Securing your Possesions
One of the enduring realities of travelling is the concern of dispossession, whether it is insured or not it will invariably have a negative impact on your trip. Awareness and a few tried and tested tips may help avert any potential problems and put your mind at ease.
On the move
When you are moving from one place to another and you have all your possessions with you the potential to lose everything is obviously greater.
- Keep your money, passport and tickets under your clothing next to your skin.
- When travelling on buses take a daypack on board with your valuables.
- Always watch your luggage being stowed and keep an eye on it until the bus leaves.
- When sleeping on trains at night place every thing in your rucksack and then ideally lock it to the luggage rack above where you are sleeping with a cable lock. This will prevent someone from simply grabbing it and running away. It is also a good idea to lock your luggage to something even during the daytime.
- Be aware of any one befriending you and offering you a drink there have been cases of the drinks being spiked. You may wake up and find everything gone.
- Remember to take at least half your money in travellers cheques.
- Split money up, place some hidden in your rucksack. A good place is to tape it in an envelope to the internal frame so it is hidden. If you have an older style tube frame stick it in the frame.
- If the bus stops get out and check that no one walks off with your luggage.
- When arriving in a country it usually makes sense to get a taxi direct to where you plan to stay. Make sure you find the taxi rather than being found one by a local tout.
- When flying, baggage is rarely tampered with but obviously there is no guarantee. Any valuables that you are not carrying on you, bury in the bottom of you rucksack in the dirty washing bag is usually good option! Gear in the outside pockets is the most vulnerable.
- Using cable ties on zips is a good way to prevent tampering with the pockets.
- Rucksack 'safes' are now available these are an expandable wire net that you place around your rucksack and any attached gear and offer good protection.
- If your travelling in bush taxis or local buses try and get hold of a local grain sack and place your pack in it this will protect it from the elements and also make its potential value to a thief less obvious.
Staying in One Place
When you are staying in accommodation then there are different factors you need to take in to account. In many cases it is more difficult to keep your eye on your gear, as you might want to leave it behind where you are staying when you are out and about.
- If you don't want to carry all your cash then first find out if there is any safe facility. Remember to deal with employees of the hotel, in this case the owner or manager should be consulted and obtain a receipt on company letterhead if possible.
- Split money up carrying some with you, leaving the rest in your luggage under the wardrobe etc. Often if there is a foam cushion with a zip cover you can slice a slit into the foam and leave some of your valuables there.
- When you go out place any 'valuables' (clocks, watches, radio etc) in a draw so that there is less evidence of your apparent 'wealth'.
- When you first go into your room check that the windows can be fastened securely.
- Lock your door and windows (usually in hot countries there will be shutters that still let air in) at night and leave the key half turned in the lock.
- If you are going out at night then in a lot of countries it is necessary to take a taxi to your destination. This is especially the case if you are female even if travelling in groups.
- Pickpockets tend to frequent busy places, markets, railway stations etc. so you need to be particularly aware here. Never carry any thing in you back pockets and only carry enough money for you day in other pockets. You should never take cash out of a money belt hidden under your clothing in public. If you are running low on funds then find a toilet or go back to your room and transfer your money in privacy.
- Avoid wearing even the cheapest jewelry or watch. Carry an old digital watch in your pocket.
- Bum bags should not be worn
Sourced from Paddy Pallin