For me, travel is one of the great joys in life. Few things make me feel more alive and living-in-the-moment than when I’m in another country, or someplace new and unknown, exploring a different culture, language or locale. But, with the highs of travelling, come the inevitable lows of potential theft. Yes, it is an unfortunate reality that the most popular and crowded destinations for travel are also the most likely places for thieves, scammers and pickpockets. And, even though we travel with less cash than we used to thanks to online banking, things like identity theft and credit card skimming are becoming all too prevalent. But, have no fear, oh wanderer of this little globe of ours. I’ve picked up a few tricks over my years of travelling, so I’m here to share a few of my ideas for anti-theft backpacks and travel accessories, and some tips with you.
Anti-theft travel accessories you need
One of the best and easiest ways to secure your valuables is to invest in a few handy, dandy anti-theft devices. While you’ll find a whole schwack of things out there, let me help narrow the field a bit by giving you a few ideas of what you really need.
A simple item-tracking device can be your best friend when you travel. These small, wireless gadgets attach to your keys (in the form of a key fob) or to practically anything else, such as luggage, a purse, your laptop, tablet or smartphone. The majority of these anti-theft, item-tracking devices work in tandem with an app, allowing you to easily “ping” a lost or misplaced item and find it by listening for the beeping noise. You can also use the app to track your lost or stolen item through GPS. One of the more popular brands of item tracker is Tile. These little square devices are rugged and durable, and unobtrusive enough that they can be attached almost unnoticed to your most valuable travel gear, such as luggage, cameras, electronics and more. And, each Tile can run a full year with zero upkeep, no battery replacement, no charging. When it’s time for a new Tile, the reTile program offers an easy way to upgrade your Tile to the latest technology.
Wallet with RFID protection
Pickpockets are a lot more techy than they used to be. Today, electronic pickpockets can scan your cards and ID without you even knowing, stealing access to your accounts and even your own identity! But, you can prevent their digital sticky fingers from pilfering your personal info for profit (wow, that’s a lot of P words!) by picking up a RFID-blocking wallet or purse. These travel accessories are designed to help insulate you from a very particular brand of electronic pickpocketing, called “RFID skimming.” The problem is many credit cards, passports, and driver’s licenses now come with embedded radio frequency identification chips. When activated by an RFID reader, these chips transmit certain types of information wirelessly, so you can verify your identity or even make a purchase without swiping your card (c’mon, we all do the “tap” for small purchases, right?). The downside to this is anyone with a RFID reader can access those chips and pick up whatever information they have without your knowledge.
Anti-theft belt or pouch
I never, ever travel without some sort of belt or pouch where I can hide my money or room key. Items like the Pacsafe Cashsafe 25 Anti-Theft Deluxe Travel Belt Wallet features an expandable zippered compartment to keep your money, passport, or phone secure. You could also use a money belt, hidden under your clothes, or, if you’re like me and travel frequently to beach locales (like my favourite place on the planet, Hawaii!) then you’ll need something like the Unique Bargains Water Resistance pouch, so your valuables are safe and dry when you are boating, kayaking, fishing, hiking, surfing, camping and more.
An anti-theft backpack
Another must-have for a more theft-proof vacation is an anti-theft backpack. These travel accessories are a step up from the usual type of backpack, and are designed to keep your valuables safe when you’re exploring the world. Most of these anti-theft backpacks offer a combination of features including locking zippers; hidden compartments, pockets or zippers; anti-slash shoulder straps; and some way to attach the bag securely to something like a chair. The Pacsafe Venturesafe Anti-Theft Backpack is a great example of a bag that’ll help keep pilfering pickpockets and thieves at bay.
Easy travel tips to avoid theft
You also need more than just a few accessories to keep your valuables safe when travelling. The most important thing is to be prepared (I learned that in Boy Scouts!). Many travel writers suggest that you make photocopies of key documents and carry those with you (then destroy the copies as soon as you get home again). You can also give a set of copies to friend or relative, so if you lose a passport or driver’s license, they can fax or email you copies.
Another great tip is to just leave your valuables at home. Seriously, you don’t need that Gucci bag and all your diamonds when you’re travelling. Someone is sure to notice and want to profit from your display of wealth. Go lowkey and don’t stand out as a good mark. And, just bring the amount of cash you’ll be needing for that day out exploring. Flashing a lot of cash around is also a good way to get the wrong attention on your trip. Don’t carry all your cash on you, either. Split it up and keep some back in the hotel in your locked luggage or better yet, in the hotel safe. The same goes for your passports. Don’t carry those important documents with you when sightseeing. Keep those back in the room’s safe, or in your locked luggage.
Lastly, just try to stay aware of your surroundings when you are in a different place. Thieves, scammers and pickpockets love to prey on the distracted or unwary tourist. So, keep an eye out for distractions like fights or sudden chaotic interactions around you that may be designed to allow someone to make off with your stuff.
Do you have any additional travel tips to share? How do you keep your valuables safe when you’re on the road? Let me know in the comment section below. Bon voyage!