My friend Carole broke into tears when she told me that her diamond engagement ring and wedding band set were stolen during her trip to Europe. She had taken them off because she and her husband were spending the afternoon at the pool. She had carefully locked them away in the in-room hotel safe. But when she reopened the safe that evening, it was empty, and her heart sank. My heart still sinks just thinking about it! Needless to say her loss was terribly upsetting, and ruined what should have been a wonderful vacation.
At the time I didn’t ask her the question that I’m sure she has since asked herself a thousand times – Why did you even bring your precious engagement ring and wedding band with you on the trip?
But surprisingly, many women and men wear their highly sentimental, and often highly valuable, wedding ring when traveling. And sadly, many look back on this decision with regret. A search on the phrase “lost wedding ring” on TripAdvisor returns pages and pages of distressing stories of people who have lost their treasured rings while traveling.
“I left my ring on the bathroom counter in our hotel room and forgot to put it back on before we checked out.”
“My husband lost his wedding band while taking a quick dip in the ocean.”
“My (hotel) safe was empty and my wedding ring, diamond earrings, two gold necklaces, laptop, and cash were missing.”
“I noticed my ring was missing the center diamond when we had finished skiing and were relaxing in the lodge.”
5 Reasons to Leave Your Wedding Ring At Home
These stories should be enough to convince you to leave your real ring(s) hidden safely at home or in a safe deposit box when heading out on your next journey. But in case you’re still on the fence, here’s a list of the 5 most compelling reasons.
It’s easier than you might think to lose your engagement or wedding ring while vacationing. After all, travel involves different surroundings, a change in routines, and new activities.
Changes to daily routines can make you forget or lose items. At home, you might have a habit of taking your ring off at the bathroom sink each night, or leaving it in a specific place on your dresser. But when you’re in a new environment such as a hotel room, it’s easy for that routine to get thrown off. As a result, you may forget where you left your ring, or simply forget to put it back on. I read the story of one woman who was at the beach in the Caribbean, and removed her ring for a moment to put on sun lotion. Seconds later, her husband brought her a Piña Colada, and the ring was forgotten and lost forever.
Speaking of the beach, we forget that when we’re in the water, our fingers become slippery and may contract. The ring that has remained securely on our finger at home can easily slide off in these conditions.
Beware of recreational activities that require wearing gloves – think cycling, skiing, rock climbing, and cold weather hiking and camping. Gloves can sometimes pull your ring off your finger without you even realizing it. If you’re lucky, you may discover the ring later lodged in your glove. But that’s a big “if”.
2. Room Burglary
If you do need to leave valuables in your hotel room, you don’t want to leave them out in plain site, or even sitting exposed in a closed drawer. A simple “do not disturb” sign on your door won’t deter a potential thief. You’ll want to lock your valuables in your luggage, or better yet, lock them into the hotel room safe.
Unfortunately, the assumption that hotel room safes are totally secure is a false one, as we saw in my friend Carole’s story. Travel+Leisure reports that room theft and safe cracking is not as uncommon as you may think. In most places, the hotel’s liability is limited, and you lose out. It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re staying in the safest city in the world or in the highest priced hotel.
Hotelchatter.com is one of several blogs that share tons of heartrending stories. Like the guest staying at a 5-star hotel in Paris who returned from a day of sightseeing to find her safe emptied of her jewelry and cash. Or the honeymooning couple saying at a romantic beach side bungalow in Hawaii who’s entire safe went missing. Or the creative thief who, wearing a pair of hotel slippers, tricked the front desk at a prestigious Hong Kong hotel into believing he was a guest who had lost his room key. After they gave him a new key he later called from the room to say he forgot the combination to his safe, and they opened it for him!
Unlike room theft, robbery refers to having something stolen from you while it is in your possession. These robberies or muggings can happen anywhere at anytime. And tourists are often the easiest target.
Travel experts agree that it’s best to dress in a way that does not draw attention. You want to blend in with your surroundings, not stand out. This is an important safety precaution not just for your jewelry, money, and other belongings, but for your personal safety. Sporting a dazzling diamond engagement ring is a good way to get noticed… by the wrong person.
There are so many ways that a wedding ring can get damaged when you are traveling. Here are just a few of them:
- Some activities that involve the heavy use of your hands, such as rowing, climbing, gym workouts, and some sports, can cause a gemstone to be chipped or knocked out of its setting. It can also result in scratches to the finish of the metal setting.
- Salt water can erode the mounts of gold and silver settings.
- Chlorine can degrade and slowly disintegrate gold. It can also slowly erode the finish off of non-diamond gemstones and cause discoloration. So don’t wear it in the pool or hot tub.
- Sun lotions can dull the finish and even cause it to erode over time.
Many of those same activities that can cause damage to your ring can also cause injury to your finger or hand. Scratches, bruises, and painful dislocations can result.
Choosing a Fake Wedding Ring for Travel
So it’s clearly best to leave your engagement ring or cherished wedding band at home. So what do you wear instead? Well, many people are fine with having nothing on their finger while traveling. They find it easier to not have the added worry or hassle.
But like me, many prefer to always wear some sort of ring on their traditional ring finger. If that’s you too, then consider getting a fake wedding ring just for this purpose. You might select a simple gold wedding band in gold or a silver colored on, or a ring adorned with small gems. You can go for a cheap wedding ring replacement or opt to spend a bit more. You may even want to get matching his and hers wedding bands just for travel. Or, you can do what I like to do, and wait till you get to your destination and use it as a fun excuse to shop for your new faux wedding ring.
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