Travel Safety Tip: 5 Ways To Keep Your Valuables Safe When Jetsetting
Going on a vacation is fun; but all the excitement and preparation will be for naught if you lose some precious items along the way. With all the hotel transfers, plane hopping, and traveling that comes with enjoying a new place comes the greater responsibility you must over your belongings.
It’s very easy to lose stuff, either by accidentally forgeting about them or being robbed, when your mind is distracted by all the nice experiences around. That alone could ruin your entire vacation. So, how do you make sure that all your valuables are safe when you’re out and about?
Many travel experts advise that you should not bring anything valuable when you travel, at least nothing you’re not okay with losing. That means taking less jewelry (or none at all, if that can be helped), fewer gadgets, and toning down on the contents your luggage. This is excellent advice. But when you are in a situation where you will need to bring a laptop, antiques to sell, important documents and contracts, gifts, or other expensive items, you need to be extra on-guard.
Here are 5 ways to ensure that your valuables stay intact even as you keep hopping from one city to another.
- Don’t pack your valuables. Carry them with you.
The best way to ensure that your important items are safe and sound is to keep an eye on them at all times. That means carrying them with you in your bag instead of placing them inside your luggage. Especially if you’re carrying fragile items or collectibles, it’s always smartest to include them in your carry-on. If it’s a breakable piece that requires a customized case, don’t check it in. Instead, just slip it under your seat or secure them between your feet in the plane, bus, or train.
The smaller valuables like credit cards, your travel documents and your cash should be close to your body where they can be accessed easily. However, do keep them in special pockets that keep them hidden. This is where a money belt or a body bag comes in handy. So in case you doze off, you can feel safe knowing that they are just on your person throughout the trip.
- Lock your checked bags
When you really have no choice but to check your valuables in with the rest of your luggage, make sure that the bags are locked and difficult to open. A TSA-approved bag will give you more peace of mind than a regular lock and key system that can be easily picked or dislodged. You can also use a coded lock so only you can access the contents.
While placing your items with your checked bags is not the safest way to travel, locks reduce the risk of theft. There still have been plenty of reports on missing gadgets, cash, medicines and jewelry from checked luggage so this is not 100 percent effective. But if it really can’t be helped, locks make a pretty good deterrent against someone who is out to target travelers’ bags.
- Mail your stuff, instead.
If you are not confident about the security of your things during travel, you can opt to mail them to yourself instead. Place them in a box and have them shipped to your destination, so you don’t have to worry about them throughout the trip. On your way back, you can do the same. Of course, transact only with a reputable courier service. Aside from the promise of safely bringing your items to your preferred address, most couriers also offer insurance for valuables.
The main point in shipping your stuff is sparing yourself from the effort of lugging things around and keeping close watch over them throughout the journey. You can also instruct the delivery service to release the item only to you or to a person you trust. Another advantage of direct mail is getting a guaranteed arrival date and schedule.
- Invest in locks to secure your bags to luggage racks
Traveling by bus or train often means leaving your luggage at a designated space, mostly because of the narrow legroom. While some trains have overhead storage areas, you can’t always be too sure with all vehicles. One way to secure your bag in case you get distracted or fall asleep during the ride is to get a bike or luggage lock.
When would-be thieves see that your bag is locked to your seat, to the bar, or to the racks, there is a slimmer chance of it being snatched away. Be careful to lock your items inside in the case first, and then loop the cable around the handles and through your lock again for maximum safety.
- Get travel insurance before you leave
Travel insurance is a smart and practical way of making sure your stuff is covered during the trip. This usually works for the general items, but might not be favorable to you if you lose expensive things, like family heirlooms, jewelry and antiques. Insurance covers most items but place a ceiling amount on individual pieces that may be way lower than your stuff’s actual value. For example, while your grandmother’s wedding ring might actually be worth $2,000, insurance firms might have a policy of placing $1,000 cap on jewelry thefts. Some insurance firms will even ask you to present an original receipt for your item (but who keeps those around, right?). This could be problematic.
Regardless, this is still something that you should take against your valuables before you head off. Travel insurance can involve tedious paperwork and appraisals, but that’s better than not getting coverage at all. When it does happen that your valuables get stolen during the trip, surely you’ll still be glad that insurance covers a fraction of its value.
Overall, while you cannot really fully protect your valuables during travel, these tricks will help significantly reduce the likelihood that they will get lost, misplaced, or stolen. When it comes to moving around with important and expensive stuff, it pays to prepare and be proactive.