Summer time is when you tend to let our guard down and are not as vigilant as usual. Banks reported up to €30,000 taken in ATM frauds in Ireland each week last summer affecting locals and tourists alike.
Overall in Europe things have improved with Chip and Pin. However, in the US and other countries card fraud is still rising. Robbers go on holidays too and you’re their target.
Keep your PIN in your head, be careful who’s looking over your shoulder. Only use ATMs in busy places. Is that holiday deal really true? Be careful of internet shopping for trips.
The nastiest of shocks anyone can get is discovering that you have paid for accommodation and then discover it was a fraud. I have heard of quite a few cases. A friend’s daughter paid £1,500 for accommodation in London for the summer and it was fraud. The second case I heard of lately.
Another apartment owner in Spain got a call from a family to say they arrived and where was he with the keys!! His website was hijacked.
These are two example of accommodation frauds where the details of genuine apartments to rent were hijacked by scammers who passed them off as their own.
Be careful of anyone who asks you to send money by Western Union or other Money Transfer services. Only book through reputable sites. Read all the information. Bad spelling, poor grammar, fuzzy photos can all be indication of scammers.
Anyone who disrupts your holidays is a scoundrel and I include companies that go bust as the holidays arrive. We have had a number of accommodation companies go bust over the past four or five summers. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it is. There are no major discounts on accommodation for popular holiday destinations. Use reputable companies or travel agents to book accommodation.
I also include car hire companies here too, particularly those that make you pay for a full taken of petrol up front, at inflated prices.
Police in Paris announced this week they are tightening up security for tourists, especially around the Gard du Nord and the Champs Elysees with a new 24-man field patrol.
TOURISTS ARE OFTEN SEEN AS EASY PREY FOR PICKPOCKETS....SOME TIPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT YOURSELF....
· Be Prepared – make photocopies of your key documents – passport, railpass, car rental voucher etc
· Be aware of your surroundings – travel carefully.
· Consider a money belt
· Leave valuables in the hotel room...but don’t leave them out in the open in your room. Better yet leave your main bling at home
· Establish a “don’t lose it” discipline. Make a mental checklist and stick to it. Travellers more likely to lose items than have them stolen.
· Out in public don’t idly set down any small valuable item like a camera or ereader etc. Hold it or keep it tucked away. If you make it a habit it will become second nature.
· Secure your bag. You can’t make it impenetrable but the idea is to make it harder to steal than the next guys’ bag.
· Stay alert in crowds and steer clear of commotions. As they can be a smokescreen for theft....a fight, messy spill, jostle etc – to distract victims.
· Be on particular guard at train and bus stations.
YESTERDAY WAS THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE D-DAY LANDINGS...WITH LOTS OF COVERAGE ON THE TELEVISION....MANY PEOPLE MIGHT BE INSPIRED TO VISIT THESE HISTORICAL SITES....WHAT ARE THE MAIN HIGHLIGHTS FOR A MILITARY BUFF?
It was very moving to see the veterans of the D Day landings gather in France to remember how they helped to bring freedom to our world. The D Day landings are an important part of history and one that people to like to see and remember.
You can visit all these sights by yourself, but a guided tour is an easy way to see a lot in a short space of time. The main companies doing tours from Ireland are GTI-Ireland.com, PAbtours.com JoeWalshTours.ie and The Irish Times have tours with GTI too for readers. All the tour operators cover both world wars....so there can be some cross over if that’s your interest. The effects are everywhere from reconstructed hearts of bombed out cities like Cherbourg, Caen and Le Havre to countless damaged village churches.
MUSEUMS....If you want to do it yourself a good place to start is at the two museums. The Caen Memorial is just off the ring road that circles Caen and documents the build up to war and life in occupied France, the invasion and postwar attempts at peace. The Musee Memorial describes the battle itself with easy to follow graphics. The Peace Tower.....Last Post of the Manning Gate...and
CEMETERIES.....Thousands of visitors go to the cemeteries in the area every year. The Bayeux War Cemetery is the biggest Commonwealth cemetery in France. Ranville War Cemetery with graves of 2235 soldiers killed on D Day and the fighting that followed. Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial overlooking Omaha beach with 9,387 American graves.
BEACHES - Omaha (American landing beach) the bloodiest of them all. Cliffs still riddled with German bunkers and scarred with shell holes. Utah (American landing beach) – there you can go to the Utah Beach Museum in a bunker. Gold Beach (British landing beach) Sword Beach (British landing beach) and Juno Beach (Canadian landing beach where 30% of the landing ships were destroyed or damaged by mines. Juno Beach Centre pays homage to those who lost their lives.
PEGASUS BRIDGE – The scene of the first fighting on D Day. Yesterday spitfires flew over it to mark 70 years since 180 British soldiers parachuted in to secure the easternmost flank of the landing beaches. It contains hundreds of poignant and historic artefacts and the original bridge and it’s also the original bridge with model gliders outside. Crosses the Caen valley between Caen and Ouistreham.
LONGUES –SUR-MER GUN BATTERY – The only battery on the Atlantic wall to retain it’s original guns fired on the Allied forces on D Day. Near French village of Longues-sur-Mer.
BATTERIES DU MONT CANISY - overlooking the sea this is an important site where 2 batteries built by the French were overtaken by the Germans / BATTERIE DE MAISY – where you can explore 2.5 miles of original WWII trenches and shelters. Near Grandcamp Maisy between the beaches of Omaha and Utah.
FOR REAL MILITARY BUFFS....THERE’S ALWAYS WORLD WAR ONE TO EXPLORE...
IRISH PEACE TOWER – Island of Ireland peace park in Messines Belgium. For all Irish casualties in World War One. Opened in 1998 by President McAleese and Queen Elizabeth using stone imported from Ireland to build the 100 foot tall tower.
Guided tours from Ireland with GTI-Ireland.com, Pabtours.com, JoeWalshtours.ie