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Most of us are excited when we are going away on holiday. But this can cause us to block out what is happening around us, often right under our noses!

My cousin and her husband decided to book a last-minute deal. They weren’t too bothered about where they went.

Ann found a real bargain, but they had to leave that night.

She booked it, packed, and cancelled the papers.

That night, soon after they left, their burglar alarm went off and two young lads were caught, running down the road.

Go on, guess who they were, Dear Readers.

It was their paper boy and his friend.

Ann had dashed into the newsagent’s along the road. You can imagine the conversation, can’t you?

I need to cancel the papers for a week. We’re going on holiday.

Ohh, anywhere nice?

Yes, and it was a real bargain……Must dash. I’ve still got loads to do!

She was so excited that she didn’t even notice the teenage paper boy, listening carefully in the background!

This next one is true. It’s not an Urban Myth.

When we lived in Spain, someone we knew had his Mother coming to stay for a couple of months.

She booked a taxi, and of course, was chatting about her visit to Spain to stay with her son.

When she got to the airport, she realised that she’d left her passport on the kitchen table. So she managed to catch a taxi to rush her home again. And there was Taxi Driver No 1 carrying her TV out of her house!

Daughter Rana and I travelled back to England from Spain by coach.

When we travelled back again, Hubby John picked us up at the coach stop, several miles away.

Of course, we were all chatting. But when we got home, I noticed a young guy on a moped stop behind us, with his engine revving.

I realised what he was up to, and yelled at him. He drove off quickly.

It’s an old trick that still goes on regularly.

When people arrive in a warm country, and get dropped off at their villa/apartment, they always shower, change, then go out to explore the area, and often find a nearby bar or restaurant, where they’ll probably stay for at least an hour.

So back comes Moped Man and his friends to break in and steal everything of value within minutes.

We stayed in a hotel which was popular for weddings.

While all the celebrations were going on, a Russian gang would break in all the rooms and they wouldn’t break into the safe; they’d take out the whole safe!

They obviously had inside information about who were wedding guests, guaranteed to be out for hours.

One poor lady on holiday had her handbag stolen, right off her baby’s pushchair.

She lost her passport and all her money.

These thieves have no conscience at all!

It’s important to slow down and think.

I actually told a lady off in our bank.megaphone

She had a very loud voice, and when I went to pick up some holiday money, she bellowed, Oh, are you going anywhere nice? When are you going?

I’m afraid that I shushed her, and said, We’re not going for ages yet. And I don’t want everyone to know when we go!

Two of our neighbours know when we go away. One has a key and picks up our mail so that there’s not a pile on the floor if someone looks through the letterbox. And next door knows in case they hear any noises. They’re both sworn to secrecy.

We even smuggle the cases out and into the car when nobody’s walking past!

If you’re discussing your holiday with neighbours, make sure you notice if anyone’s walking past.

A timer on a light is a good idea, so it comes on for a few hours every night.

If you travel to the airport in a taxi, pretend that someone’s house-sitting while you’re away.

Staying in an apartment or a villa? Look around and make sure that nobody’s followed your coach when you arrive. And check when you go out too. Better safe than sorry!

Any burglar won’t stay for long. He’ll grab what he can find in a couple of minutes and leave.

Is the safe safe?! Or can you find a more obscure hiding-place?

I’m not telling you ours. You’ll have to look around and find your own!

When you’re out, eg at a market, don’t drift off into Lala Land. Stay alert.

Bum bags are pretty safe, but it’s better to have it hidden under your shirt. And keep a hand firmly on top of it when you’re browsing.

Leave the jewellery and the designer handbag at home. I’ve got a lovely Dior bag, and several times it’s been commented on.

thief-running-with-bagIn Paris, a man brazenly picked it up and walked off with it under his arm. I caught him and I didn’t realise that I knew so many rude French words!

And if you’re going to a poorer county, you might want to leave a lot of your clothes, etc behind or give them away.

I’m a seasoned Traveller, and I think I know most of the simple, dirty tricks.

My advice? Enjoy your holiday. But STAY ALERT ALL THE TIME, even before you leave home!

It’s better to avoid problems than wasting ages trying to sort it out afterwards – especially if you can’t speak the language!