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Personal Safety when Travelling Aboad

The following article was kindly provided by Bill Connell.
It is his experience of his many travels on the Continent.
Everyones experience will be different but it is good advice for those contemplating travelling either at home or abroad.

Personal Safety when Travelling Abroad.
By :-  Bill Connell.

This is a follow on artical to "Wintering in Spain" but it really applies to all seasons.
Most robberies happen in the high tourist season as people are out for two weeks, have cash and the last thing they think of is getting robbed. They say the thieves are glad when the tourists are gone because then they can take a holiday and spend the proceeds of their hard work.

I came across the telephone number to ring in Spain if you are unfortunate enough to get robbed. You can speak to an operator in English, they don't do Irish, they will give you a case number so have a pen handy. You can then go to any Guardia Civil police station (only guardia civil will do), give them the number and they will give you a print out of your case. This is known as an attestation number. You will need this to make a claim on your insurance. The number to ring is 0034 902102112

Don't expect them to catch the thieves. Even if they find your wallet they may not make an effort to find you. They may send passports to the Embassy but by then you will have probably replaced them. If you go to a police station to report a crime, unless it is a Guardia Civil station they will re direct you to one.  Some of them will not deal with you unless you can speak fluent Spanish or have an interpreter with you. They will give you the attestation if you have made a report to the number above, otherwise ring the number tell your story to the guy who answers, who will then hand the phone to the officer who will probably give you a copy of the incident for the insurance.

Always keep copies of passports, driving licence, credit cards and any other documents which you will need if stolen, and of course the above number, better still put it into your phone.

Good places to get robbed (I mean bad places to get robbed) are:-

No 1.
Markets. Every week you will hear of someone getting robbed in a market.

On market day the robbers come in specially as they know the place will be crowded and you will be distracted by looking at the stalls. Tip: markets start at 9 am. and go on to 1 pm. usually . If you must go don't go until 12.00 noon as by then the crowds will have gone, and the traders will be getting ready to pack up. You can bargain better then as they don't want to pack up and bring the goods to another market the next day. If you are not happy with the price walk away and the price will come down by half. If you can, only bring cash with you which you need for purchases. Some camp sites have a safe deposit system. Use it if you can but put a note on your driving keys so that you don't go away without vital documents.

No 2.
Filling stations and lay-bys. Known as Aires in France and rest stops in Spain.  Beware of people well dressed and very affable offering help, advice or asking for advice . If they are driving a Spanish car or speak good English beware. While you are talking to them an accomplice will slip into your van and take any valuables.

If parked up they may break in. Safes have been know to have been cut out with an angle grinder and a nice big hole left in the floor.

No 3.
Supermarkets. Yes you are concentrating on getting your goods and they are concerned with getting your hard earned money.

No 4.
Many people have installed video cameras in their vans to record any incidents on the road. Failing that take a photo with your phone or aim it at the culprits and this may be enough to deter them. Some people have decoy handbags filled with rubbish which they leave in a prominent place in the van e.g near the passenger window and let it be grabbed. Good excuse for the wife to buy a new one. A dummy wallet in the back pocket of your jeans is another decoy. Put a nice note in it congratulating the thief on his or her good fortune.

Finally 95% of people never have any problem so pack up the wagon and get on the road .

Carry on Camping
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