Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

Published Categorized as Travel Blog, Travel Planning, Travel Tips
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There are so many things to consider when planning your vacation, so below we have listed our top 14 holiday travel safety tips to help you protect your valuables while travelling.

Safe travel is something that needs to be planned and prepared for prior to your departure. If you spend some time putting preventative measures in place to ensure your safety whilst travelling, you will ensure you have an enjoyable and positive travel experience.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on our affiliates / advertisers links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but at no extra cost to you. AND, many times, you will receive an offer. Win/win! The products and services we write about and mention are the ones we love. We only recommend items that we feel are of good quality and would be helpful to our readers. While we pay for our travels out of our own pockets, these small commissions do assist in keeping us on the road. Thank you!


“Where there’s property, there’s theft”.

– Uusulak.Le Guin – 

1. Get Travel Insurance

Of all of your holiday travel safety tips, this is the most important! Our best piece of advice for all those considering travelling either domestically or internationally, is to purchase travel insurance.

Even the best planned trips can be impacted by the unexpected. For us, travel insurance gives us peace of mind knowing we are covered no matter what unforeseeable events are thrown at us.

Top Tip: If you do find yourself a victim of theft, make sure you report this to the police immediately and you get a police report. In most your travel insurance can help you replace the item, or at least reimburse you for some of the value. Also, keep receipts of any kind for out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of an incident while travelling.

READ MORE: THE IMPORTANCE OF TRAVEL INSURANCE


2. Don’t Take More With You Than You Are Prepared to Lose

When packing for your trip, consider carefully what you ‘really’ need to pack i.e. expensive jewellery, tech gear you won’t use, all your credit cards / bank cards, large sums of cash etc.

Top Tip: Call your credit card company prior to leaving and advise them you are going on an overseas holiday.  Provide them with the details of the countries you will be visiting and the dates.  This will ensure they do not cancel your card due to unknown or suspicious activity and you can withdraw cash from ATMs or use your credit card to purchase tours, train tickets etc.

Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

 3. Anti-Theft Travel Gear

Travel Wallet / Money Belt

One of the simplest and cheapest investments you can make when preparing to go on holidays is to buy a travel wallet / money belt. This is the best way to keep your money, credit cards, and travel documents secure where thieves cannot see them, reducing the possibility of having them stolen. Travel wallets and money belts now come in a wide variety of styles to suit your own personal style and preference i.e. neck pouch, arm pouch, bra pouch / bra stash, leg straps / wallet, shoulder holster.

Top Tip: Spend a little extra and get a RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) blocking travel wallet / money belt to protect both your credit cards and passport from being illegally skimmed.

Search for Travel Wallets / Money Belts here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com


Theft-Proof Bag / Backpack

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from petty theft / pickpocketing is to travel with a theft-proof bag. Our favourite company for anti-theft bags is Pacsafe and we own, and travel with, quite a few.

Pacsafe bags are made with anti-theft technology features including secure straps and locking cables, RFID safe, smart zipper security, and a stainless steel wire mesh barrier making them slash-proof.

Top Tips:

  • If you are in a busy area or travelling on a busy train or bus, carry your backpack in front of you.
  • For greater security, choose a bag that can be worn across the body, not hanging over one shoulder.
  • Carry your bag on the side away from the road to avoid bag snatchers on motorbikes.
  • In any crowded situation, always keep a hand on your bag and again, keep it on the front of your body.

Search for Pacsafe Bags here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com


TSA Approved Luggage Padlock

When choosing travel padlocks, always look for TSA Approved Locks. This type of lock does not have to be cut open to facilitate airport screenings by aviation security agencies.

Top Tip: Combination padlocks are best so you don’t have to worry about where you have put your keys.

Search for TSA Approved Locks here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com


Cable Locks

One of our most used items in our suitcase are our retractable cable locks (yes, we travel with two).  We have used it at the beach, on trains, buses, ferries and to secure our bags in hire cars. It us used on a daily basis in our hotel rooms to secure our suitcases to a fixed structure of some sort i.e. bed, wardrobes.  We also use it to secure the handles of wardrobes in our rooms. We love it so much we have written a product review on it which you can read below.

BEST RETRACTABLE CABLE LOCK FOR TRAVEL: PACSAFE RETRACTASAFE 100 3-DIAL RETRACTABLE

Top Tip: A selection of zip ties is great for when you don’t have enough padlocks. While not completely secure, it is a deterrent.


Lockable Luggage Strap

Lockable luggage straps offer some protection and will discourage opportunistic thieves. We use TSA approved straps with a combination lock.

Top Tip: We have chosen bright coloured straps to make our bags more easily identifiable at the baggage carousel which provides an additional layer of security.

Search for Lockable Luggage Straps here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com


Luggage Locator

Luggage locators use Bluetooth or GPS technology to track down lost luggage.

Search for Luggage Locators here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com


Camera

When out and about, we keep our camera in a plain black anti-theft Pacsafe bag. From the outside, no one would know it is a camera bag.

Also, we have replaced all branded neck and hand straps on the camera with a plain anti-theft strap. This is just one more way of not advertising to would be thieves we have anything of value on us.

Top Tip: Always keep your camera securely in your bag or on your body with a neck or hand strap. Never leave a camera sitting unattended or on a table while you are having lunch or dinner.


Tech Gear

The one product that was recommended to us by a fellow traveller was the “Pacsafe Travelsafe 5L GII Anti-Theft Portable Safe”. It is a product we have used countless times to secure our tech gear in our hotel room.

This portable, 5L safe has wire eXomesh® technology and a stainless steel locking cable to anchor your things to any immovable object, keeping your laptop, tablet, phone, passport and more protected.

This “safe” doesn’t take up much room in your luggage, and is therefore really handy for travelling. You can lock it around any fixed or sturdy object in your room i.e. pipe, sink, bed frame, heavy piece of furniture It gives us peace of mind that our valuables can’t be easily picked up and walk off with.

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Search for Pacsafe Travelsafe here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com

Pickpocket Proof Clothing

Anti-theft or anti-pickpocket clothing is a new and developing market for travellers. These come in a variety of options and include:

  • Belt
  • Socks
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Leggings
  • Skirts
  • Shirts
  • Tank Tops
  • Jackets
  • Vests
  • Underwear

Top Tip: Hiding your credit card or some spare ‘just in case’ money is a must when travelling, and clothing with hidden pockets is a clever way to do this.

Search for Pickpocket Proof Clothing here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com


4. Only Keep Small Amounts of Cash in Your Wallet

When you are out exploring in a new city and you need to regularly take out your wallet, then only keep a small amount of money in it. If you have all your money in your wallet, would be thieves may see this and this could make you a target.

It is good practice when travelling to carry your cash in different places i.e. some in your bag, some in a hidden pocket, some in a different pocket of your bag, some at your hotel. This way you will minimise the risk of losing it all in one go. As mentioned above, pickpocket proof clothing is great for this purpose.

Top Tip: Don’t take more money out with you than you are prepared to lose!


5. Carry a Fake Wallet

I always carry a ‘throwdown’ or ‘dummy’ wallet in my bag that I can hand over if we are robbed.  This wallet contains some old store reward cards that look a little like credit cards, and some small denomination notes and coins.

Top Tip: Keep notes and coins from those countries whose currency is not valued at much for your ‘throwdown’ wallet.


6. Protect Your Passport

When travelling overseas, you should be very protective of your passport at all times. Consider placing your passport, along with your credit cards and cash into a money belt or a hidden pouch that’s worn around the neck and under your clothes.

Search for Travel Wallets here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com

Top Tip: There are very few countries that require you to carry your passport on you at all times. For those that do, we carry coloured photocopies of ours in our day bag to reduce the risk of misplacing them or having them stolen.

Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe
Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

7. Travel Days

Keep Things Close

On travel days, we keep all of our most valuable possessions very close to hand at all times. We keep our cash, credit cards and passports in either my crossover bag or hidden pockets in our clothing.  All of our tech and camera gear goes into our carry-on backpacks.

At no stage do we put any of these under the bus; or on a luggage rack or under our seat in a bus or train. Also, we never give these bags to a taxi / van driver who offers to put our bags in the boot / trunk of the car. We always keep these bag in our laps.

If we sleep on a train, bus, or in a crowded hostel room, we always keep our money, passport and credit cards on our person. In addition, we use our cable lock to secure our small backpacks to something secure or we sleep with them in our laps and our arms wrapped around them.


Secure Your Suitcases on Trains and Buses

When travelling on trains or buses, we always keep our bags next to us or within sight at all times. If this is not possible and our suitcases need to be stored away from our seat, we use a cable lock to secure our bags to a fixed structure.

Top Tip: If you don’t have padlocks on all zips on your suitcases, use zip ties to secure these zips.


8. Hotel Safe

Most hotels, hostels, and guesthouses have a safe that is available for your use, either at reception or in your room. This is one of the best ways to store your valuables such as our passport, extra credit cards, and cash.

Unfortunately, this is not a complete guarantee that your valuables will be safe, but it’s certainly better than carrying everything on you at once.

Top Tip: If you are staying somewhere without a safe, or the safe isn’t big enough for your tech or camera gear, a Pacsafe travel safe is a recommended alternative (see more information under 3. Anti-Theft Travel Gear – Tech Gear).

Search for Pacsafe Travelsafe here: amazon.com.au OR amazon.com


9. Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

When in a new city, it is easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of the sights and not be 100% aware of your surroundings. Thieves are opportunistic so by doing this, you are making yourself an easy target for pickpockets.

Pickpockets often operate in crowded places, so be aware of anyone getting too close to you, and try to avoid getting stuck in large crowds where it is easier for pickpockets to operate.


10. Don’t Wear Expensive Jewellery

When on holidays, try not to advertise your wealth by wearing expensive jewellery. This can attract unwanted attention and make you a more tempting target for thieves.

Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe
Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

11. Stay Alert in Airports

The airport security areas are s danger zone for your carry-on travel bags and other valuables. Opportunistic thieves count on you being distracted by all the chaos and watch for a moment to seize your wallet or zone in on your laptop while you’re being patted down or putting your shoes back on. Keep your eyes on your carry-on luggage at all times during the entire process to ensure your backpack or camera bag makes it on the trip with you.

The other area to be aware of is at baggage collection. Get to the carousel as soon as you can and watch carefully for when your luggage comes out. Distinctive or colourful bags are not a thief’s friend, so make your luggage distinctive with a bright ribbon or colourful baggage tag. This makes “accidental” claims by thieves less likely and might even save you a few minutes when identifying your luggage. 


12. Carry-On Luggage

When flying, don’t assume your checked travel bags are in a safe zone at all times. There have been numerous instances of airport baggage workers picking through suitcases for jewellery, electronics and other valuables. The safest option is to carry-on your most valuable items, and wear your jewellery.


13. Store Copies of All Your Documents

Whenever you travel, ensure you make digital copies of your passport, flight tickets, insurance documents, hotel reservations, and anything else of importance. Scan these documents and email them to yourself. That way you can get access to your copies from anywhere with an internet connection.

Keep your credit card cancellation numbers separately from your cards so if you are unlucky enough to lose your cards then you can still call up your operator and cancel them before any money is stolen.

Top Tip: Record serial numbers of your tech gear i.e. cameras, lens, iPad, laptop etc., or use an online application such as the My Gear Vault App which is a free app for recording this information. This will be invaluable if you ever have to complete a police report for insurance purposes or identify gear as yours if found by police.


14. Never Let Your Credit Card Out of Your Sight

If you use your credit card to pay a bill in a restaurant, in a shop, or at a hotel, don’t let anyone take it out of your sight. Cards can be copied very quickly and this could put you at risk of fraud.

Holiday Travel Safety Tips: How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

Holiday Travel Safety Tips – In Summary

For us, travelling safely in overseas countries is an art which has been developed with experience. If you follow the above 14 holiday travel safety tips, you will be well on your way to protecting yourself and your valuables from theft while travelling. However, there is no 100% effective way to prevent having something stolen or be the victim of theft when you travel.

The only way to reduce the chance of becoming a victim of theft is to always be vigilant, and take the necessary precautions to protect your personal belongings. It is also highly advisable to have comprehensive travel insurance.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND PRICES ON TRAVEL INSURANCE

Have you been the victim of theft while travelling overseas on a holiday?

Do you have any holiday travel safety tips to add to our list?

Do you use any of the anti-theft travel gear listed above and love it?

Please leave your comments below.


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Holiday Travel Safety Tips How to Keep Your Valuables Safe

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on our affiliates / advertisers links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, but at no extra cost to you. AND, many times, you will receive an offer. Win/win! The products and services we write about and mention are the ones we love. We only recommend items that we feel are of good quality and would be helpful to our readers. While we pay for our travels out of our own pockets, these small commissions do assist in keeping us on the road. Thank you!


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By Peta Wenzel

We are Peta (Australian) and Jonas (Swedish/Australian), a couple in our mid 40’s / early 50’s who have been travelling the world fulltime since January 2018. We met and lived on the Gold Coast, Australia and spent many evenings researching and watching YouTube vlogs about travel and dreaming of the day we would retire and be able to enjoy a lot more travel ourselves. Over the years, a number of events happened to family and friends and an opportunity arose which made us decide to not wait but to instead take a “Gap Year”. We are now in our 3rd year of travel and still hunger for new adventures and embrace the uncertainty that comes with full-time travel. If you want to know more about who we are, why we choose this lifestyle and how we do it, please follow our adventures and see how you can do it too.

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