With the subject of hostels last week I started thinking more about protecting your belongings while traveling. There are very few real dangers around the world that you actually have to be worried about. People love to exaggerate claims of violence and terrorism around the world (thanks media) but the truth is that your biggest concern is petty theft. Here are a few ways you can fight back.
These have become pretty popular over the last few years. If you’re going to crowded places where pick pocketing might be a problem, a money belt is a good answer. They’re made of soft fabric that won’t irritate your skin. You were it around your waist and under your clothes and it’s nearly impossible to know you’re wearing it.
Here’s a tip though: I once traveled with a girl who wore one every day but she held all of her money in it. So every time she had to pay for something, she had to open it up in public. Not a wise idea. Instead, keep a little bit of cash in a separate pocket so that you don’t have to reach into your money belt every time. It is supposed to be hidden, right?
Pacsafe has a few great solutions for securing your valuables or luggage in your room while you’re away. It’s difficult to enjoy your traveling if you can’t leave things back in your room. While many hostels are offering lockers, some leave you without a way to secure your valuables. Hostels are, for the most part, very safe, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure your things are secure. Here’s where Pacsafe comes in.
The Travelsafe 100 is essentially, a portable safe. It’s a small pouch that is virtually indestructible. Just put your money, passport, or even small camera inside and lock it to a bedpost or other secure place.
The other popular product by Pacsafe is Pacsafe55. A small bag contains an expandable eXomesh cover that will wrap around your backpack and make it nearly impossible to get anything in or out of it. Same as before, you lock it up to a bed post and it’s not going anywhere. I don’t believe your clothes are in very much danger in a hostel, but this is a good option for people traveling with cameras or other expensive equipment that has its own bag. These come in various sizes for different types and styles of backpacks.
If you have any other tips or recommendations on protecting your valuables while traveling please feel free to share them in the comments below.
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article photo by squacco
10 Replies to “Protecting Your Belongings and Valuables While Traveling”
The PacSafe products look interesting (certainly tougher than the cable bike lock & padlock I typically haul around), but it looks like they come with key locks, which leaves you open to the risk of losing the keys (though they sell combination locks as extras on their site).
I always make sure the shorts & pants I take on a trip have secured pockets, preferably velcro or buttons, which make them more difficult to be opened by would-be thieves (and I have caught two of them in the act!).
They are a bit expensive, but if I were ever to take my full camera kit with me I’d definitely be purchasing a Pacsafe for myself.
Good point about the shorts and that’s one reason why I don’t typically use a money belt. Either I keep my wallet in the front pocket of my jeans that are tight enough to definitely notice somebody reaching in, or my cargos have velcro and are difficult enough for me to reach into! :)
In regard to the money belt, pickpockets know they’re there, and in situations where you’re bogged down in a crowd or jostling around on public transportation, you can still be pick pocketed wearing one of these. I had a friend who had one that went around his thigh, which was awesome. Obviously you don’t want to be digging around in it all the time, so if it’s just being used to transport money from one place to another while you trip around the world, the thigh money pouch works great.
Also, you missed a couple obvious solutions that don’t require equipment. In socks, in shoes, in bras, in hidden-zip bracelets, and spread out among zipped or velcro pockets.
I generally keep most of my larger bills and an ID or ATM card in my sock. It’s a good hiding place and won’t expose your money even in places where pat downs are frequent(at touristic sights, airports, etc.)
Fantastic information. I am going to bring the Pacsafe 55 with me next time.I actually always worry more about people putting things in my bag on buses at border crossings (smuggling etc.) I am a little paranoid, but with the pacsafe 55 I think I will rest easier on those long bus rides that cross borders. I never thought about locking it to a bedpost before either. Now that you write about it, I don’t know how I never thought of it!
A low cost option to think about are safety pins! You can use them to secure the zippers on your day pack, camera bag, or purse. Keeps little hands and fingers from slipping in. Plus they are small and lightweight!
THINK LIKE A BURGLAR
Professional or amateur burglars will break into your home, if there is an opportunity. Be prepared and fight back.
Getting robbed is an awful feeling and makes you think that you could have done more to prevent it.
By definition, the crime of burglary is a non-confrontational property crime that occurs when we are not at home.
Living in a house takes more places and things to think about when talking security. There are lots of break-in points to consider.
If you have had a bad experience already with a crook — learn from it — don’t just think bad luck won’t strike twice!
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