Top 10 Tips for Keeping Valuables Safe When Travelling

Lois Farley

When you travel do you take lots of jewellery and other valuables with you?  How do you keep your valuables safe when you’re travelling?  Every hotel tells you to not leave valuables in plain sight in your room and to use the room safe.  But what if the safe isn’t safe?  You can always use the hotel’s safe, which is usually secured inside an office behind the front desk.  Ensure you get a receipt for the items you deposited.  Most hotels are liable for items that go missing from their safe, but not for items in a room safe.

            

Here are 10 of our top ideas for keeping valuables safe when travelling.

  1. First and probably the best advice?  Leave your expensive jewellery at home!  Instead, take some nice costume jewellery or your less expensive pieces.  Unless you’re travelling for an audience with the Queen you probably don’t need that diamond studded tiara.  Even if you’re travelling to a destination wedding, you probably don’t need your very best jewellery, especially if it’s a beach wedding.
  2. Keep most of your valuables with you in a money belt or travel pouch that can be worn under your clothing.  There are even bras and underwear that have concealed pockets for carrying money and small items with you.  On beach holidays it’s not always possible to wear a money belt or pouch – what are you supposed to do with it when you’re in the ocean or pool for a swim?  So, for beach type holidays, the best option is leaving the valuables locked in your room. Or, split the difference and take some valuables with you and leave some in the room.  Take some money, your credit cards and a copy of your passport (either a paper copy or a picture on your phone) and your camera/phone; leave behind some money, your passport and the memory card from your camera with all your previous photos on it.
  3. Hide valuables in plain sight.  People often make assumptions about what they are looking at.  Put your passport amongst a pile of magazines, brochures, newspaper and paperwork.  If they see a pile of  magazines they’re not likely to look through it.
  4. Hide things in other things.  Collect cosmetic containers and dark plastic bottles once you’ve used up the contents.  Place valuables inside them, wrapped in tissue paper, plastic bags, sheets of foam or bubble wrap.  Cotton balls work, too.  Anything that disguises the contents and keeps them from making a noise that would indicate contents other than what’s on the label will work.  Keep these amongst your other cosmetics – rarely will someone looking to steal go through bottles of shampoo and conditioner, hand lotion, etc.  Put money and jewellery in a plastic bag and put it inside a bag of chips or other snack food.  Wrap non-bulky jewellery in socks, roll up the socks and put them inside a shoe, in the dresser drawer or in your suitcase.  Hollow out an old paperback, put valuables inside and have it sitting with a bunch of real books.  Get creative!
  5. Lock your suitcase(s) with TSA-approved combination locks.  Take a couple of locks with you and lock your suitcase(s) when you are out of your room.  Unless someone steals the whole suitcase or has lock cutters, extremely rare, this is often enough of a deterrent.  A TSA-approved lock is also handy on flights where you may, at the last minute, have to gate-check your carry-on.
  6. Pack a cable lock for your laptop or iPad.  These cable locks attach to your laptop/iPad on one end and to heavy furniture on the other. Or, put your electronics into your suitcase and lock it.  It’s always best not to leave valuables sitting out if you can avoid it.
  7. Use the “Do Not Disturb” sign strategically.  Hang it on your door when you leave your room. Unless housekeeping has already made up your room before you leave, this means you forego housekeeping that day, but it keeps hotel employees out.  You can always request fresh towels once you’re back to your room and is an unmade bed really the end of the world?  Leave the TV or a radio on.  If you’re going to be away until evening, leave a light or two on as well.  That way, when it gets dark your room will still look occupied.  Close or partially close the blinds or curtains, especially in rooms on lower floors.
  8. Use trackers for your cell phone and computer.  All Apple™ products have a built in tracking feature as do some Androids, or you can easily get one from the Android Market.  The find my iPhone™ feature allows you to remotely track your phone and lock it, make it beep annoyingly or wipe it completely.  So, if someone steals your iPhone™ it is useless to them when the tracker is enabled.
  9. Keep your room tidy. It’s much easier for things to be misplaced in a messy room – is it just lost in the mess or is it actually missing?  If your room is super messy it’s harder to keep track of your belongings and will take you much longer to realize something is actually missing.
  10. Tip the housekeeping staff/your maid.  Housekeeping staff are usually not well paid so even a small tip each day will get you not only a really clean room but a friendly smile in the hallway as you pass by, which is always heart warming.  It also builds a level of trust and accountability.  You can bet that your maid will remember you, keep an eye on your room and alert security to anything suspicious.
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