We check the ground also for broken glass and condoms - signs of nocturnal activities that will disturb our sleep and not in a good way. Also for signs of cars tyres having done handbreak turns. In 20 months full timing, we've moved on 4 times - only two were security concerns, the others were gnats scooters. There are plenty we did not stop at as we did not like the look - have a plan B.
We always park nose out, drivers seat facing forward, keys handy, gadgets away etc.
The best places are the wild or rural ones though. Tend to use campsites for large / popular cities.
Just goes to show how times have changed, 40/35 years ago used to drive artics all over Europe and parked up in laybys never never never had any problems, although in Italy just before Christmas used to get an escort to the Mont Blonk tunnel if you had electronics on, sometimes you would get a load of left-hand shoes and someone else the right-hand shoes.
I have never felt unsafe on an official French aire although I wouldn't overnight on a French motorway aire.Having said that I have overnighted several times on motorway services during the drive down to Portugal and Spain.I parked amongst the truckers and felt safe,just make sure you don't get next to a refrigerated lorry humming all night.
When we got down to the campsite on the Algarve we were talking to a Scottish couple with an Autotrail who had been broken in to when parked overnight at a motorway services in Spain.They had parked up away from all the overnighting lorries in a quiet and remote corner of the service station which was probably all the encouragement the thieves needed.They only lost a small amount of cash in a handbag,the biggest inconvenience was getting the cab door lock replaced.
I've only ever felt uneasy on one french aire and that was at Chateaudun.
i couldn't put my finger on why though, it was tidy, clean, quiet and nothing negative hanging about. we even went for a walk with the dogs to see around the area and still went back to the motorhome and said I don't want to stop here...no reason to go, I just trust my gut instinct.
on a previous trip to france, coming back we stayed at Gravelines and were talking to a couple who had had their motorhome robbed whilst in a supermarket (think it was spain), they didn't want to give up, so carried on with their holiday, taking a ferry to italy I think. and whilst in a supermarket there for a few minutes, they came out to find men trying to get in their motorhome. They were at Gravelines whilst trying to move their tunnel return forward.
Thanks for all the comments, everyone. Sadly on our way home now.... time to plan the next trip.
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