Unfortunately, no matter where you go in the world, you risk losing your possessions to people adept at taking advantage of tourists – especially if you’re lost and confused trying to figure out where to go, or asleep on a night bus with your valuables on show.
With travel opening up following the coronavirus pandemic – albeit limited to a handful of countries – it’s wise to keep your wits about you in the rush to head abroad for some sun. Our holiday safety travel tips will help you keep your valuables safe as you head on a post-lockdown holiday.
12 holiday safety travel tips
Here are 12 precautions you can take though to ensure you’re not a walking target.
It’s a subject tackled in a new Quora post, and experienced travellers have shared some of the mistakes people regularly make…
How to stay safe as a tourist – 12 mistakes tourists make with their valuables abroad. Read our holiday safety travel tips guide to ensure your holiday goes to plan…
- Don’t keep valuables in back pockets
Putting anything of any value in your back pocket. The wallet-shaped bulge is so obvious.
- Keep your purse secure
Wearing a purse slung over your shoulder is a no-no – cross-body or backpacks (worn on your front in busy areas) are much safer.
- Avoid looking like a ‘tourist’
Not dressing like the locals do can attract unwanted attention. In other words, standing out. Try to blend into your surroundings.
- Give off an air of confidence
Looking lost when you exit a train station, bus station or airport is a dead giveaway you’re a tourist. Act like you know exactly where you’re going, and if you don’t, walk with purpose and fake it. The worst thing you can do is immediately get a map or your smartphone out.
- Separate out valuables
Keeping your travel documents, passport, visas, money and cards all in the same place is a mistake. If it’s taken, you’re screwed. Carry a copy of your passport in a separate place and/or scan and upload a copy of it to a Dropbox or email it to yourself. Carry a few extra passport photos with you in case you do need to get another passport while you’re away.
- Use a money belt
Not wearing a money belt might be less hassle, but they are a life saver. Buy a slim one (like a running belt) that you can wear under your clothes with emergency cash it in.
- Keep jewellery out of sight
Wearing expensive-looking jewellery, or an expensive brand name emblazoned across your clothes, can be a magnet for theft. You might want to consider wearing cheaper jewellery when travelling, leave diamond rings at home and buy a fake if you still want to wear one.
- Keep electronics and valuables in sight
Putting phones, ipads or handbags on a table outside can lead to problems. Even if it’s right in front of you, it’s too easy for someone to swipe. Put them in your lap or put the strap of your bag under the chair leg. If someone approaches your table trying to sell something (even inside) be careful they don’t put something down to cover your wallet or phone, like a magazine – it’s a technique used to swipe things from tables.
- Avoid carrying and using cash
Using cash everywhere you go can cause a holiday headache. Use credit cards as much as possible, it means you’re carrying less cash, getting cash out of your wallet less and most credit card companies will negate fraudulent charges if you dispute them. Use a credit card over a debit card because the money is much easier to recover if it’s used fraudulently.
- Stay alert
Not being vigilant in crowds at tourist hotspots or on packed public transport means you can be caught off guard. Thieves often use busy places to take advantage and sometimes work in teams to distract you or pass your valuables to each other. One distraction technique involves ‘accidentally’ spilling something on you or dropping something right in front of you.
- Be sensible on social media
Posting a photo on social media that shows a valuable item, like an expensive watch, and your exact location is a no-no. There are apparently people who now use Instagram to target high value items.
- Don’t check valuables in public places
It sounds counterintuitive but don’t check your valuables in crowded places. If you pat down your pockets or jacket where you know they are, or your wrist or neck for your jewellery, you’re telling everyone else they’re there too. One person posting on Quora says some people purposely wait near signs that say, ‘Beware of pickpockets’, because tourists will instinctively check their valuables when they see these signs, indicating exactly where they’re hidden.