As much as we think we may blend-in with the locals when travelling abroad, the truth is we stick out like a sore thumb most of the time and this makes us a walking target for thieves. We also have a tendency to let our guard down when on holiday as we’re too busy enjoying ourselves to consider anything bad might happen. And this is the precise moment when something bad does happen.
Hiring a car when on holiday can increase the likelihood of you being targeted as thieves know most people will leave valuable items in their vehicle whilst parked. Hire cars often have brand stickers on them, meaning there’s a high likelihood they belong to tourists.
The good news is there’s a number of things you can do to help prevent yourself becoming a victim of crime when on holiday. Here’s how to stay one step ahead of the thieves:
- Don’t leave valuables in the car - Obvious I know, but always worth reiterating. Anything of significant value (both financially and sentiment wise), should be kept with you at all times, or better still, left in the safe of your hotel/apartment. And if for some reason, you do need to leave valuables in your car, make sure they are well hidden. Thieves are opportunists and don’t want to spend time looking for things to steal.
- Leave your glove compartment open - This is most likely the first place a thief will look when they break-in. If it’s already open and they can see there’s nothing in it, they’ll move onto another vehicle instead.
- Make your car look local - Despite the fact your car may have a branded sticker indicating it’s a hire car (this may or may not be removable), you can still reduce the likelihood of thieves thinking you’re a tourist. Hide any tourist information (guides, maps, etc.) and place a local newspaper in clear view.
- Think about where you park - If you can see broken glass close to where you’re parked, it’s a good idea to go somewhere else. More than likely it was from a previous break-in, and thieves will tend to operate in similar areas if they’ve proved productive in the past. Try and stick to open, public places whenever possible and avoid quiet roads and isolated car parks.
- Leave your car unlocked at night - This may seem like an odd suggestion at first mention, but some experts recommend leaving your car unlocked at night to avoid the windows being smashed. This of course should only be done if all valuables are removed from the vehicle and there is an immobiliser/anti-theft device in place to prevent the car being stolen.
- Be wary even when the car is occupied - It is not uncommon for thieves to grab valuables from cars even when people are in them. To prevent this happening, avoid hiring a convertible if possible as these are vulnerable when stopped at lights or in traffic. Rent a car with air-conditioning so there’s no need to have the windows down and keep the doors locked at all times whilst you’re driving.
Sadly, there will always be victims of crime on holiday but by following these suggestions the hope is the chances of it happening to you are significantly reduced. Make sure the insurance you have is comprehensive and covers you in the eventuality that your car is broken into and items are removed.