Tips to Keep Your Belongings Secure While Travelling
By Amanda Moore
Travelling is one of life’s greatest joys. Whether you’re hitting the road with a partner, boarding a plane with your family, getting social on a tour or cruise, or embarking on an epic solo adventure, you’re starting a journey that you will never forget. However, “memorable” can mean many things. You want to remember your travels for the awe-inspiring sights you saw, the local meals you tasted, and the wonderful people you’ve met— not spending half your trip panicking and dealing with a stolen passport or wallet.
Though the idea of stolen belongings can be frightening, don’t let it stand in the way of your next adventure! There are plenty of ways to keep your items and money safe while you see the world:
1. Avoid Overpacking
Not only is overpacking cumbersome, it also leaves no space for souvenirs, and can even result in hefty airline fees, it can open you up to theft. After all, a pickpocket can’t swipe your jewellery from your backpack if it’s safely stored back home.
Is there a specific occasion for you to be wearing your great grandfather’s watch? Then perhaps it shouldn’t be coming on this trip. The same goes for extra credit cards, unnecessary electronics, or other expensive items. Unless it is crucial to your trip, leave it behind for now.
2. Be Discreet
If you are travelling with expensive items, try not to be flagrant about it. Wearing flashy jewellery or withdrawing and counting large amounts of money from an ATM in a congested area, for instance, are both casual acts that can alert robbers that you have things to steal. It’s also important to be discreet and alert while using a smartphone in public— they are easy to snatch out of a pocket, or even sometimes a hand.
3. Travel with your Valuables on your Person
Often when we fly, take a bus, or board a train, we check or stow our larger items, and only take a small bag to our seat. This is much more convenient and comfortable but can leave the items in your large luggage more vulnerable. To avoid trouble, pack your money, jewellery, medications, and any personal documents in your “carry-on” so you can keep an eye on them.
4. Protect the Contents of your Wallet
Your wallet contains hordes of sensitive information, from your driver’s license to your credit cards. Having it stolen can feel like a disaster, especially because it makes you so vulnerable to identity theft, but there are ways to avoid that happening. Many seasoned travellers carry a fake wallet with an expired card and an inconsequential amount of money to hand over in the case of a mugging or similar crime. It also helps to keep your wallet in a zipped pocket of your clothing— it’ll be easier to see or feel a thief try to lift it.
5. Don’t Be too Confident
For those travelling for long periods of time, the urge to be vigilant can sometimes fade. After months of nobody touching your things, it can be tempting to sleep in a hostel, caravan or tent with your bag out in the open or leave your phone and wallet on your beach towel while you take a dip. Don’t! Remember— you’ve likely been lucky so far because you’ve taken the correct precautions. Keep it up.
6. It’s Called a “Safe” for a Reason!
Theft is often a crime of opportunity. Dodgy hostel roommates, untrustworthy housekeeping staff, or even someone picking your room lock will have a much harder time stealing your things if they’re locked away.
When you leave your accommodation to go explore, don’t leave your valuables out in the open. If your hotel or hostel has the option for a safe or a locker, take advantage of it, even if it cost a few extra bucks to keep your belongings secure. It’s also helpful to travel with locks to keep your suitcase more secure if your accommodation doesn’t have these items.
7. Know What to Do in Case of Emergency
If the worst does happen, you’ll still be okay— but you’ll need to follow the correct protocol. Contact all of your banks, doctors, insurers, and anybody else connected to the identifying items that were inside; it helps to make a list of everything in your wallet before you travel, so you don’t need to wrack your brain during an already difficult time. If crucial items, like your passport, are stolen while overseas, we also strongly recommend contacting your country’s local embassy for help.
Do you have any thoughts to keep your belongings secure while travelling? Share these below in the comments.