Following some simple steps can help you stay safe and secure on tour. After all, on holiday, you want to be able to devote all of your time to rest and relaxation, not worrying about the security of your cash and your kit.
And what a disaster it could be, if you were to lose some or all of your portable valuables.
It is, of course, best to leave your jewellery at home when you tour, but there are some things you simply can’t do without.
Lose your passports and you will need to seek out a British embassy and pay £100 each for an emergency travel document. This is only valid for the one trip home – there will be extra costs in renewing your passports.
And if your cash is stolen, this is unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance. Losing your credit cards also causes a lot of hassle, because you will have to cancel and renew them.
Loss of your keys does not bear thinking about: having to replace a van’s locks can cost hundreds of pounds. The good news is, with just a bit of planning, you can protect your belongings and enjoy your trip.
Passports, cash, cards
It would be best if at least one member of your party carries a large belt pouch, worn under the clothes, to keep your passports, cash and credit cards safe, with only small sums of ready money kept in your pocket.
This arrangement requires some thinking ahead, but it’s not usually difficult to find a quiet place where you can pull out your pouch and replenish cash and so on, when necessary.
Handy belt pouch
An excellent belt pouch can be made from a 330 x 170mm piece of chamois leather. This material is hardwearing, flexible and comfortable. You will also need strong, 10mm, synthetic tape for the belt loops.
First, cut out the leather and prepare two 320mm lengths of the tape, which should be fixed temporarily in position. Cut a width of Velcro and stitch it to the front of the pouch, where the flap will close.
Use a simple running stitch and some strong, synthetic thread to sew around the two open sides, then go back over this in reverse to complete the stitches. Now turn the pouch inside out and add the other Velcro element to the inside of the flap.
To use it, simply rest the empty pouch, facing forwards with the tape loops overlapping your trouser belt, slightly to one side of the centreline. Pass one tape loop through a belt loop and then roll up the pouch and pass it through the end of the tape loop.
By pulling this tight, you form a positive knot to the trouser belt loop, so if you are required to remove your belt for security screening, you can rest assured that your pouch will remain securely in place.
Some people might prefer to position the tapes so that the pouch is worn horizontally. I fitted a third tape on my pouch for just this eventuality, but have never found it necessary.
Keeping your phone secure can be a bit more difficult, especially if you use it a lot!
The risks are twofold – if your pocket is picked and you don’t immediately notice your phone has been stolen, the thief could easily run up a substantial bill on your account. Or you could have it snatched from your hand.
The common-sense advice is not to carry your phone in a back pocket where it is visible, and to avoid walking around with it in your hand.
If you can, stand with your back to a wall while using the phone, so you can spot anyone approaching you, including thieves on mopeds or bicycles.
You could use a chain to keep your keys secure, but these can often be rather short, a bit too obtrusive and easily tangled.
A far better option is a 1.2m length of 3mm nylon cord, in a dark colour. This is about the thickness of a bootlace and will be long enough to have a small keyring loop at one end and a larger belt loop at the other.
If at all possible, decant the essential items from your usual handbag into a small, slim bag that has a long strap, so you can wear it across the body. If you can, wear a jacket or jersey over the bag. Keep valuable articles in your bag to a minimum and never hang it on the back of a chair or put it on the ground when you sit down in public – if you do take off your bag, it is safer on your knee.
You cannot take valuables to the poolside – you need a safe in your van. On the site, with your belongings secured, you can then go and enjoy a relaxing swim.
If you want some more great tips to keep your caravan safe, be sure to head to our Back to Basics: Safe & Secure category.
Future Publishing Limited, the publisher of practicalcaravan.com, provides the information in this article in good faith and makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement in determining the appropriateness of the advice to their circumstances. Individuals should take appropriate safety precautions and be aware of the risk of electrocution when dealing with electrical products. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future nor its employees or agents shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information. You should check that any van warranty will not be affected before proceeding with DIY projects.
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