Whether it's a winter sun escape or a city break weekend, female holidaymakers are carrying around a staggering £27 billion worth of essentials in their holiday handbags.
According to new research from Sheilas' Wheels travel insurance, the average female estimates the value of her day-to-day holiday bag - containing all the basics such as a camera, iPod and sunglasses - at a whopping £1,100.
Three per cent of women surveyed admit that they carry over £500 in cash or travellers cheques with them when on holiday. One in six (15 per cent) take more than three credit cards away with them and one in twelve (8 per cent) carry around credit cards with an available amount to spend totalling £10,000.
Also included in the average holiday handbag is a full make up kit - which contains items such as lip balm, mascara, concealer, face powder, hairbrush and perfume - totting up to over £100.
In fact, over two fifths (43 per cent) of woman polled admit that their holiday handbag is more valuable than their regular handbag, with three quarters (72 per cent) saying this is because they try to pack for every eventuality.
Four per cent of women polled claim that their holiday handbag alone - without its contents - is worth a staggering £500 and a whopping six per cent even estimate their bag and contents to be worth over £5,000!
But having a valuable handbag bulked up with desirable gadgets and holiday currency comes with an increased risk of theft. According to the survey, nearly two million holidaymakers have been unlucky enough to have their handbag
stolen whilst abroad. Of those, 15 per cent were dining in a restaurant or café, 14 per cent were on the beach and 12 per cent were actually in their own hotel. A shocking three per cent have even been robbed more than five times.
For nearly one in six (17 per cent) Brits abroad, the worst part of losing their holiday handbag was worrying about the possibility of another theft from their home or their hotel due to contact information contained in the bag and one in six (15 per cent) said they were scared that someone would steal their identity.
But the poll shows that despite warnings, nearly half (48 per cent) of women would happily leave their holiday handbag by the pool whilst they went swimming and a quarter (25 per cent) would even feel happy leaving their bag at the dinner table whilst paying a visit to the bar or toilet. This is surprising, especially when one in three (33 per cent) women say they feel more confident carrying all of their valuable possessions with them when on holiday, rather than leaving them in a safety deposit box.
Jacky Brown at Sheilas' Wheels travel insurance, comments: "The size of a woman's handbag seems to be on the up and the holiday handbag appears to be following the same trend. Women are known for wanting to be prepared for every eventuality - often filling their bags with everything but the kitchen sink - but this will up not only its price tag, but also its desirability amongst opportunitistic thieves.
For peace of mind, it's vital for holidaymakers to make sure they've got travel insurance and double check what they are covered for. If you have your handbag snatched from you when on holiday - either on UK or foreign soil - a benefit of Sheilas' Wheels travel insurance is that you won't be charged an excess. The key thing for women to remember is to look after their bag and never leave it unattended."
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Sheilas' Wheels press contacts:
Emma Lloyd, Assistant Communications Officer: 01737 641309
Asia Yasir, Public Relations Officer: 01737 641305
Niki Bolton, Corporate Communications Manager: 01737 235070
Adrian Webb, Head of Corporate Communications: 01737 641000
Notes to Editors:
Sheilas' Wheels travel insurance is arranged and administered by FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited on behalf of the insurer, Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC.
About Sheilas' Wheels:
Sheilas' Wheels was launched in October 2005 to offer women drivers cheaper car insurance and product enhancements including £300 handbag cover - for bags stolen from the car (comprehensive cover only), competitive breakdown recovery rates, a dedicated counselling line run by trained professionals to help customers cope with driving issues such as road rage (comprehensive cover only) and a network of female-friendly repairers. In February 2008, the brand moved beyond car insurance to offer home insurance and in January 2010, it moved to also offer travel insurance.