There’s a lot to think about when planning a holiday, from flights and car hire to local currency and how much sun lotion you’ll need. But learning how to keep valuables safe on holiday should be a priority.
Sadly, some trips don’t quite go to plan, particularly when something unpleasant happens to your possessions. Knowing how to prevent this is critical if you travel with expensive jewellery or watches.
Here are our tips for keeping your valuables safe on holiday, alongside our advice for checking whether your insurance is up to the job, so you can relax and enjoy yourself as soon as you arrive.
How to keep valuables safe on holiday
1. Be vigilant when travelling
Keeping your valuables safe while travelling is as important as looking after them during your holiday.
Airports can be chaotic, so it’s easy to briefly lose sight of your belongings as they go through the X-ray machine.
This is especially true if you have any complications before retrieving your hand luggage, such as setting off a metal detector or being randomly selected for a security check.
Unfortunately, opportunists have been known to take advantage of the havoc in airport security, with many reports of thieves stealing valuables from trays in recent years.
It’s a good idea to avoid packing valuable items in a way that makes them easy to spot and steal.
Always hide high-value items in a separate pouch or pocket that would be risky for a thief to access without gaining attention.
You may also want to invest in a jewellery roll to properly store your items to prevent damage or loss—theft isn’t the only threat when travelling with precious cargo.
2. Never store valuables in checked baggage
We don’t blame you for considering this option based on what we discussed above, but it’s not an effective way of protecting your valuables while travelling. It increases the risk of theft, loss, or damage.
According to Luggage Hero, over 680k bags were mishandled by the top 10 US airlines in the first quarter of 2022 alone. Just imagine how much this number grows throughout an entire year.
You should store items safely in your hand luggage only if you want to keep your valuables safe on holiday. It’s less risky to have them away from you for a few minutes rather than hours at a time without guaranteeing your bag will show up at the other end.
3. Be selective about which valuables you take
Before you take your valuables abroad, ask yourself—should I travel with them, or would it be better for me to leave them at home?
At the very least, you should protect your valuables on holiday by being selective about the items you take.
Leaving your most sentimental items at home locked in a secure safe could be a good idea, as this limits the impact of being targeted by a thief or accidentally losing or damaging your property.
Consider curating a small set of jewellery suitable for evening meals or more formal atmospheres instead of taking your favourite or most expensive pieces with you.
The best way to keep your valuables safe on holiday is to leave them behind in a secure home safe.
4. Avoid wearing valuables at the beach or during excursions
Alongside being selective about which items you take, you should also limit how often you wear valuables on holiday.
Expensive or sentimental items are best left in the safe during the day, for example, even if you’re relaxing by the pool or on the beach.
Most insurance policies won’t cover stolen belongings left unattended, so keep this in mind if you choose to take any watches or jewellery out with you.
Excursions or busy day trips are risky, especially if you’ll be spending time in areas known to be frequented by tourists—this makes you an easy target for thieves.
It’s also easier to drop your belongings or leave a bag behind when you’re distracted, so consider saving your valuables for the evening when fewer people are around, and you’re more aware of your surroundings.
You should always wear them discreetly and avoid walking down overly quiet or dimly lit streets.
5. Always use a safe
Storing valuables in a secure safe is the best way to protect them from theft. Most hotels have a safe installed in each room or will provide one upon request at an extra charge, in which case it’s worth paying extra.
Never leave them on show, even if you’re present in your hotel room overnight or having an afternoon nap. Put them away properly in the same place within the safe when you’re done wearing them for the day.
Aside from keeping valuables safe from theft on holiday, storing them in a safe can also ensure they stay in top condition—damage is much less likely if items are stored out of the way.
You might want to invest in a travel jewellery box to prevent loss or damage when they’re stored in the safe alongside other belongings.
6. Consider specialist valuables insurance
It’s unlikely that your home insurance policy will protect your valuables while travelling unless you leave them at home.
On the other hand, most specialist valuables insurance policies guarantee protection for your valuables both at and away from home.
At Ripe, we arrange specialist insurance that offers worldwide cover with no geographic restrictions, so you have complete peace of mind when enjoying a well-earned holiday abroad.
Does insurance cover your valuables on holiday?
Different forms of insurance can have very different rules when it comes to paying out for valuables abroad.
Some travel insurance will cover you for loss and theft. But what is covered, and for how much when you try to make a claim, is all down to the small print.
The devil, as they say, is in the detail. When claiming for valuables abroad, you can find yourself in a frustrating situation when you thought you were covered.
Here are some things to look out for on your policy so you can properly protect your valuables while travelling.
Watch out for single-item caps
Some insurers apply surprisingly low caps on what they’re prepared to pay out for when it comes to valuables abroad.
If your insurance has decided to limit the value of watch claims to £200 or £300, then you’re going to be left frustrated if your watch costs ten times that amount.
To make things worse, there can easily be an excess in the region of £50 to make the amount you get back even lower.
It’s easy to check these figures before you go, but impossible to argue them after your items have been damaged, lost or stolen.
Exceptions to the rules
There are also a few specific exceptions that can come into effect when you try to claim, including details about your circumstances which give insurers an excuse not to pay out.
The most likely and ambiguous of these is alcohol. If you have been drinking when you lose, damage, or have your valuables stolen abroad, then insurers may say it is your fault. You don’t have to be drunk. Just a few drinks can be enough to nullify your claim.
Some insurers also limit the timescale in which you need to report issues with valuables abroad, either to them or the local police.
You manage your time differently when you’re on holiday. You don’t always notice something is missing, and acting isn’t easy to fit around other plans.
If you leave the stress of speaking to the police until late the following day but then discover that you should have notified them within 24 hours, you could be out of luck when it comes to your claim.
It may also make a difference where you are in the world. If you’re planning a world tour, the chances are your policy won’t cover you for some of the places you’re going.
The only way to know where is or isn’t included in your cover is to look before you go or get cover that protects you worldwide, like Ripe Valuables.
No more ‘no claims’
Even if you do manage to get a successful claim when dealing with valuables abroad, you will almost certainly find there’s a sting in the tail.
If you had a ‘no claims’ bonus on your home insurance, you’d be waving that goodbye and seeing a bump in your premium. Which, on top of the agony of losing your valuables and spoiling your holiday, will probably leave you with a sour taste in your mouth.
Taking your valuables abroad is understandable, as the whole point of owning them is to be able to use them on special occasions. But doing so without cover could be risky.
At Ripe, we think you should be able to relax on holiday, whatever happens—we arrange specialist valuables insurance that offers worldwide cover with no geographic restrictions, 365 days a year.
If you want to find cover to protect your valuables abroad that doesn’t require you to pore over the small print before you book your flights, get an instant online quote today.