Ingenious ways to prevent your valuables from getting stolen abroad
The holiday season is always a popular time to travel. Whether you’re visiting friends and family or heading off for some much-needed rest and relaxation. Nowadays, most of us take plenty of valuables with us on these trips, such as cameras helping us capture photogenic memories, smartphones to stay in touch, and laptops to keep up with our favourite TV shows. Don’t forget those gifts for relatives and loved ones, too!
Unfortunately, travelling with valuable goods can sometimes make you a target for thieves. Take a look at these ingenious ways to keep your most high-end items safe while travelling and when you arrive at your destination. Why not look into investing in travel insurance too? That way, whatever happens, you’ll know that your valuables are in safe hands and you can enjoy your trip without any extra stress.
Before you leave
While you’re busy looking up the must-try local restaurants and secret scenic spots in your destination, do some research on any well-known tourist scams there too. These can range from ‘free bracelets’ to distract you from a pickpocket to fake police officers insisting on checking your passport. This way you’ll know exactly what to look out for.
Buy yourself a money belt or small cross-body bag that will keep your valuables close to you while you’re exploring—they’re currently very fashionable, so you should have no trouble finding one you like! If you’ve got travel insurance or any travel documents, pack a photocopy of them in case you should need it while you’re away. Also be sure to keep a scan securely stored in the Cloud so you can always access it.
While you're travelling
If you're staying in a hostel, it’s always helpful to have a padlock with you to lock up your bags or to secure a hired locker. Make sure to get one with a code so there’s no risk of misplacing the key and be discreet when opening it. Try to ensure that it’s TSA approved as well, in case your bags need to be opened at security. Using luggage with built-in code lock is another option. Always keep small valuables such as passports and wallets in a safe if there’s one available at your accommodation.
Wherever you are, always be aware of where your belongings are and check behind you for valuables when you leave. It’s much easier to replace a hat left behind than an expensive smartphone! Try to be discreet and avoid wearing obviously expensive clothes or jewellery, which could signal to thieves that you have valuable belongings.
Keep any cash and cards separate and spread around in different wallets or bags, in case of pickpocketing. It might also be worthwhile looking into a multi-currency card like Transferwise to minimise the need to carry cash. Plus, as it can be controlled by an app, the card is easy to cancel and replace in case of theft.
When you reach your destination
Exploring during the day? Consider investing in a clever anti-theft backpack to help keep your belongings safe. Otherwise, always use a bag with a zip close and carry it across your body for maximum security. In crowded tourist spots, be mindful of where your bag and belongings are at all times and don’t carry anything valuable in pockets where it could be easily taken. If it's a really notorious area for pickpockets, consider having an empty ‘dummy wallet’ in your pocket to distract them from the real one in your zip-up bag.
At a restaurant or bar, loop the strap of your bag around a chair leg so that it can’t be grabbed, and tie it to you if you’re planning to sleep on a journey. On public transport such as metros and buses, avoid using your phone near the doors, particularly if they open regularly—it’s easy for it to be grabbed as someone quickly exits. Finally, if you’re hoping to get plenty snaps of unmissable sights on a pricey camera, keep it tucked away when not in use rather than around your neck or over your shoulder. That way, you're much less likely to be a target while capturing all those photo memories to take home with you!