There is nothing worse than losing your valuables while traveling. It’s bad enough to lose them when you’re at home, but losing your passport or your wallet (or both) while you’re thousands of miles away from home is a special sort of agony and trying to replace those items can put a serious damper on your trip. It’s true that you can’t always prevent theft, but you can take steps to discourage it.
Ditch the Purse
Purses are easily snatched from restaurant tables, metro seats, and even right from your hands as you let your guard down in a crowded place. Try not to keep your valuables in anything that is not physically attached to you. Don’t stick your passport or your wallet in a purse or backpack. Invest in a money holder or a bag like the VentureSafe 150 that you strap around the front of your chest. If you absolutely cannot travel without a purse, make sure it has a zipper and keep it closed and tucked under your arm at all times. If you sit down, loop the handles or straps around your arm or leg so that it can’t just be easily snatched up while you’re enjoying a snack or a cup of coffee.
Going out for a Night on the Town?
Leave as much as you can behind in a secure place like the hotel safe. You’re much more likely to lose something while you’re out dancing or drinking. Leave ATM cards and hard-to-replace ID like passports behind. Take just enough cash for the evening and a credit card that can be easily cancelled if it’s stolen.
Don’t Set Things Down
You’d be surprised at how many times purses or backpacks are snatched because someone absentmindedly set them down while shopping. If you want to try on a jacket or look at something more closely, don’t set your bags down. Hand them to a friend to hold or ask the shopkeeper if you can set them down behind a counter or other secure place.
Technology and ID Theft
Wallets aren’t the only things that can be lifted while walking through a crowd. With the rise of personal ID technology, the risk of having someone steal the personal information stored in your RFID chip on your passport or credit card is increasing. Investing in technology to block out transmissions is a pretty good idea. Check out the RFIDsafe 50 RFID blocking wallet. Dealing with identity theft is not something you want to have to worry about while traveling. Seriously. It sucks.
I’m totally guilty of occasionally walking obliviously through a crowd with my headphones on or my nose in a guidebook as I read up on the best place to find food. Don’t do that. It’s not that you don’t want to label yourself as a tourist. It’s that you don’t want to label yourself as completely oblivious and–consequently–an easy target.