Money Matters: Protecting Valuables

The best way to protect valuables when you travel is to leave them at home. Beautiful scenery isn’t one bit more spectacular if viewed while wearing diamond earrings.

But what about the valuables that just can’t be left at home: passports, cash, credit cards, cell phones, cameras, etc.? Here are some tips to protect the valuables you do take with you.

Before you leave, document valuables.

  •  Leave one copy of the documentation at home, and take one with you.
  • Make copies of your debit and credit cards, both front and back, and include bank contact information, and account information. (Make sure the trusted contact back home knows where to find your PIN, social security number, and other details, and that your bank and credit card company have the required authorization to talk with your designated contact if you can’t do it yourself.)
  • Document your cell phone account information and carrier contact numbers.
  • Take pictures of your camera, iPod, video camera, jewelry and other valuables. Note serial numbers and other information for police reports or insurance claims.

Theft on airliners is rare, but does happen, especially on overnight flights.

  • Stash your bag in the compartment across from your seat, so you have a clear view of the overhead bin where items are stored.
  • Turn zippers and openings toward the back of the bin, to make it harder to open them in flight without removing them from the overhead compartment.
  • Keep passports, cash, and other important items on your person – don’t leave them in a coat pocket, and then put the jacket into the overhead bin.

Remain alert for pickpockets or thieves as you travel.

  • Street performers sometimes work with thieves to hold your attention while their associates make off with wallet, cameras or purses.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and the people near you.
  • If you carry a purse (experienced travelers don’t, relying instead on a small daypack or stashing wallets and personal items in front pockets of trousers or jeans), keep it in your lap or between your feet when dining.
  • Make it hard for a pickpocket by putting wallet and passport in a concealed carrier that fits beneath your clothes.
  • If confronted, do not resist. Giving up valuables is better than risking injury or death for a few dollars.
  • Never count money in public.

Don’t assume that your hotel room, ship cabin, or rented apartment is secure.

  • Pacsafe  sells has small, virtually indestructible bags that fit easily into a backpack, and then become portable safes for passports, small cameras, and other items. When needed, hide them with valuables in a hotel room, secured to some immovable object like a bedpost.
  • Keep luggage closed, and belongings out of site in your hotel room or cabin.

Common sense, remaining aware of your surroundings and good choices in what to take with you are the primary factors in a travel adventure without fear of lost property!

Photo credit: / CC BY-SA 2.0

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