It is a sad fact of life that there are people out there who think that it is okay to steal other peoples property. This can happen no matter where you are. City or country, Australia or overseas, home or travelling. And just because we may be on holidays, doesn’t mean we are exempt.
Sometimes, caravanners and travellers can be more at risk as they frequently leave their camp sites to explore during the day. So what kinds of things can you do to minimise theft of your property? We have put together some ideas that may help in Preventing Theft When Travelling.
TAKE IT WITH YOU
If you are leaving your van or camp site for the day it is best to take easily portable items like cameras, phones, laptops and I-Pads with you. If you have to leave them in your vehicle try and store them out of sight. My laptop bag fits neatly in our Drifta drawers which are lockable. We also make sure our canopy is locked and we have had the side windows tinted so it is very hard to see in there now.
If you do leave items in your van, put them in hard to access spots, like under the seats or bed. Thieves will want to get in and out as quickly as possible and will not want to spend time moving seat cushions or lifting beds up to look for stuff.
You may even consider installing a small safe in a hard to access area, like under your seats.
KEEP IT LOCKED
We all leave our vans and cars unlocked at some point. We might just be going to the bathroom or the camp kitchen. But our advice is don’t risk it. Lock up even if you think you are only going to be away for a couple of minutes.
We also have padlocks fitted to our battery boxes, jerry cans and spare wheels. Get them all keyed alike for convenience.
Don’t forget to remove the keys from your car and lock it at night as well. Brenden usually checks that he has locked everything just before we go to bed. Get into the habit of doing this when you are heading to the toilet for the last time and you won’t forget.
UTILISE HIDING SPOTS
Lots of vehicles have little ‘hidey’ holes that only those who own that make and model of vehicle know about. These can come in handy for storing small items that you don’t want to carry with you.
For example, our very first Prado had a pull out drawer under the passenger seat. I would never have known that was there until I owned one.
WALLETS AND HANDBAGS
Never ever leave your wallet or handbag in the car, even if you are just dashing into a shop or the toilet. Thieves take only a few moments to take advantage of an unattended vehicle. Personally, I don’t carry a handbag.
Over the last couple of years, I have made a conscious effort to get rid of cards that I don’t need. I keep my key-cards and drivers licence in my phone case and that is all I carry with me. A small card wallet has my medicare card and a few other cards in it which I keep in the van unless I know I’m going to need it.
I could not imagine what a nightmare it would be getting a Queensland Drivers Licence replaced if I was in Western Australia, not to mention cancelling credit cards etc.
RECORD NUMBERS OF EVERYTHING
Before you leave home record the numbers of your key-cards, drivers licence etc. That way if they are stolen you have the details on hand. A spreadsheet is a great way to do this. Make sure you add the expiry dates as well.
If you have electrical items with you, record the serial numbers of them as well. It might also be a good idea to engrave these items with your drivers licence number or phone number. This will help identify your property as yours, if it is stolen and subsequently recovered.
If you must carry expensive items of jewelry, take photos of everything. This can help with identification if theft does occur.
SECURE LOOSE ITEMS
Before you head out exploring for the day or before you head off to bed, take a few minutes to secure loose items. This can be a bit of a nuisance but may just stop an opportunistic thief.
We always put our Weber Baby Q away and make sure the hatch is locked as well. Chairs are another easily grabbed item so we put them in the back of the BT50.
If you have pushbikes with you, make sure these are chained up as well.
Having your caravan or camper trailer stolen would be heartbreaking. Installing one of the many hitch lock devices available, will give you some peace of mind. These devices are fitted to the tow ball of your caravan or trailer and prevent anyone else from hooking them up.
Wheel clamps can also be used to prevent your caravan from being towed away.
Many people install sensor lights on their vans that come on if someone comes under the awning. Alarm systems that send an alert to your smart phone are also becoming more popular.
Making friends with your neighbours is also a great idea. You can always ask them to keep an eye on things whilst you are out and you can then return the favour.
Many people now travel with their dogs and most dogs will certainly alert you if someone comes around that shouldn’t be there.
Of course all of the above suggestions will not stop a very determined thief. They will only act as a deterrent. So having good insurance that covers both your vehicle, caravan and possessions is essential.
Make sure you research your insurance needs carefully. Ensure that your company will cover you if, for example, you are travelling full time.
Above all don’t let the possibility of theft deter you from getting out and exploring this amazing country of ours.
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