Watch Out! Secure Your Belongings Before You Leave the Room.


Watch Out! Secure Your Belongings Before You Leave the Room.

Travel Mishaps from the Reaching Delphi Travellers Alert Series.


What excites you when you check into a hotel room? For me, it’s to see the view from my window. I welcome any sight, but the views I like the most are the ones with streets dressed in local flavours, culture-rich neighbourhoods, blue seas, and mountains. Bonus points if I can spot a place to pick up some coffee easily. So naturally, the first thing I do when I open my hotel room is look out the window.

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The view is good, but do watch out!

Have you taken a group package tour before for any vacation? These packages usually combine bus travel to transport you to the places listed in the itinerary, a knowledgeable guide, accommodation at reputable hotels, and delicious meals.

We had used group tours as one of our vacation options on several occasions. One of these was an all-inclusive package with a well-known tour operator in Greece. Now, everything about the trip was commendable and well planned – well, almost. Our tour guide, Maria, was our walking Wikipedia for everything we needed to know. We enjoyed the great selection of vegetarian Mediterranean food. While Greek coffee and wines were a treat, I found Ouzo was not quite right for me.


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Lets have some coffee here. Pick your table.


Imagine this – you received your hotel room key, and the view from your room surpasses your expectations. Just one more thing to do – unpack. As you’re settling in, the inviting view outside and your rumbling tummy hastily urges you to hurry on. Next thing you know, you are outdoors snapping photos and posting on Instagram. Here’s a question. Let’s trace back your steps. What do you do before you leave the hotel room? Make sure I have the room keys, duh! Well, that’s right, but not entirely complete, fellow traveller. 


On the second night of the tour, we stayed at a beautiful five-star resort in Corinth. Our dinner that night was included in our package, a buffet spread at the hotel. Most of us from the tour were exhausted and wanted to get under the covers for a good night’s sleep. We had to leave early the next morning for another city. Naturally, we freshened up quickly and left the room – with our keys, of course. Since my room was only steps away from the hotel restaurant, and because this was a fancy hotel, we left the suitcases unlocked, only taking essentials like our passports.

After a heavy dinner and some light socialising, we got back to the room and, to our shock, found our suitcases open. Upon checking we found some money, tickets, and small purchases missing. The next day we learnt that two other travellers from our group also noted their important valuables were missing. When we informed Maria, we were miles away from the resort where the incident took place, and U-turning to Corinth would disrupt the tour schedule. Maria did not offer any solution. 

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When you analyse this, you’d note the following:
  • All the victims were from the same travel group.
  • The signs indicated this was an internally planned theft.
  • This theft may not have been the first time of such occurrence.
  • The organisers of the theft knew the travel pattern well. With their set tour schedule, their victims would not return to file a police report.
  • The incident occurred on the second night, when most travellers were not well acquainted with other travel group members.

We encountered a similar incident in a hotel in Singapore last year. Though I was cautious with the more essential items, I noted a bag of mixed nuts was no longer where I left it. It was gone. Housekeeping, I suspected. I closed an eye, but it shouldn’t have happened.

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Reaching Delphi......we are here!

What I have learnt:

  • Theft can take place in any hotel, regardless of hotel category or rating.
  • If you must leave anything valuable in the room, be sure to lock it up. Use a safe box if there is one in the room.
  • Make an inventory of your travel items and always check the details on them.
  • Check the room for hidden cameras or hidden eye holes .
  • Report any such incident right away so it doesn’t happen to the next tour group. Today, online reviews of hotels and tours aid in reducing such occurrences.
  • Anyone can be a victim.

Stay safe while you travel.

Also in WatchOut! series:



Footnote:
Regardless of whether you are a business traveller or vacationer, a one-time or frequent traveller – if you travel, you are exposed to risks. It’s important to understand that some of us are easier targets than others.

This series is dedicated to Doc, SV, who constantly reminded me to 'Watch Out!. Through Watch Out! Travel Mishaps from Reaching Delphi Travellers Alert series, I will share some of our travel misadventures with you. My aim is to create an awareness of such incidents and some useful suggestions to reduce the occurrence of unpleasant events. 

Follow Coffee Trail – Counting Stars, Reaching Delphi for travel updates and tips.

5 comments:

  1. This is really helpful. Greece is notorious for this sort of thing. Their travel brochures warn of pickpockets. It is good to err on the side of caution when travelling. Would love to hear more Uma. Im sure Narayan is smiling, saying "Ata girl!"

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    1. Medusa, their travel brochures (and almost everywhere else) do alert travelers but we often think we wont be part of that statistic and ignore them.

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    2. Thank you for visiting and glad you found this helpful too.

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  2. Thanks for this article very helpful. thanks. Coffeextraction

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for visiting Rodney. It is important to be aware and to take note that this can happen to anyone.

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