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Security of Luggage with transport companies

Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
I have seen on U-tube that you must be wary of the luggage/pack transport companies moving your luggage around. They reported thefts from the luggage and packs and warn people not to keep valuables in them like money passports, and electronics, (Which makes sense to a degree). They also mention if you lock your luggage that this is a red flag and you have a better chance of your luggage being broken into.


Is this a real issue? I would like to hear if you Camino Veterans have heard of or experienced such thefts

Thanks for any advise
 
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I can say that bags are often unattended when transported. Always take your valuables, money, electronics, documents with you. Only transport things you could replace. Sometimes things do get broken during transport as well as bags are not handled gently. My first pilgrim shell was toast after the one and only day I had my bag transported. There was a thread earlier today about someone getting things stolen from his bag on a flight to the Camino. Don't put a lock on your bag as that might indicate something of value. Just send ahead things like clothes or toiletries to be safe.

Also be aware that not all albergues will take a pilgrim who is shipping a bag and some albergues will not accept shipped bags. There has been a thread on this recently. I have volunteered at albergues where we don't accept shipped packs and at least one albergue where pilgrims must be walking and carrying their own packs to be allowed overnight admission.
 
There is a difference between packs and suitcases (luggage).
Both are left unattended after delivery, in most cases. They are often left in bars in open areas with no security. Many albergues simply leave them in the open area inside...or often just outside in front.
There is seldom any type of security. I am surprised that we do not hear much more about loss of stuff...or even the bags themselves. I have known of many, many cases of theft from transported bags.
You take your chances.
 
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I have seen on U-tube that you must be wary of the luggage/pack transport companies moving your luggage around. They reported thefts from the luggage and packs and warn people not to keep valuables in them like money passports, and electronics, (Which makes sense to a degree). They also mention if you lock your luggage that this is a red flag and you have a better chance of your luggage being broken into.


Is this a real issue? I would like to hear if you Camino Veterans have heard of or experienced such thefts

Thanks for any advise

Forgive me for being unusually forthright, but anyone leaving a passport, cash or expensive electronics in a bag not on their person really shouldn’t be allowed out .

I’ve seen very few reports of theft or loss from transported baggage on here - in fact I can’t remember the last one.

As was explained recently the transporters have no contractual relationship with the premises at either end; who get paid nothing for their trouble.
 
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I suspect that the OP is hoping that the system is secure enough to take care of a laptop or tablet. My response is NO! You will see the luggage trucks along the way being loaded and unloaded. I personally have had multiple opportunities to reach into an open van door and help myself. It's not an armored car service. There is one guy with a van going from town to town along a 30 km stretch, making predictable stops along the way, sometimes in remote areas, and sometimes in urban areas. I'm surprised that so few bags go missing, likely because the crooks have learned that dirty underwear and used rain pants have little resale value.
 
I totally agree with Henrythedog, it is amazing that someone would not keep their passport or cash on their person 24/7 but I accept it does happen. Backpacks dropped off by courier services hours before an albergue has opened happens quite often, it makes easy prey for whoever passes by. The more valuable you make your stuff appear, the more likely is it to disappear, i.e. I personally would not carry a Louis Vuitton backpack.
My only personal experience with someone being robbed was a pilgrim I met once who "had" one of those passport cases that one carries around the neck. He was staying in the public in Cizur Menor and sleeping with the bag around his neck. He woke up in the morning and it was no longer with him. He remembered some fishy character checking into the albergue late at night with a rather small backpack, but mentioned that his radar was not working.
Two lessons here:
1.) Keep your valuable with/on you 24/7 in a pocket or at the bottom of your sleep sack at night; and 2.) Your personal radar about about certain predators around you is probably your best defense. The Camino is probably the safest place on earth but you never know....
 
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I used 4 different transport companies throughout my Camino (2 on Frances and 2 onto Finisterre)
I never had any issues with my bag being misplaced or not arriving.
I never locked it, just put a tie-string through the hoops for it not to accidentally open while in transit
I did the same when I checked it in (at that moment it had my backpack & poles in it) - following someone's advice that having it locked may "send the wrong message"

As we all know bad things can happen anywhere to anyone. I had my luggage pilfer through, locks broken and suitcases lost many times when I was not a Pilgrim. I NEVER would put stuff like important documents (inc passport, any medical insurance and in case of Camino - credenciales), money, credit cards, photo\video equipment, phones, laptops etc into any piece of luggage that will be out of my sight for nary a second. No matter where I am.

As long as you do everything 'safe' in that regard I see no issues. Can something happen? yes! But if so - you lost what? couple of T-shirs, pair of pants, some socks and toiletries? Sucks but its all easily replaced if not in the town\city you're in then surely in the next one

Dont fret, enjoy the Camino! Good luck
 
I suspect that the OP is hoping that the system is secure enough to take care of a laptop or tablet. My response is NO! You will see the luggage trucks along the way being loaded and unloaded. I personally have had multiple opportunities to reach into an open van door and help myself. It's not an armored car service. There is one guy with a van going from town to town along a 30 km stretch, making predictable stops along the way, sometimes in remote areas, and sometimes in urban areas. I'm surprised that so few bags go missing, likely because the crooks have learned that dirty underwear and used rain pants have little resale value.
Claro, could not be said any better than that.
 
As said above packs can be dropped off at albergues or bars with nobody to take them inside. Delivery companies and lodgings are separate businesses and the lodgings are not responsible for your luggage.

At times the packs get dropped off at the wrong place and you have to figure out where that is. Putting one (or two) Air Tags in the pack may be the thing that gets your pack back. Here's a thread on Air Tags (in case you use an iPhone).

 
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My experience with luggage transfers started in 2010 with Jacotrans and Camino Facil. More recently weve also used Taxi Camino on the Primitivo and TaxiCaminoIngles. In italy weve used Viterbo Francigena since 2016. In the past 13 years we've sent hundreds of items ahead and have never had one lost, broken into or stolen.
 
Well, we have only done 4 Caminos. Always used Correos. Never once lost anything. Not to say it never happens. But never heard of it. Have heard of people losing stuff in Albergues though. I guess be sensible. Don’t put really valuable stuff in your luggage. I wouldn’t do that on a plane either.
 
I have seen on U-tube that you must be wary of the luggage/pack transport companies moving your luggage around. They reported thefts from the luggage and packs and warn people not to keep valuables in them like money passports, and electronics, (Which makes sense to a degree). They also mention if you lock your luggage that this is a red flag and you have a better chance of your luggage being broken into.


Is this a real issue? I would like to hear if you Camino Veterans have heard of or experienced such thefts

Thanks for any advise
I used Jacotrans and had no problems. Of course I kept my passport, etc with me.
 
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Just as a balance to the reports of no problems....On two separate CF Caminos I saw packs go missing.
One time two pilgrims had packs stolen after they were delivered to albergue in Rabanal. JacoTrans have left a number of packs in front of the albergue. The hospitalero said they did not have room for them inside.
The other time an American pilgrim had her pack go missing after it was left in a bar along with others.
I don't remember the transport company but they had a good record of the delivery. They were just left somewhere in the bar with no security. Owners were told to just come and take their bag. Obviously...someone else got there first. I actually have heard other stories...
So, it does happen.
 
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There are some issues. I also know of pilgrims who spent anxious time tracking down their bags. One set of pilgrims had to taxi all the way back to the previous albergue because for some reason their bags had not been picked up. A couple of others went anxiously from to bars and albergues trying to track down their bags. Hopefully the system has improved and this is less of an issue.

I still prefer to carry my own. We are approaching a time when when we are questioning whether my husband can carry his bag. It is a hard decision to make for us. He had to transport his bag a few days last summer on our Camino travels. It increases the cost of the Camino, decreases flexibility, and has some very real emotional costs such as realization that time is taking a physical toll on personal independence and fitness. We'll see how it goes this summer and if we have to resort to bag transfer for him some or most days. You never know how many Caminos you may have left, I suppose, so we must live each one like it could be the last.
 
The major risk with using transport companies is that luggage is often left unattended before pickup/after drop off. They are often dropped off in a lobby before you leave for the day and you don't know who will go near your bag before the transport company picks it up. Likewise, when the transport company drops of your bag at it's destination - it might be placed in the lobby or a hall or a secure area - you just never know. A good rule of thumb ALWAYS is to never leave valuables in your backpack. Keep those on your person at all times. And then if your bag gets stolen or something in your bag gets stolen - it should be easy enough to replace.

I prefer to keep my bag with me, but there may be times when you are injured or exhausted when you feel the need to have it transported. In that circumstance, I wouldn't hesitate to do so (and did once)... but again... keep your valuables with you. This should ideally include CPAP machines and medications and the like as they can be harder to replace. What I did is I kept my backpack and shipped my packing cube forward. I put lots of clothes and such in my packing cube and kept my CPAP, medications, and other valuables with me.
 
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I agree with J.Wilhaus that having your rucksack transported does increase the cost of doing the Camino.
It is not just the cost of daily transport but also the fact you have to stay in private Albergues.
But if you can no longer carry your rucksack and want to walk the Camino you have no choice.
It is amazing how much we take for granted when we are young and healthy, which reminds me of something else. Never leave your daily medicines in your ruck, just in case . It would be an awful hassle to get to doctor, get a prescription for several meds that you need today and then get to a pharmacy.
Thank God for Correos, Tuitrans, Jacotrans and allwho work in them, that make it possible for us elders to continue to make pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. and Buen Camino to all who will use them this year.
 
I have seen on U-tube that you must be wary of the luggage/pack transport companies moving your luggage around. They reported thefts from the luggage and packs and warn people not to keep valuables in them like money passports, and electronics, (Which makes sense to a degree). They also mention if you lock your luggage that this is a red flag and you have a better chance of your luggage being broken into.


Is this a real issue? I would like to hear if you Camino Veterans have heard of or experienced such thefts

Thanks for any advise
I never leave anything of unreplaceable (or very difficult to replace) value in my pack. I accept that they are often left unattended and plan accordingly.
It would be an inconvenience if someone took my dirty socks, or towel, but it has never happened.
Maybe the sight of the socks puts them off delving further.
Although I think the more likely situation is that a thief would take the whole pack, rather than rifling through?
Other than phone, passport, medications and money, I don't take anything of value, no jewelry, cheap watch etc. And what I do take is always with me.
 
There is a difference between packs and suitcases (luggage).
Both are left unattended after delivery, in most cases. They are often left in bars in open areas with no security. Many albergues simply leave them in the open area inside...or often just outside in front.
There is seldom any type of security. I am surprised that we do not hear much more about loss of stuff...or even the bags themselves. I have known of many, many cases of theft from transported bags.
You take your chances.
Hello Pilgrims... I am a 66 year old widow...I am concerned that my back is not strong enough to carry 10-13 pounds required for my journey in Pied de Port. I only way about 134 pounds (give or take). Any specific recommendations.

I was hoping to stay at as many donativo alberques as possible...this is a spiritual journey for me.

I would have only change of clothes, shoes, socks, and bedding slip cover and a book/journal.

I am recovering from a pinched nerve as I type...I aggravated it when I took on 10 pounds on a 4 mile walk...I wasn't properly conditioned.
 
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If you have back issues, you may not find that you are physically comfortable in some of the church owned donativos. In several you would be sleeping on a thin mat on the floor, however, there are still many non-donativos with church connections that have bunk bed options and some do take bag shipment.

Roncesvalles is one that immediately some to mind.
 
I have seen on U-tube that you must be wary of the luggage/pack transport companies moving your luggage around. They reported thefts from the luggage and packs and warn people not to keep valuables in them like money passports, and electronics, (Which makes sense to a degree). They also mention if you lock your luggage that this is a red flag and you have a better chance of your luggage being broken into.


Is this a real issue? I would like to hear if you Camino Veterans have heard of or experienced such thefts

Thanks for any advise
I had my backpack transferred (daily) from late August through early October 2022 as I walked the del Norte. I had locks on my backpack. Never had one single issue. Backpack was at my hotel before I got there every single day. Nothing's broken. Nothing taken (it was just dirty clothes, clean clothes, and toiletries). Worked great!
 
I have seen on U-tube that you must be wary of the luggage/pack transport companies moving your luggage around. They reported thefts from the luggage and packs and warn people not to keep valuables in them like money passports, and electronics, (Which makes sense to a degree). They also mention if you lock your luggage that this is a red flag and you have a better chance of your luggage being broken into.


Is this a real issue? I would like to hear if you Camino Veterans have heard of or experienced such thefts

Thanks for any advise
Cant really comment as I never use them. Its my pack, i will carry it. However, I have not heard of any problems with the various companies on my 5 trips to the camino. Jacotrans were the first I came across back in 2013 so I would imagine they have a reputation to protect as would the post office service Correos. Be aware however that not all albergues accept transported bags so they will have to be left at some other location. Gaucelmo in Rabanal is one such albergue. Of course dont leave your documents money or phone if you carry one in your pack. You are likely to need one or all before you see the pack again. And lastly, just because its on youtube does not make it so. There can be quite a few naysayers having a go at anything and everything on social media. They just love to make mountains out of molehills
 
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I had my backpack transferred (daily) from late August through early October 2022 as I walked the del Norte. I had locks on my backpack. Never had one single issue. Backpack was at my hotel before I got there every single day. Nothing's broken. Nothing taken (it was just dirty clothes, clean clothes, and toiletries). Worked great!
Sounds perfect - are you able to recommend the company you used?
 
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Hello Pilgrims... I am a 66 year old widow...I am concerned that my back is not strong enough to carry 10-13 pounds required for my journey in Pied de Port. I only way about 134 pounds (give or take). Any specific recommendations.

I was hoping to stay at as many donativo alberques as possible...this is a spiritual journey for me.

I would have only change of clothes, shoes, socks, and bedding slip cover and a book/journal.

I am recovering from a pinched nerve as I type...I aggravated it when I took on 10 pounds on a 4 mile walk...I wasn't properly conditioned.
Merci. I will take all you said under consideration. Prayerfully, my back will improve that I can carry my pack after climbing the Pyrenees. ;) How do I contact these carrier companies: express muvico? or correos?
 
Merci. I will take all you said under consideration. Prayerfully, my back will improve that I can carry my pack after climbing the Pyrenees. ;) How do I contact these carrier companies: express muvico? or correos?
Express Bourricot

Correos

CaminoFácil

Jacotrans
 
Thank you for the very very helpful information. Will be contacting companies provided shortly. Buen camino.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
Hello Pilgrims... I am a 66 year old widow...I am concerned that my back is not strong enough to carry 10-13 pounds required for my journey in Pied de Port. I only way about 134 pounds (give or take). Any specific recommendations.

I was hoping to stay at as many donativo alberques as possible...this is a spiritual journey for me.

I would have only change of clothes, shoes, socks, and bedding slip cover and a book/journal.

I am recovering from a pinched nerve as I type...I aggravated it when I took on 10 pounds on a 4 mile walk...I wasn't properly conditioned.
Elaine you can have a spiritual experience anywhere you stay, whether it is a basic albergue or a Parador (they used to be monasteries or castles). It is not the bricks and mortar - or whether you pay or not - that makes it a spiritual journey. I agree that some of the more traditional, donativo 'refugios' have a spiritual ambiance but then so do many that are not donativo. It all depends on who is running the albergue and what they bring to it. When I first walked the Camino in 2002 places like the convents in Santo Domingo de la Calzada and in Leon were donativo. They couldn't manage on the small donations they received and had to start charging. I doubt that changed the spirituality of staying in the convents. At the time all municipal albergues in Galicia were also donativo - but some were decidedly less spiritual than others! In 2005 the Xunta had no option but to start charging when the numbers of pilgrim wanting to stay in 'free' or 'cheap' albergues grew exponentially. A friend wrote about the mayor of Santiago, Sanchez Bugallo quoting the famous words of Leonardo da Vinci about life: "Chi non la valora non la merita" (Anyone who doesn't value it doesn't deserve it) to opine that the fee would have a beneficial effect on the hospitaleros and the pilgrims because we tend not to value or take care of what costs us nothing. So, don't despair if you cant send a bag ahead to a donativo albergue. Its never been about what you carry on your back, but what you carry in your heart. Ultreia!
 
Mucho gracias. I greatly appreciate your wisdom. I will put more effort to enjoying the moment and making connections and not fret about how much it costs ;)
 
I agree with J.Wilhaus that having your rucksack transported does increase the cost of doing the Camino.
It is not just the cost of daily transport but also the fact you have to stay in private Albergues.
But if you can no longer carry your rucksack and want to walk the Camino you have no choice.
It is amazing how much we take for granted when we are young and healthy, which reminds me of something else. Never leave your daily medicines in your ruck, just in case . It would be an awful hassle to get to doctor, get a prescription for several meds that you need today and then get to a pharmacy.
Thank God for Correos, Tuitrans, Jacotrans and allwho work in them, that make it possible for us elders to continue to make pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. and Buen Camino to all who will use them this year.
How much does it cost to have Tuitrans transport?
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Thanks. I've looked at their website. It's not clear how much they charge. It looks like you have to put in an itinerary.
 
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However, I have not heard of any problems with the various companies on my 5 trips to the camino. Jacotrans were the first I came across back in 2013 so I would imagine they have a reputation to protect as would the post office service Correos.
I used Jacotrans for a few days after I developed plantar fasciitis on the way to Astorga and then Rabanal. Jacotrans was good while I was still in the Leon region - they reliably delivered to the correct address, and left the pack in a secure indoors location. When I reached Galicia, they had a different agent who was useless (perhaps he was overburdened with work). At Sarria, my pack hadn't arrived, and I only recovered it because a kindly hospitalero chased them up and made them bring it (they had "left it in the van!"). The next day, they left me a voice message on Wattsapp - too complicated for me to understand, but I got someone to translate - saying that I had addressed it "beyond a stage boundary"... Arranged by text to pick it up halfway through the stage I was walking. Very bad service in Galicia - but the Leon agent was good. I will try hard not to rely on them, though.
 
I have never heard of the transport companies losing or having luggage stolen, although I did hear once of a pack going missing. The person spent the night without their “stuff,” which I am sure was inconvenient, but was reunited with their pack the next day. I do think the way luggage is left sitting around unattended seems unsafe, but maybe it just isn’t that tempting to thieves. And a lot of smaller places, private albergues and other lodging, do take care to keep it safe and out of sight in storage rooms. Some even will check the names on all luggage deliveries to make sure it belongs to one of their guests.

I do hope it goes without saying that anything valuable should always be with you.

One thing I think people should realize is that you do need to carry quite a bit with you even if you send your pack. Rain gear, sun protection, a warm jacket that you put on and take off, water, snacks, extra socks, a blister and first aid kit, and so on.

I used transport service last year due to a pinched nerve and various joint problems. However, I still carried my pack, but took out things I didn’t need while walking and put them in a small duffel bag that I had brought for that purpose. My husband did the same. Our packs were lighter, but still probably 8 pounds/3.5 kilos with water.

I put a lock on the duffel. I don’t buy that logic that it attracts thieves, who are opportunistic and want to work quickly. A lock will slow them down. 🤷‍♀️ I always lock my luggage.

One last comment for folks with backs not strong enough to carry a pack … why not do something about that? Even a couple of months of simple core strengthening exercises can make a world of difference.
 

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