When you go on holiday not only do you leave your home and belongings unattended, but also have the potential to become a victim of crime, either in this country or abroad.
There are lots of ways to avoid counting the cost of crime while you're away.
Cultural Awareness and the Law
It is always a good idea before you go on holiday to find out as much as possible about the country you are travelling to, especially local law. Ask your travel agent or tour operator for as much information as possible, use the library and the internet.
For specific travel advice, ask your tour operator or contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
- Do not drink and drive
- Make sure you know the driving laws, licence requirements and driving conditions specific to the country you are visiting - never presume that they are the same as this country, for instance some countries require you not to move your car if you are involved in ANY accident, even if it is blocking the road
- Make sure your UK driving licence is current and valid. Some countries require you to hold an International Driving Permit (IDP) with your UK licence
- If you are staying for an extended period of time or for any reason other than tourism check what the driving licence requirements are.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Do not get involved with drugs
- Obey local laws. Penalties are often severe and include massive fines and long prison sentences in grim conditions. You can receive the death penalty in some countries. We cannot get you out
- Never carry packages through Customs for other people
- Do not sit in anyone else's vehicle when going through Customs or crossing a border - always get out and walk
- Always pack your own baggage and never leave it unattended
- If driving do not lend your vehicle to anyone else
- Do not give medicines prescribed for you by a doctor to people you meet on your travels
- Be aware of the local laws and attitudes to alcohol
- Do not try to import alcohol into a country where it is prohibited - penalties can be severe
- Public drunkenness is frowned on wherever you are.
Your passport is a very important document. If it is lost or stolen you could have a lot of trouble trying to get a replacement. Remember, to a criminal, a passport is worth a lot of money - especially a British one.
- Keep your passport in the hotel safe and carry a photocopy with you
- Keep your travel tickets in a safe place.
It is always a good idea to get travel insurance when holidaying abroad, or even in the UK. You will be covered for personal items as well as medical expenses.
- Ensure that your policy is valid for the whole journey and includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover
- Make sure you understand the limitations of your cover - e.g. any excesses
- Claims can be turned down if you are not looking after your property carefully
- Due to fraud, insurance companies are becoming more thorough. Take photos of any valuables and leave them at home - or better still leave your valuables at home!
- Before you buy insurance, check your home insurance to see if your personal possessions are already covered. This might mean that you can get a lower premium, or you may just have a lower excess on your home insurance
- Check with your credit card company about insurance on purchases bought with your card. Many cards cover items for a short time, even if bought abroad.
Wherever you stay on holiday, you want to feel reassured that your accommodation is safe and secure.
- If you are not happy with your room, or don't feel secure in any way, don't be afraid to ask to be moved, even if it means going to another room
- Rooms on upper floors are more secure as they are harder to break into from outside
- The same applies to rooms away from stairs or fire escapes
- Doors should be sturdy and secure. They should have solid locks and bolts. You should be able to secure the door from the inside so that anyone with a key cannot get in from the outside. They should also have a spy-hole and a sturdy chain
- If you are unsure about anyone claiming to be hotel staff at your door, phone the front desk to check before letting them in
- Check there have been no previous attempts to break into the room. Insure that sliding doors and windows are secure, especially if you are on the ground floor or have an easy accessible balcony (either from the floor or by climbing across from another balcony/fire escape)
- If there is a safe in the room USE IT. The programmable ones are best as only you know the code. Don't leave valuables lying around that could tempt hotel staff. Take valuables with you if you think they will be safer
- When you leave the room, try to make it look like someone is in. Leave a TV on loud enough to be heard from the corridor or put a 'do not disturb' sign on the door and leave the light on. Leaving lights on will also help you feel safer when you return at night
- Be aware that hotel owners have a certain amount of responsibility to ensure your property is secure. However, in the UK under the Hotel Proprietors Act 1956, if the hotel owners display an appropriate notice they can limit their liability to £50 per item or £100 in total. UK hotels cannot rely on this limit if the loss was caused by the negligence of their staff, although you would have to prove such negligence to make a higher claim
If you need to contact Wiltshire Police from abroad, please telephone 01380 826614 for non-emergencies.