How to avoid theft while traveling? How to keep things safe from being stolen?
One of the biggest concerns when traveling is getting your things stolen. There is nothing worse than visiting foreign countries or new places and losing your stuff.
Fortunately, most theft is purely opportunistic, so taking some basic precautions can significantly minimize the chances of having anything stolen.
Here are some travel safety tips to protect yourself from theft on your trip.
Secure your belongings at your hotel
I usually keep my most important possession at hotels when going out. Resorts and hotels often have safes, while hostels and guesthouses usually provide lockers for valuables.
Most hotels and hostels have 24/7 staff on site. While they may not assume responsibility for any theft, they will generally do their best to prevent it.
If the item is particularly important, you can store it in the receptionist area.
Be mindful on trains and buses
Belongings are most vulnerable when moving around, so always watch your bags when you’re in transit, especially if you just arrived at a new destination.
If you have to leave your luggage out of sight for a short time, ask your travel partner or someone you trust to keep an eye on it.
Also, be careful with storing bags in overhead compartments in buses or trains as someone could take your belongings while you are asleep.
If you’re traveling by bus, keep an eye on luggage stored under the bus too. I always take a peek outside the window if the bus makes several stops to ensure someone is not taking my bags.
I also suggest getting out of the bus as soon as possible when you arrive.
One time in Croatia, a woman tried to take my luggage and claimed that it was hers. If I didn’t get out of the bus faster, my luggage would be gone.
Also, pack a small bag with valuable items and always keep it next to you.
Prepare a small bag close to your body
Instead of keeping money in your wallet and constantly taking it in and out, you should put small changes in a separate wallet to spend on errands.
As for cash, credit cards, passports, and important documents keep them in your waist bag or money pouch and then put on your jacket.
Buy an anti-theft bag
A great way to avoid theft when traveling is to have an anti-theft bag. While it’s generally more expensive, it’s an excellent investment.
If you’re traveling to a new place for the first time or visiting a country well-known for pickpocketing, it will save you lots of headaches.
Be aware of followers
When you go to remote places, especially in other countries traveling, you need to see if someone is watching you.
If someone is following you or is acting suspiciously, it is best to find a way out of their sight or seek help.
Be cautious with taxi
Using transport in unfamiliar places is also a matter of concern for travelers.
Don’t assume that a taxi is the safest means of transport. When you’re in a new place or don’t know the local language, it is best to ask the airport security staff or the hotel receptionist to find a reputable taxi company.
If you are more cautious, take a photo of the taxi’s license plate and driver’s license card to send to your loved ones if something terrible happens.
I always do some research about reputable taxi companies before traveling. Also, I prefer booking my rides through apps such as Grab or Uber to avoid overcharged and unwanted situations.
Avoid taking phone calls on the streets
If you must answer the phone, stand where you can see it. For example, I usually choose a corner or a curb with a power pole or a tree.
Holding the phone inwards and tightly in your hands, not sticking it out. Also, keep an eye on the surroundings.
Also, be mindful when using your phone in public, especially if you travel to developing countries. I once saw a guy get his cellphone taken away on a tuk-tuk in Cambodia.
Hide your most important stuff
Store your money, bank cards, and passports in hiding places.
Sometimes I also put expensive items in different areas, such as a laptop under the mattress, a camera in a beach towel, etc.
Don’t show off
Another way to avoid theft while traveling is not to make yourself look like a high-value target.
Leave watches, expensive jewelry, or anything else that says, “I’m rich, pick me, pick me!” at home.
Use apps to track your electronics
If you have a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, set up protections with built-in security apps so you can trace the devices in case you drop them or get them stolen.
Have backups of essential items
Make sure you have at least two ways to get your money. I suggest having more than one bank card and keeping them separated.
Also, save emergency contact numbers, the details of your travel insurance, and other essential information in an email and additional safe storage.
Prepare to respond
Come up with hypothetical situations and how to handle them when you are pickpocketed or approached by bad guys.
I recommend learning a few words in the local language so you can call for help, such as “Help me,” “call the police,” “robbery,” etc.