7 Simple Tips for Keeping Your Valuables Safe While Traveling

A comprehensive guide to keeping yourself and your valuables safe while you're on the road
Staff Writer

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Western Safe— When we’re traveling, we’d all rather be picking up new souvenirs than losing our valuables along the way. And chances are, if we’re on the road we have quite a few precious possessions we just can’t travel without.

While some areas are safer and more secure than others, you should always be on the lookout for risky situations where you might be separated from your possessions. Whether this is your first time stepping out into the world or you’re a seasoned nomad, use these tricks and tips of the traveling trade to make sure your valuables remain in your possession until you find your way back home.

Make Copies
Before you head out into the world, make a photocopy of all of your vital travel documents. Keeping photocopies with you in the event of a loss along the road can help you prove your identity and replace a lost passport or ID. Place copies in a different location (ideally, a hotel safe) so that if you lose your originals, you have a backup that you didn’t lose along with them.

Use Your Hotel Safe
Although hotel safes are usually accessible by hotel staff (in the event that you forget your code or leave belongings behind) they are still a great place to leave important possessions within your room. Check out your hotel before booking and inquire as to whether it has a safe. Take a look at reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp to see if any other travelers have encountered issues with safety during their stay.

Keep Valuables Close
Travel can be exhausting, and it may be tempting to get a snooze in wherever you can, whether that be on a bus or train, or while in an airport or hostel. Try to refrain from sleeping in crowded public places, but if you must, always keep your valuables on you and not in a bag or suitcase. A money belt can keep your items safe and far away from prying hands.

If you are carrying electronics like laptops, iPads, phones, cameras and the like, keep them in a backpack or bag on your person — never in luggage that is stowed in an area that you cannot readily see or reach.

It can also be helpful to store cash or cards in two places so that in the event that one set is stolen, you won’t be left penniless.

Purchase Extra Protection
Nowadays there are plenty of safety products to help travelers hold onto their valuables. Purchase a lock for your luggage and always make sure that it is locked before it’s taken away from you and stowed.

In more dangerous areas, purchase a backpack that is rugged and made out of slash-guarded material. Lock any zippers that you can with small padlocks, and always, always keep your bags and backpacks close to you, preferably in your lap.

Related: The Best Backpacks for Under $150

Stay Alert
Have your bearings about you at all times. This is one of the most important things you can do to keep your personal belongings safe. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on anyone who also seems to be keeping an eye on you. Unless necessary, don’t let unknown individuals offer to carry your bags or help you in any way by separating you from your belongings.

There are plenty of individuals who make a great living by fleecing unwary travelers of their valuable items. They are usually very good at their craft and can weave great stories to try and manipulate you out of your possessions. Staying awake and alert in unfamiliar territory is one of the most critical rules of the road.  

Try to plan your events and travel so that you are not rushing from place to place. Rushing can cause you to quickly become disoriented and distracted. Items can go missing in an instant when you are preoccupied by something such as catching a train or hailing a taxi.

Additionally, most travel organizations have limited liability when it comes to stolen items. That means that travelers should not place too much faith in their airline carrier or any other transportation organization when it comes to compensating their loss.

Leave the Light On
Many people leave lights on in their houses while they are away to deter potential robbers. Similarly, it can help to leave the light on in your room and post a do not disturb sign when staying in an unknown hotel. You may even want to go one step further and switch on that TV.

Pack Light and Blend In
If you want to limit your risk while you’re out walking around, try not to pour every high-end electronic into your travel bag. Leave what you can do without back at home or in your hotel. When you hit the streets and leave the safety of your hotel room, only carry what you absolutely must.

Leave passports and the majority of your cash and cards locked up safely. If you want to be exceedingly cautious, you can even carry two wallets with you, one with cash and non-essential cards, and the other with your license and credit cards. If you get mugged, simply hand over your cash wallet and keep your more important cards for yourself.

Tourists often stick out like a sore thumb, making them even easier to target. Try to dress down and act like the locals and you’ll be less likely to get your wallet snatched while you’re seeing the sights.

Although traveling isn’t inherently dangerous, any time you’re out of your element it’s best to stay alert and understand your immediate risks. Staying aware, traveling light, blending in, keeping your possessions close, buying travel insurance, keeping the lights on, and making use of padlocks and safes are all great ways to keep hold of your valuables.

Traveling provides many rewards including sightseeing, new friends, and exciting new experiences. Keeping your valuables safe allows you to travel to your heart’s desire, worry-free.

Western Safe & Vault Co., Inc. was established in 1945 in San Diego, Calif. Western Safe carries REAL safes … not false security such as your rock bottom superstore brands. We strive to make sure that the models we sell truly protect our customer’s valuables and not just look like it.

More Reading:
Survival Myths that Could Actually Kill You
6 Road Trip Safety Tips That Could Save Your Life
Adventure Travel Tip: Tricks for Lighter Travel

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