20 Ways to Keep Your Valuables Safe When You Travel
Whether you’re headed on a short weekend away or a round the world adventure, chances are your bags are filled with valuable items. Sadly in this crazy world that we live in, there are plenty of dodgy characters out there who are more than happy to help themselves to your treasured goods! Thus, it’s important to keep your valuables safe while you travel!
So, what’s the best way of keeping your precious items out of the hands of would-be thieves? Well, let’s look at some of the best ways to keep your valuables safe while you travel!
Table of Contents
Keep Your Things In Safes and Lockers
One of the best ways to keep your valuables safe when you travel is to keep them locked away! Whether it be your own personal safe or lockers provided by hostels, they’re a great way of keeping your items protected. Additionally, they allow you to keep those valued items off the dark, dingy, criminal filled streets!
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Whether you’re walking through the shady part of town or just kicking back at a hostel, you should always be aware of the world and, more importantly, the people around you. You need to have your guard up at all times as your possessions are always vulnerable.
That’s not to say that you should travel the world with a dreaded sense of paranoia the whole time, but neither should you expect the world to be an extensive Kumbaya sing-song. Just keep an eye out!
Hide Your Cash and Cards Correctly
When it comes to keeping your valuables safe while you travel, cash and cards are the hardest riddles to solve. There are a few tricks that people swear by, such as carrying a bumbag (fanny pack for you Americans) or a money belt beneath your shirt. Unfortunately, these methods don’t hide your money that well, as criminals know you have your cash somewhere, and you pointed out where to find it!
The best way is trying to hide them in places you wouldn’t expect; a makeup bag, a sunglasses case, your bra, somewhere a thief wouldn’t immediately think to look! Besides that, try not to keep all your cash eggs in one easily picked basket!
A favoured technique from some is to carry a backup wallet simply to be a decoy for potential robbers. Though in theory, it may make sense, in practice it’s actually pretty clumsy.
For one thing, you’ll have to carry around a spare wallet with you at all times. You’ll also have to assume that the robber hasn’t seen you access your real cash (which any decent pickpocketer would do). Plus, what happens if they find out you tried to deceive them? Too many variables but it could work in the right circumstance!
Don’t Look Like a Tourist
If you’re swanning around town wearing an unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt, a straw hat and a camera worth a local’s yearly income hanging around your neck, then you might as well ask to get mugged! Of course, nobody deserves to get robbed, but you wouldn’t run into the bear-cage covered in honey either…you’re just asking for trouble!
The more you stand out, the more of a target you become. The more ignorant you appear to locals, you’ll appear even easier to be scammed. Do yourself a favour and try to blend in.
Which are you, a tourist or a traveller? What’s the difference between the two? And why does one have animosity towards the other?
There are plenty of generous and heart-felt people out there who would give you the shirt off their backs, while others see a golden opportunity to rip off a gullible tourist.
You should always be wary of random strangers coming out of the blue to offer you favours, services or claims to have a “friend who gives a cheap price“. Though most of the time it’s just a blatant cash-grab, you might find yourself in a real dangerous situation!
Crooks might want to take you away from the prying eyes of the public so they can loot your goods or who knows what else! Always remember, stranger danger!
Never Put Valuables in Your Checked Baggage
The irony is that despite the extensive amount of security precautions you’re agonisingly forced to endure on your way through airports, your luggage actually has the least amount of security!
Thousands of valuables disappear through airports every year. According to CNN, over 30,000 claims of missing items were made in the US over a 4 year period! Passengers pick up their luggage to find that laptops, Ipads and everything in between has mysteriously vanished. Do you think they fell out?
The best way to keep your valuables safe while you travel on transport is to keep them right by your side where you can keep an eye on them!
Whether it’s a locker, a trunk at the end of your bed or even your bags themselves, you can never be too safe! The most common way of securing these treasure troves is by using a padlock. Thus, you better make sure you have one!
Many hostels these days either provide or, more likely, sell padlocks for visitors to use on their lockers. Yet, of course, the easiest (and cheapest) way is to bring your own! If not for anything else, you could also use it to secure your luggage too.
Carry Two Hard Drives & Backup to the Cloud
Above everything else, the most cherished item in your possession is the photos you’ve taken on your travels! Whether they’re on your PCs or smartphones, they’re at risk of being stolen or even damaged along the road. Thus, your cherished memories are at risk too!
It’s beyond vital to back these up, ideally, in more than one place! Hard drives are the favoured solution, though they’re also subject to the same risk. For a more modern solution, the cloud has become the newest high tech, and in many ways, safest way of securing your digital files.
The problem with keeping all your valuables in a single backpack is that it could all be taken in one fell swoop. By spreading out your load across a number of different bags or on your person, then you at least make sure you don’t lose all your chips on one misplaced bet!
Many travellers face a tough decision; should you travel as a group or travel solo?
It’s a big decision, so here are the pros and cons!
This next one can save you a lot of money! Many locals live for scamming gullible, fat-walleted tourists, and who can blame them! Most of the time, these crafty con artists have worked out just the right way to do it!
With a bit of research, you can easily find out the common tricks and scams you’ll come across in different countries and cities! Better yet, you’ll learn to recognise the red flags and eventually know how to avoid them altogether!
Know Which Places to Avoid
Whether is New York, Rio, Paris or London, pretty much every city has a seedy part of town. These spots are usually rife with crime and are places even the locals try not to venture into. Thus, a cargo short wearing tourist with a hefty backpack is going to be easy pickings.
It’s easy finding out which parts of town aren’t safe and you should avoid, and if you still decide to travel there, at the very least you can prepare for it and try to limit the number of valuables you have on you.
Wear Your Bag on Your Front
A simple solution yet so beautifully effective! Bumbags are such a favourite amongst middle-aged men because you’re always able to keep an eye on them, and it’s harder for a thief to mug you right beneath your nose! The same is true for your backpack!
Simply swing that bad boy around and you can take better care of it! If your bag is behind you to the world, it’s like turning your back to a pride of hungry lions, eventually, you’re gonna get bit!
Secure Your Belongings To Something When You Sit Down
Whether you’re sitting at a bus stop, on a train or eating at a restaurant, you eventually have to put your bags down, and this is when they’re at the most risk! Any quick-footed thief will be able to make a grab for it and run off!
Whenever you sit down, it takes just a second to strap the bags to a chair or a table. This makes a quick grab-and-go a little trickier!
Choose Hotels, Not Hostels
Though hostels are synonymous with backpacking life, sadly they aren’t the safest option. You’re sharing a room with up to 15 other strangers, any one of which can have itchy fingers and looking for an easy grab! Luckily in hotels, you don’t have to share a space with other guests!
By splashing out on a private room, you have an added level of protection for your valuables and can even leave them in your room all day long! It’s just an added level of relief.
Where should you stay during your travels, hotels or hostels?
Both have their advantages, but what are they? Which is best for you?
These days certain companies have caught on to travellers’ needs for added security by designing luggage that has anti-theft features. They include bags with discreet zippers, secret pockets, and even a metal wire mesh lining to prevent thieves from simply slashing the bag and taking out its contents!
Speaking of such things…
Use RFID-Blocking Wallets and Bags
Modern problem requires modern solution! As the world becomes more high-tech, so do thieves! These days scammers can pick up card information by using scanners. Even worse, with instant pay technology, they can take money directly out of your account! The best way to avoid this is to have luggage and wallets with RFID-Blocking technology.
These kinds of items come with a layer of carbon fibre or metal which prevent these scanners from functioning and protect your hard-earned cash! Simple yet effective!
Make Copies of Your Most Important Documents
Though it’s devastating to lose your hard-earned cash and cards, at least the cards can be cancelled! Even worse is losing your passport, then you’re in a lot of trouble!
Passports, visas and various other documents are a vital part of our travels, the loss of which can create huge problems and take weeks to sort out! The best solution is to have plenty of backups, both hardcopies and electronically to cover all bases!
Track Your Bags
Another modern solution to thievery has been the ability to track your bags. Once you lose it, you can easily head to the police station and report it missing with all the necessary information!
Though this isn’t always the best solution. If you’re travelling on the road, for all you know your possessions have travelled hundreds of miles away, and you have to sacrifice your travels just to chase your bags. The better solution is trying to make sure it isn’t stolen in the first place!
Check Your Insurance
Heaven forbid that your valuable items have been stolen, and even worse that you’re not able to get them back! The final solution is at least to make sure that you’re covered for those items!
Certain insurance companies will cover your valuables for theft and possibly even damage! That being said, be sure to check carefully, as insurance companies are notoriously sketchy when it comes to the parameters they follow.
Thank You for Reading! Check Out These Other Helpful Links!
Thank you so much for reading 20 Ways to Keep Your Valuables Safe When You Travel! Now check out these other helpful articles!
A Welsh university drop-out on a mission to travel the world for as little money as possible. My adventures have taken me through over 30 countries across Europe, Asia and Oceania, and the list keeps on growing! From classic backpacking to working and volunteering, I have found all sorts of ways to maintain a life on the road.