Keeping your stuff safe is a pretty important part of any good trip, and regardless of where you are travelling – whether it is in a familiar place or a vastly different culture – you tend to be more vulnerable and can become a target for thieves and scammers.
There’s no need for paranoia, but you don’t want to be too complacent either. Here are some simple things you can do to help keep your stuff safe.
1. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket
Split your valuables among different bags and even in different places throughout your bag – particularly if you are carrying a decent amount of cash. This means if one bag does get stolen, you wont lose everything. Make sure you carry a photocopy of your passport separately to your actual passport.
2. Wear it
Keep the really important stuff like your bankcards and passport in a money belt or pouch and wear it hidden under your clothes. Keep your money belt on if you are sleeping in public places like bus stations or on trains.
3. Lock up
Cable locks are invaluable when travelling. Use them to lock your bag to a heavy piece of furniture or to lock them to the seat or luggage rack when travelling on trains. This makes it just a little harder for would-be-thieves to carry your stuff off.
Take a padlock to use if you have a locker in your room, or to lock cupboards. It may even come in handy as an extra lock for the door of your room – you never know who else may have a key! Go for a combination lock rather than one with a key, you don’t want to have to worry about losing that as well.
4. Pack it away
When you leave your room, resist the urge to leave things lying out all over the place. If things are packed away in your bag, it is less easy to grab something and run. This also means your valuables aren’t out and about on display.
5. In transit
Be wary of people trying to carry your bags at bus or train stations. There are a lot of genuine people out there, but a lot of the time you will be expected to pay, and you are also opening yourself up to potentially having your luggage rummaged through.
Think about what you want stowed away on buses and trains. It is better to have the majority of your valuables with you and in sight rather than under a bus or on a luggage rack that you cant see.
6. Save your pics
One of the most upsetting things about losing your stuff is losing all your photos. Your camera is certainly replaceable, your photos not so much. Back your memory card up regularly and keep the backup separately to your camera.
7. Swim time
Going for a swim can be tricky, particularly if you’re on your own. Even if you’re with friends, a waterproof wallet can be an excellent way to carry a bit of cash with you when you hit the beach.
8. Read those reviews
Websites like Trip Advisor are invaluable sources of information for travellers. When choosing somewhere to stay, check out the reviews first. You can usually get a pretty good idea about the security, as well as the type of place it is, from other traveller’s feedback.
9. Smart carrying
Carry your shoulder bag across your body, with the bag on the side of you furthest from the road, to avoid it being snatched by someone passing by. If you carry a daypack, keep it strapped on both shoulders.
10. Look around
Be aware of your surroundings, take note of who’s around and the type of neighbourhood you are in. Basically just be on the ball.
11. Think before you drink
When your inhibitions are lowered, you tend to be less on the ball as far as keeping both you and your stuff together and safe. Don’t take valuables out if you plan on having a big night.
12. Travel insurance
How much is all the stuff in your bag worth? What if you had to replace all of it? Think about it.