Now that international borders are opening up, it’s time to get out there and explore the world (again). But be warned, we tend to lose stuff, and sometimes things get stolen. Petty crimes, including theft, happen in every country in the world.
Losing your belongings is, at best, inconvenient. At worst, it could completely ruin your holiday. So let’s look at the three important things you must secure before you set out. That way, your belongings will stay safe and sound no matter where you go.
Did you switch off the oven before you left? A few years ago, people with that nagging worry had to ask a friend with a spare key to rush across town to check. Now, smart-home technology can eliminate concerns about mundane home security.
You can install smart blinds, switch lights on and off automatically, and even periodically switch on your TV for some fake Netflix binge-watching to make it look like you’re home when you’re actually on a beach in Bali.
However, smart devices must connect to the internet to work, and most devices are painfully susceptible to hacking. The answer is to route all smart devices’ internet connections via a VPN, which will also stop your neighbors from stealing your Wi-Fi.
You wouldn’t dream of going on holiday without your smartphone. Of course, if the worst happens, you’ll be able to call for help, but smartphone functionality is also a massive part of everyday travel. You must be able to read maps, make bookings, read reviews, take photos, stay in touch with friends, research destinations, or even watch movies while waiting for a flight.
Besides your passport, your smartphone (with highly personal data) is the most critical belonging to protect while traveling. Install an antivirus and VPN, and lock down those connection settings! Never connect to any public Wi-Fi network without VPN protection. That will keep your credit card and bank login details safe from prying eyes.
There are two more excellent reasons for getting a VPN while you travel: If you refuse to miss the latest episode of your favorite Netflix show, you’ll need a VPN to access it while you travel abroad. Also, travel websites use your location to determine prices. If you learn how to change VPN location while you browse, you can easily snatch better prices and special offers.
There’s always a risk of petty crime, no matter where you go. So here are the main ways you can defeat pickpockets and thieves:
Anti-theft suitcases, bags, purses, and backpacks have built-in safety features like extra locks, safety clips, straps, hidden pockets, and sneaky secret compartments. Choose crossbody straps for both purses and backpacks.
Wear the strap across your body, always positioning the bag towards the front and not towards your backside. Always press your hand on your bag, especially in crowded areas or on public transportation. You can even wear your backpack on your chest in dense crowds to prevent sneaky hands from holes in it.
Money belts don’t have to be bulky or noticeable. The newer lightweight band styles hug your body, are more comfortable to wear, and stay hidden. You can choose from roomy waist-pack styles, slimline belt styles, or even neck wallets. Ladies have a distinct advantage in the anti-theft clothes department because they can invest in a bra stash to store cash, credit cards, and other valuable items.
Don’t keep everything in one place. Always distribute your cash, credit cards, and important documents between several areas. Keep sufficient money for everyday expenses in your wallet or visible money belt, but spread the bulk of your cash between your bra stash and (hidden) money belt. Keep your credit card safe in an invisible money belt or theft-proof wallet.
It’s easy to withdraw local money in cash at ATMs, especially on arrival at airports. But there are always watchers looking for easy opportunities, so press up against the machine and use some sleight of hand to make it look like you put your money in your wallet or purse while slipping some of it into your money belt or secret bag pocket. Go directly to the restrooms and redistribute the cash and credit card between several safe stashes.
Get hold of an old wallet and load it with a few dollars, a fake ID, and a fake credit card (you can safely use those sample cards that credit card companies send you via the mail). If you get held up, you can give them the fake wallet, or if you’re worried about theft from your hotel room, you can leave the fake wallet in the room while you go out. Opportunistic thieves will pounce on it and be less likely to go through your suitcases and backpacks.
Avoid carrying your passport with you on daily excursions. If your hotel room doesn’t have a safe, you could ask reception to lock up your passport in their secure storage. Be sure to tag it with a tracking device and seal it with tamper-proof packaging before you hand it over. The alternative is to lock it into tamper-proof or anti-theft luggage.
Suppose you need to produce some form of identification while you’re out. In that case, you can keep your driver’s license or copies of your passport or driver’s license in one of your safe stashes on your person. And always store scanned copies of all important documents, like passports and credit cards, in secure cloud storage.
Try to make your expensive goods look like they’re worth less. For example, you could add fake scratches to your smartphone or wrap some sticky tape around your binoculars or expensive camera. Thieves might give it a miss if it looks broken or unattractive.
Another neat trick is to take a large plastic bag for your dirty laundry. Then, slip your passport or valuables into a smaller plastic bag and mix it with dirty underwear and sweaty socks. Only a few thieves are willing to dig through dirty underwear on the off-chance of making a score!
Tracking devices are becoming smaller and smaller and cheaper to boot. So stick a tracking device on or inside your luggage, wallet, or other valuable items to improve your chances of retrieving stolen belongings. Depending on the circumstances, you could use it to warn off would-be thieves: keep the packaging and display it prominently around your luggage and hotel room.
It may sound counterintuitive, but if prospective thieves know you liberally use tracking devices, it might make them nervous enough to pass you by and go for softer targets in the next room.
The newest technology includes such items as travel locks, RFID-blocking wallets, and portable safes that can help keep your things secure and reduce the risk of theft. You can also use technology such as GPS tracking to locate your belongings if they are stolen or lost. Additionally, online services, such as virtual private networks, can help you secure your data and digital life.