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Don’t take the risk

HERE AT PDM, we have long advised our clients that they should always use the safes provided in hotels to stash their valuables, and not flash their cash while out in the streets on holiday. It is worth reinforcing this advice, as a new survey by Halifax Travel Insurance has revealed that thieves have stolen items worth almost three billion pounds sterling from British holidaymakers over the last five years.

We also stress the importance of travel insurance – the survey showed that over half the value of the items stolen, from nearly seven million Britons, could not be claimed back, due to the fact that many travellers had insufficient holiday insurance. Despite 80 per cent of travellers knowing they needed a crime number or report to claim the amount back from their insurance company, one in four did not bother to get one.

According to the survey, almost a third of all thefts happened in the holidaymaker’s accommodation, with money the most likely item to have been stolen. Clothes, jewellery and credit cards were also popular items for thieves to steal.

The survey concluded that prevention is better than cure. Vast amounts of time, money and heartache can be saved by remembering to take simple safety steps.

A quarter of all Brits, who were victims of holiday thefts, said the incident had ruined their holiday, with one in 10 saying the experience was so disturbing, they would not return to that country.

Beating the holiday horrors

Holidays should be relaxing, revitalising and enjoyable, however, things can go wrong and, like the Girl Guides, we believe you should always be prepared. A recent poll among holidaymakers showed that, unsurprisingly, flight and airport related disasters feature prominently among the problems people experience while on holiday, with delays and cancellations, missing bags and airport transfers all causing stress. Here are our solutions to beating these holiday spoilers.

• Delayed flights are the number one holidaymaker complaint. Thankfully, today’s airports usually offer plenty to do while you’re waiting.  Look for rooftop bars, hidden away lounges and last minute bargains from the shops.

•  Always carry a fully charged mobile phone with your airline’s number on it. If your flight is delayed or cancelled don’t join the angry mob of passengers lining up to speak to the lone agent at the gate. Call the airline and speak to an agent directly.

• Don’t queue without a clue. If you’re polite, you can often interject a quick question to others standing in the queue before getting in line.

• Not all tasks have to be handled at the gate for your particular flight, try a nearby gate with no queue, the agent will often be happy to help.

• If you get stuck overnight at an airport, try to get online at one of the many internet connection points that most airports have and log onto you might find some valuable advice from others who have been stuck in the same place!

• Bad weather can cause misery. Beat the weather blues by visiting local towns, cities and indoor attractions. Always take a pack of cards so you can make the most of the time you have to enjoy with your family and friends, even in the worst weather.

• Long coach transfers after flights are enough to blacken any holidaymaker’s mood. You should always ask about the transfer time before you book, and be prepared – take a guidebook to read, and be sure to buy a snack and a drink in the airport before you board your coach.

• Luggage reclaim. Everyone else’s baggage arrives, but yours is on the other side of the world. On average, 15 bags go missing per 1,000 travellers. Avoid being one of the 15 by clearly marking your bags.

• Packing/unpacking. Remember, less is more when going on holiday and always put cosmetics and toiletries in plastic bags!

• Overcharging. Knowing that you are being ripped off while abroad is an extremely frustrating experience. If you’re unsure about prices, ask your holiday rep – that’s what they’re there for.

• Touts. There’s no such thing as something for nothing. Never believe that it will only take 10 minutes to pick up that dream holiday, camcorder, wine or voucher that you won on your scatchcard. If you do go to collect, expect at least a couple of hours of presentations and hard sell – don’t say we didn’t warn you!