Hiding luggage in rental van/suv

Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 08:44 AM
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You see, it's easy to for me to ignore the snark attack of janisj. He's a hypocrite, and everyone on this board knows it. Somehow, the ugly, devil emoticon seems appropriate.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 09:51 AM
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any egr Thanks for the heads up on that. I photograph all my stuff before I pack, so if I need to make a claim I know exactly what I have. Started doing that after my SIL had her suitcase lost by the airline, and they were sticklers for replacing exactly what she had lost.
We usually only leave our cases in the trunk if absolutely necessary, like most people. So maybe taking a photo of what's in the trunk before leaving to do sightseeing would be a good idea.

Now, I would be much more concerned about the loss of private information if my Macbook Pro were to be stolen.
NYCEFoodSnob, can you tell us where you park?

Bilbo, yes, the contract states you must have your personal belongings locked in the trunk, and has to be proof of a break in.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 10:49 AM
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"can you tell us where you park?"

I mostly use paid lots. Parking receipts are a business deduction. But if I find a more convenient location on the street, I don't hesitate to grab it. I always use my Duvetyne. Been using it for decades.

Obviously, I really don't care much about the things I leave in my car. They are all replaceable, even if I had to buy a new one in Europe. My MacBook Pro is specifically for travel and for business. There is no personal or "extra" info on it. Each trip begins with empty drives. Every piece of data that I accrue is backed up to an external, which is stored in my lodging. This is the reason why I feel it's OK to be lazy about the expensive things I do leave in my car.

I don't mean to suggest that anyone else should feel as confident as I do. I always survey the situation I'm in and make a decision. When I'm working, I'm never away from my car for more than an hour. If a theft is going to occur, it will be a fateful moment, meant to happen. After almost thirty years of renting in Europe, it hasn't happened yet. I'm grateful, perhaps lucky. Grateful for that, too.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 01:23 PM
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Then I've chosen places where I can back the vehicle up against a wall.

That is what my husband does. We usually leave nothing in the car but had to park in a lot in Cochem for the night and it was a hike to the hotel. I didn't leave my stuff my my husband just took what he needed for the night. We always end up with hatchback VW's in Germany but had the cover so you could not see.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 02:30 PM
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Any size luggage is subject to theft. And as much as I appreciate Janis' advice, that is NO guarantee that the vehicle you end up with is going to actually have anything with which to conceal luggage.

Carry whatever luggage works for YOU and simply PLAN on not putting yourself into any situation in which you have to leave it unattended in a rental car.

And yes, it can be done. Just ask ALL the people on this thread who have done it.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 03:01 PM
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I don't believe there is any such thing as "hiding luggage" in a rental car. France or anywhere else.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 03:10 PM
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Thank you to everyone for your advice.

I'm not really keen on downsizing the luggage to solely carry-ons even though I know how to do it (and actually did it last year on a 2 week trip to the Balkans). The nature of my travel companions, and the nature of this particular trip, makes this less appealing to do this time. Having said that, I will be encouraging everyone to pack light and I will be sending them tips!

Perhaps we can fit 4 hard-sided small-moderate cases in a trunk!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 03:12 PM
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My only speciality is rental cars since I have never owned a car in my life and never will.

One time I had a small hatchback rental and it was only after driving 300kms that I realised that the flexible cover board was missing from the back section. I bought a black acrylic blanket at a hypermarket for about 8 euros and used it to cover any items in the back. At night, it was 100% impossible to see that there was anything in the back of the car. Even during the day, it was at least 90% impossible -- just a vague shape of no interest. Then again, I don't even own a suitcase, just floppy bags.
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 04:05 PM
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>>Perhaps we can fit 4 hard-sided small-moderate cases in a trunk!
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Old Mar 22nd, 2016, 07:19 PM
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Thanks Kerouac for your black blanket suggestion. There will be 4 of us traveling to Gorge du Verdon for rock climbing. We all have medium sized backpacks ( about the equivalent to 22/23" carry on ) but will need to take a bag of climbing equipment ( 36" x 24" x 12" ) There's no way of getting around the 'rock' bag. Luckily we only have one stop ( Monte Carlo for 3 (?) hours ) where we need to park & leave car. Plan on using secured parking, backing in next to wall and now with black blanket we may just be okay.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 12:06 AM
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Geenance, we have driven around France many times in a rental with luggage and not had a problem. I'm not sure why the big push for carry-on, because however lightly you pack you're not likely to schlep all your stuff around with you on your daytrip to whatever quaint village you happen upon that day. The reality is that sometimes you just have to leave everything in the car and take your chances. Knock on wood, but we have never had a problem. Obviously you might want to carry your passport and other valuables you'd be devastated to lose. If you're leaving stuff overnight, you take the valuables and hope for the best on the rest.

Regarding the car, it's great to plan ahead for exactly what you want, but our experience is that you don't always get the car you ask for. And in fact one time upon landing at CDG and heading to Europecar, we found ourselves in line for several hours with many other angry people to discover there were NO CARS and they couldn't tell us when there would be any cars. We ended up paying a whole lot more to rent a van on the spot from another company. (We hadn't intended to rent a van, but that's all they had.) It sounds like you'd be more comfortable in a roomier car. If that's a necessity, I would personally avoid the budget rental companies who are more likely not to give you what you asked for. For what it's worth, any car we've ever rented has had either a trunk or a hatch cover.

Have a great trip!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 07:07 AM
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Isn't anyone but me curious about bilboburgler's anti-kidnapping course?!?!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 10:01 AM
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I think the size comments have to do with getting the luggage down to a size that would fit in the trunk of a sedan.

I took a group of six through southern France in 2011. We had a Renault Espace minivan and on the three days we had to travel with luggage, we had to put bags between the seats on the back row in order to fit everything, and we were going with carryon sized bags and small totes. Even with a van, you'll find that four medium to large suitcases would take up a lot of space.

For what it's worth, the only times we had luggage left in the vehicle for more than a few minutes was when we stopped at Pont du Gard for about 3 hours. The odds of being a crime victim are already pretty low, but I understand wanting to improve your odds if feasible.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 10:25 AM
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We always have a 22 inch bag but our med size cars will not fit more than two or three if it is a hatchback with the cover. Backpacks or purses take up room also. Five females on next trip and they are all good packers but one. We gave up on her. We are doing trains so works better. I thought janisj was a female NYFS all this time.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 12:55 PM
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Pavot- yes, me!

In case there are thieves lurking where I park, I make sure I never open the trunk to tuck things in after parking. I do my tucking and removing items at a different location and then drive and park. Not sure if it helps but I've never had a car break in and they are very common where I live.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 01:28 PM
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It probably helps because the one and only car break in I ever had was on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles in the middle of the afternoon. I thought it was a pretty safe time and place, so since it was an exceptionally warm November day (Thanksgiving weekend), I took off my leather jacket and put it in the trunk. My passport and plane ticket were in the inside pocket. Later I drove to another place and discovered that the trunk lock had been punched and all contents removed (baggage, purchases, leather jacket...). It was not a happy moment.

I flew back to Paris the same evening after buying a new ticket. (Luckily a French national identity card is completely sufficient to enter France.)
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