Going on holiday or embarking on a travelling odyssey? It takes enough effort to actually make it to the plane, boat, bicycle or hovercraft you are about to embark on. After searching for the ‘best possible fares’, not getting those ‘best possible fares’, packing, getting insurance, vaccinations… the list goes on; the last thing on your mind is the safety of your belongings.
When you think of ‘safety’ from a holiday or travelling perspective you typically (and rightfully) put the safety of yourself and those around you first; avoiding dangerous situations and keeping your ear to the ground regarding violent and problematic areas.
In doing so, you often forget about the safety of your belongings which typically include a few items of high value. Valuables and their definition is often a personal thing; but in our opinion there are three key groups that travellers more often than not carry:
– Precious items and money
– Documentation (passports, drivers licence, insurance docs)
– Your personal identity
Below we have tried to provide some tips which if followed will help ensure the safety of your valuable. Ignore at all costs:
1. Research your hotels/hostels/cabanas
In our experience a large amount of reported thefts happen from inside the supposed sanctuary of your room. If you have a shared room or hostel bed then vigilance is typically turned up anyway; but even if you have a room to yourself make sure you check online to see if there is a history of theft. There are a lot of accommodation rating and feedback sites; we recommend using the one you have had the most success with in the past. Don’t just pick out individual events, but look also at the locations history and try to spot trends; a lot of similar complaints tell a story.
2. Don’t take them in the first place
Not much advice if you are reading this from abroad. But seriously; most of us wonder why we packed so many t-shirts, let alone brought two or three different watches. Now there are obviously some items such as passports and insurance which you need, but others you most certainly will not.
3. Lock your bags
Carry a small combination lock may not put you to the top of the cool list, but it will definitely help prevent you from falling victim to opportunist pick pockets. Most opportunist pick pockets operate in crowded, bustling, noisy places, preying on tourists who have their backpacks on their back and valuables left in outside pockets. Applying a combination lock to your bag will instantly prevent prying hands from being able to reach inside. Remember not to lock your checked luggage at the airport though or your bag may arrive with a big hole in it.
4. Carry valuables in inside pockets
Touched on above and definitely worth elaborating on; pickpockets and thieves will always go for the easy win. That usually means quickly opening (and in some cases cutting) outside pockets and emptying the contents. By keeping valuables to the inner pockets of bags you will greatly reduce your chance of becoming a victim.
5. Photocopy important documents
Admittedly these documents are mostly of value to you if your originals have been lost or stolen. It is often sensible to leave the originals in a safe place and travel with these copies. Ensuring that you have these documents at hand may aid your recovery of other valuables or may enable you to escape potentially difficult situations (some borders will flat out refuse entry without documentation). It goes without saying that these copies shouldn’t be kept with the originals at any point.
6. Be wary of key-logging software
We are all guilty of needing to check our online social status from one time to another. In the majority of cases whilst abroad this is done at internet cafes, for the most part safe and interesting social areas. Be wary however of logging onto online banking sites or completing personal details submissions before checking for key-loggers. Key-logging is a method of tracking every key depressed on a keyboard over a period of time; ultimately revealing login details for all manner of sites and applications. In the most part this type of software is hard to spot so look for virus software being installed and running, be wary of very slow computers and most importantly use your head.
7. Use a safe
A large number of hotels and hostels have safes available for use, these aren’t just for show and really do help to protect your goods. It is an ugly truth that a large proportion of reported hotel thefts occur from within ’locked’ rooms, if you are going to leave your valuables inside your room; at least lock them up.
Each of these tips for improving your holiday security are brought to you by Yale home security systems. Each of Yale’s Gsm alarm systems is installed free of charge by a Yale security point engineer.