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Continuing our series on tips for traveling safely – today’s Part 2 from guest poster and friend of PWaC Naomi talks about tips for protecting your belongings while you’re traveling. If you missed yesterday’s tips for traveling safety – check out Part 1: 8 travel safety tips that will make you think twice when traveling
2 tips to travel safely before you even leave
- Don’t bring valuables: When climbing the ruins of Angkor Wat do you really need all that bling? Leave the expensive, flashy diamonds and Rolexes at home. I typically wear a watch and my wedding ring (remember Tip 7 from yesterday?) and opt for an inexpensive purse when abroad. Expensive stuff signals that you have money and could make you a target of thieves.
- Minimize your theft risk: Don’t bring everything with you! When I’m at home, I often have 8-10 credit cards in my wallet (yay for minimum spends, bonuses, 2 player game, and MSing) along with Costco cards and all kinds of junk. Before you leave on your trip make sure to clean it out and only bring what you need. For me? Two debit cards (Schwab plus a backup), 2 visas (no foreign transaction fees only), 1 Amex (for Centurion lounge access) (PWaC: Must be nice!), Priority Pass card, and my health insurance card. I bring backups of the debit and visa in case something happens. When out for the day I only bring the debit card and one visa card. My passport (along with green card and global entry card) often gets left at the hotel too (unless I’m somewhere that doesn’t have a safe or where I need to show my passport for entry to sites).
4 more tips for traveling safely with your belongings
- Nothing in your pockets: Pockets are a pickpocket’s best friend. It is in their name after all! Everything I bring outdoors with me is secured in a zipped and buttoned bag. One common mistake I see is the phone in the back pocket. Such an easy grab for a thief! If you are a guy and don’t want a man purse or backpack, make sure your wallet is in your front pocket.
- Don’t assume your hotel room is safe: One strategy to preventing sticky fingers at hotels is to lock items in the safe. However, my laptop often doesn’t fit or the safe is one you can pick up and walk out with. In these cases, I put my electronics in my luggage and lock my luggage. Yes, they could walk out with my luggage, but that is probably harder for them to do unobtrusively. Sometimes I’ll put them in my backpack, lock it, and slide the backpack under the bed or put it in a drawer. It’s just about making it a little bit harder for a thief. I’ve also left my locked backpack at the front desk in places where I just wasn’t sure.
- Watch your stuff on trains: European train travel is amazing. However, I have personally witnessed several snatch and grabs. (PWaC: I was literally just talking to someone last weekend who had all his belongings stolen on an Italian overnight train and I also know someone who had his money and passport stolen on a Mexican bus). Always try to put your luggage above your head. Keep valuables on your lap and secured (or below your feet…I’ll put my foot through a strap so someone can’t grab). If you can’t do this, then you need to get up at every stop and watch your luggage. I really wish Europe would implement Japan’s safety measures on trains (Japan has locks available at the luggage racks).
- Watch crowded places: When it gets crowded at a tourist site or on a bus/metro, make sure you know where your stuff is. I hold on to my bag extra tight and will swing backpacks around to the front and hold it. Pickpockets are really good!
Thanks for reading! I am really not a paranoid person. I am willing to go just about anywhere in the world and love traveling solo. These are all precautions that are second nature to me and should be practiced around the world.
Any more tips for traveling safely or how to stay safe and protect your belongings while traveling? Leave them in the comments