A mum of two has been left with no option but to raise money through a Go Fund Me page after the family’s passports and mobile phones were stolen leaving them stranded in Madeira. Hayley Frame was travelling to the Portuguese Island with her two sons, aged eight and nine, and have raised just over £900.

After checking into their accommodation, a four-star hotel in the city of Funchal, the family of three went down to the pool leaving their bags in their hotel room. Upon returning one of Hayley’s children stated he couldn’t find his phone. The family unpacked and noticed the mobile phones, chargers and their passports were missing.

Hayley spoke with the hotel, Jet2 and local police but was told ‘things like this do not happen in Madeira’.  She was also told, she was unable to move hotel rooms and would not be able to move hotels for three days and if she did move, would need to pay a fee. The mum of two then spoke to her travel insurance company and found that whilst the cost of the emergency documents would be covered, the additional accommodation and new flights she needed to book, as she awaited her emergency travel documents, would not be covered. A friend set up a Go Fund Me page to help with expenses which is now close to the £1000 target.

Whilst what happened to Hayley and her family is not the holiday experience they were hoping for, it is not uncommon. Theft of belongings left in accommodation occur on a daily basis, and although you cannot predict it happening there are some measures you can take to keep your belonging safe.

Make use of the safe. Most accommodation providers will offer a safe in the room where you can keep important belongings. Be sure to change the code to something only you will know and remember and double check it is locked before leaving the room. It is important to note, most travel insurance companies will only cover claims for stolen valuables or travel documents if they were kept in a safe or locked place.

Check the accommodation reviews. Before booking your holiday, check the reviews from other customers that have stayed in that particular accommodation and also around the local area. You will be able to get a feel of what the area is like and if anyone has had any unfortunate experiences. You can also find the crime rates for areas on Google.

Know how to contact the local authorities. In the event that your possessions are stolen, you will need to report this to the hotel, your tour operator (if you have booked a package holiday) and the local police. Language barriers may be an issue, but google translate or an English-speaking staff member will be able to assist you. If you are submitting a claim for stolen possessions to your travel insurance provider, you will need to provide a crime report or crime number so be sure to report the incident as soon as possible.

Do not keep all of your cash in one place. It is a good idea to split your cash and not keep it all in one place. If you are travelling with someone, you could ask them to keep hold of a portion, you keep the other and then the rest in the safe. This way if a break in was to occur or you lose your cash whilst out and about you will still have access to some cash.. It may also be worth looking into taking a bank card with you for emergencies – just check the exchange rates and charges before using it abroad and let your bank know you are planning to travel so they don’t freeze your card due to suspicious activity.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch at hello@travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk and a member of the team will gladly help.