Keeping Your Belongings Safe Whilst Travelling
After my incident in Athens, it made sense to have a think about safety while travelling. Here’s all the advice and tips collected and given to me around securing your stuff during your travels. Stay safe!
Here’s my collected list of things to think about in securing your possessions. The overarching thing I would say is that the amount of “safety mechanisms” I employ varies depending on the location and context. Some places might feel more safe than others, and basically the tradeoff is convenience vs. perceived risk.
In Seoul I pretty much did none of these vs. Ho Chi Minh when I am on full lockdown. Do whatever it takes to make you feel safe and who cares what anyone else thinks so long as you are comfortable. My (new) golden rule – never let politeness come at the expense of safety. Thieves aren’t looking for heists, they’re looking for easy grabs on unsuspecting tourists.
- Use a keyring, carabiner of padlock on your zips. If it’s hard for you to open the bag, it’ll be hard for a would-be thief to open it too (and vice versa).
- If your backpack has a rain over – put it on, even if it’s not raining. It’s an easy deterrent for the zips on the bag and quick pulls.
- PacSafe bags are well protected with many safety features – though I can’t say I’ve had heard of any slashing-type incidents in the places I’ve been to. No harm being protected against that.
- Keep money in seperate places.
- Minimise the stuff you’re carrying and leave everything you don’t really need secured at your hostel/ hotel.
- Don’t have anything in your front or back pockets if you can.
- A money belt is great for hiding away things and is very hard for someone to reach. Especially if the belt has a concealed compartment, which you should use for the most important things.
- Keep your bag in front of you even if it makes you feel like a kangaroo.
- Store important things in more hidden places.
- Stay close to your travel buddy when out and about. My issue in Athens was we were split up and didn’t realise soon enough. More sets of eyes always helps.
- Avoid crowds when you can, that’s when they strike. Avoid packed spaces and be aware of your pockets when have many people around.
- Don’t assume anyone is a tourist just because they are dressed as one.
- Sudden movements from people around you could be legitimate events, but they could also be ways to get close to you.
- I do take my DSLR out with me, but I put it back in my bag after use (depending on the country). It’s nearly impossible to avoid looking like a tourist but being less conspicuous won’t hurt.
- Avoid flashing cash or big notes.
- Have a copy of your wallet contents.
- Take a photo of each of your cards and your passport.
- Have each of your bank card cancellations URLs readily bookmarked, should you need to activate it.
- Wallet on chain.
- Safety pins on pockets. I had a pair of shorts with zipped pockets which was great and something I hadn’t thought about before traveling.
- Stay off your phone whilst walking. If you need to check directions, I stop or go into a store/ mall with a bit of space.
- Be aware of other travel scams.
I do hope some of these tips might help your secure your belongings during your travels and avoid any drama. If you have any other tips or ideas let me know and I will add them in. Bottom line: always be aware and never accept an uncomfortable position out of good manners – your safety is always more important.
Safe travels all!