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Leave valuables at home when you travel

Repeat: Leave valuables at home when you travel. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I didn’t heed my own advice and suffered the consequences.

As a frequent traveler, I’m smart enough not to leave jewelry or money lying around a hotel room. But on my San Francisco vacation, I naively hid my brand-new, unopened iPod deep inside a duffle bag, only to discover it missing on the final day of my stay. Before catching my flight home, I filed a report with the hotel (which shall remain nameless) and the police. Eventually, my claim was escalated to the hotel’s insurance company, which promptly denied it due to lack of evidence. I was out of luck—and an iPod.

Even if you are 100 percent positive that something was stolen, you’ll have little recourse in receiving any compensation. Most hotel policies state that the property is not responsible for lost or stolen items. Any amount of pleading, be it with the front desk, management, or insurance company, will generally not be enough for the hotel to fork over cash to replace stolen items. After all, it’s essentially your word against the hotel’s, and without proof, you could be making up the story.

So again I stress: Do not leave money, jewelry, or electronics in a hotel room, even if you think they’re well hidden. If you must, use the in-room safe or ask to store your valuables in the hotel’s safe.

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