Whether you’re traveling for work or leisure, theft is always a constant threat. If you’re on vacation, being a victim of theft can be both infuriating and traumatizing, can potentially ruin an otherwise fun occasion. Likewise, having your things stolen during a business trip can just be as devastating. It’s essential for travelers never to put their guards down whenever they’re in public, even if they’re traveling to supposedly ‘safe’ destinations.
So, if you’re planning your vacation or preparing for your business trip, it’s best to take note of these tips to protect your belongings during your travel.
#1 Do Your Research
A lot of travelers fail to do this simple step of looking up safety tips and crime statistics in their target destinations. You can even go further by joining social media groups and forums on traveling and ask for tips and what to watch out for. This way, you can be wary of the usual modus operandi of thieves in the area and also be aware of which areas to avoid during your travel. While you’re at it, take note of the address and phone number of the local authorities in the area, so you can report any incident promptly.
#2 Invest in Theft-Proof Bags
You might be thinking that buying a new bag just for traveling isn’t practical, especially if you already have a travel bag that’s still in working condition. If you do opt to utilize your own (non-theft-proof) bag, just make sure that you at least buy a zipper-lock to avoid having the contents swiped, especially when you’re in busy/crowded areas, or when it’s stored on your bus/train’s luggage space.
#3 Bring a Cable Lock
Paranoid, much? Well, if you’re traveling to a known tourist spot or a busy city, the risk of theft is significantly higher. When you’re in a bar or restaurant, it’s easy to let your guard down, especially when you’re munching on a local delicacy or too busy enjoying the company, which is when your bag (which you most likely placed on the floor, or placed/hung on a chair can get stolen. That said, you should consider carrying a cable lock and secure it to the chair or table. This can also come in handy in public transport, particularly when you have long commutes, and you’ll be storing your bag on the overhead bin/storage.
#4 Wallet-Specific Tips
Apart from your phone, your wallet is perhaps one of the most targeted items of pickpockets, so we’ll be discussing some tips to keep your wallet and its contents safe during your travel:
Decoy Wallet. Bring a spare wallet that has some cash (and maybe some printed-out IDs, or coupons… just something to fill it out), and then bring it along with your real wallet. This decoy wallet will come in handy not only in pickpocket prevention but also if someone violently demands your wallet.
Keep Your Wallet (and Phone) In Front. When traveling, don’t put your wallet or any valuables in your back pocket — you’re practically asking to have it stolen when you do this.
Bring Only What You Need. Keep most of your money in your room (or perhaps a secure storage locker for travelers), and only bring enough money for that day. This is a brilliant way to mitigate damage (and also avoid overspending).
#5 Be Careful With Jewelry
As a rule of thumb, don’t bring any expensive jewelry if they’re not necessary (i.e., if you’re not planning on attending a fancy event or party). Wearing jewelry doesn’t only make them vulnerable to theft, but they make you into a target. If you need to accessorize, use non-flashy accessories. And if you’re traveling with your spouse or fiancé, keep the diamond-studded or gold ring in your house and get matching silicone rings instead.
Make sure that you and your belongings stay safe during your travels by following these theft prevention tips. However, as a parting note, if you do find yourself being a victim of theft, don’t be too hard on yourself — at the end of the day, the important thing is that you come home safely.