Thieves are happy to target the rental cars of tourists. Why? Because they know you are carrying some stuff: perhaps a little jewelry, certainly a camera (or two), a few electronics, that kind of thing. Those items are easy to sell. Even worthless, but irreplaceable items like a thumb drive with your pictures or a journal with your thoughts, are stolen if they are left in a bag in the vehicle.
Therefore, we recommend the following steps to making your rental car look like a local:
- Leave no tourist papers lying around – put your airline tickets in your purse or suitcase, keep the car rental documents with you too. Any piece of paper that looks like you are passing through gets carried with you or tossed immediately.
- Put a local newspaper in the car and take care to place it under the rear window so thieves will see it before they try to smash the window.
- Put your suitcases immediately into the trunk and don’t open the trunk until you arrive at your lodging so a potential thief doesn’t happen to see what you’re hiding.
- Leave your glove compartment open and empty so the thief can see it’s useless to break into the car. Same for leaving the cover off your trunk or lying down the seats so they can see there’s nothing available to steal.
- Last, but not least, don’t leave your camera and other electronics lying around. If you cannot take them with, they are safer in the hotel room in the safe.
Remember to ask your lodging staff where the safest parking is to be found. Once you get there, take a minute to look around – is the asphalt is glittering with lots of small glass bits, it may not be the safest parking space despite the information you’ve been given.
If a thief does manage to smash the window of your rental car, be sure that you have car rental collision coverage – either with your own automobile insurance, through your credit card coverage, or with travel insurance. See our review of car rental collision coverage to be sure. If a thief does manage to make off with your baggage, you’ll want to have some protection for that as well. See our review of baggage coverage to decide.