockets.
Use your debit or credit cards on your holiday if you can, as a preference to taking large amounts of cash on holiday with you. Most cards are accepted all over the world and UK banks usually have partnerships with foreign banks that mean a reduction in charges, so find out who these are before you go. If you are worried about overseas bank charges then consider using traveller’s cheques instead, as these will also be replaced if lost.
Be careful when asking strangers to take photographs for you. It’s advisable to ask other tourists, who are less likely to be trying to steal possessions. Otherwise, ask someone who works for the establishment you are visiting, for example a waiter in a restaurant. In general, you’re safer asking couples, groups or families to take photos for you rather than individuals.
To stay safe personally, consult guide books or the local tourist information centre about which areas may be less safe so you can avoid them or deploy extra vigilance whilst visiting them. Always have a pre-arranged place for your group to meet if people get lost.
Finally, remember to take out a comprehensive insurance policy before you travel so that if you do become a victim of theft the value of your belongings will be recouped.