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The bottom line is to keep your eyes open, be aware of your surroundings, and don't get into a state of negative anticipation . Paranoia can ruin a trip just as easily as stolen luggage.
As a general rule, when you arrive or depart from a hotel,don't linger or wander unnecessarily in the parking lot, indoor garage or public space around the hotel; be alert for suspicious persons and behavior; and, watch for distractions that are intentionally staged to set up a pickpocket, luggage theft or purse snatch. Here are some tips to consider:
Stay with your luggage until it is brought into the lobby, or placed into the taxi or limo.
Consider using the bellman. Luggage in the "care, custody and control" of the hotel causes the hotel to be liable for your property. Protect claim checks: they are your evidence!
Keep in mind though that there are limits of liability created by states and countries to protect hoteliers. Personal travel documents, lap tops, jewelry, and other valuables and sensitive documents in excess of $1,000 in value should be hand carried and personally protected.
If you arrive by auto, park as close to the hotel access point as possible, and park in a lighted area. Remove all property from the car interior and place it in the trunk. Avoid leaving valuables or personal documents in the glove compartment. Prior to leaving the security of the vehicle, note any suspicious persons or behavior.
If using valet service, leave only the ignition key, and take trunk, house, or office keys with you. Often, valets are not employees of the hotel and work for contract firms.
Parking garages are difficult to secure. Avoid dimly lit garages that are not patrolled and do not have security telephones or intercoms.
Female travelers should consider asking for an escort to their vehicles whether parked in the lot or garage.
Excerpted from:U. S. Department of State, Overseas Security Advisory Council. U. S. State Department Publication 10214. November, 1994. pgs. 9-10. Note: As of July, 1997 this was the latest non-internet-published U.S. State Department document pertaining to this topic.
Your Armchair Advisor says "don't leave your common sense at home."
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