If you strategize for safety—and plan ahead—you can avoid becoming a victim of theft on the road. Keep these eight tips as you start packing up for your next getaway.
When traveling and exploring unfamiliar territory, your belongings become more vulnerable to being lost or stolen. That said, you don’t need to travel in fear: there are tactics you can employ to keep your things safe. To help you plan a strategy, here are Eagle Creek’s top suggestions.
1. Leave Unnecessary Valuables at Home
If you can’t bear the thought of losing something, leave it at home. Of course, there are some things you may need to bring like your camera or cell phone for emergencies; however, do you really need to bring your high-end wristwatch, costume jewelry, laptop, tablet and your smartphone? Pack light, especially when it comes to valuables.
2. Invest in Concealed Accessories
Instead of putting valuables in outer pockets and backpack pockets where they can be easily stolen, invest in accessories that allow you to keep your important items on the inside of your clothing and inside secret pouches.
While the All-Terrain Money Belt is like a regular belt with secret compartments, the Undercover Neck Wallet can be worn around your neck and tucked into your shirt. Some other secure accessories include the Undercover Money Belt, Silk Undercover Bra Stash, and the Undercover Hidden Pocket.
3. Lock Up and Stay Alert in Crowds
Instead of just leaving your suitcase vulnerable to intruders, keep it locked up using a Travel Safe TSA Lock. This type of lock allows you to see when your belongings have been opened by TSA. You can also use one of these locks to secure purses and day bags to make it more difficult to get into your possessions both on the street and in the hotel. If you stay alert and are confident, you’ll avoid looking like a target.
4. Don’t Let Your Guard Down In The Hotel
It’s easy to let your guard down once you’re off the city streets and back in your comfortable hotel room. Don’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re staying in a hostel or 5-star hotel, you need to be mindful of your belongings. Lock up valuables, keep luggage closed and secure and, if you don’t need your room cleaned every single day, hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door to keep cleaning staff out of the room when you’re out exploring the city.
5. Keep A Clear Head
While it may be tempting to sample every beer on the menu at the local bar when traveling, it’s not wise. When drinking, sip slowly and alternate with water to keep from becoming intoxicated — and putting yourself in a vulnerable position. Some thieves specifically target travelers they see leaving popular bars and coffeeshops as they make easy targets. The more clearly you can think, the more aware you will be or your surroundings and better equipped to handle potentially dangerous situations.
6. Trust Your Gut
If something seems too good to be true or a situation just doesn’t feel right, trust your gut. Get in the habit of always taking your hotel’s business card and putting it immediately into your wallet. Late at night—or if you need to leave the scene quickly to avoid trouble—you’ll be able to hand the card to the driver, and know that he’ll be able to get you back to safety. You won’t have to remember addresses and directions or deal with language barriers.
7. Be Mindful of Scams
There are some truly outrageous scams out there aimed at robbing tourists, so ask your hotel or travel agent which ones you should be aware of when you are touring around at your destination. One rule of thumb is to be wary of anyone trying to be overly helpful — helping you with your bags, wiping dirt from your shoulder, touching you in a flirty manner — as they may just want access to your pockets. In general, keep your bag closed tightly and close to your body.
8. Stay Organized
The more organized you keep your luggage, the less likely you are to lose track of your valuables. Use a Pack-It Specter Cube Set or Pack-It Solutions to save luggage space and keep clothing separated. Additionally, a Travel Agent organizer can secure your important documents, credit cards, passport, money and receipts.
Jessica Festa, a New York native, is a world traveler who is always looking for a new adventure. She stays active through hiking, cycling, and dance and loves nothing more than her backpack. Follow her travels around the world at Jessie on a Journey and at Epicure & Culture.