Ever heard the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” It definitely applies to theft. Everyone going abroad should have a plan in place just in case their wallet, passport, backpack or suitcase is lost or stolen. Being pickpocketed or robbed abroad is a major buzz kill. Have a plan in hand so you don’t derail.
Here are a few tips and ideas to keep your stuff abroad:
- Google the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Crime Report for the area you are visiting to identify and avoid high crime areas.
- Be on higher alert at airports and train stations which are especially problematic. Jet lag and sleepless flights can place a traveler in a situation where their guard is down. A savvy traveler keeps their head in the game.
- If you see a “Pickpocket Area” sign like the one above, don’t check on your wallet by touching it. That’s like putting a spotlight on your money. Let people around you know that you see them. Eye contact is a great deterrent. Nodding and smiling help, too.
- Wear pickpocket-proof clothes: Money belts and inner pouches are helpful to ward off thieves, but they’re sometimes cumbersome or unfashionable. This clothing company sells clothes for all destinations and occasions, designed to deter pickpockets. Their P^cubed Pick Pocket Proof Pants™ were inspired by a real incident with a pickpocket in China. They’re designed to keep prying fingers out, but still allow you to access your stuff at a moment’s notice.
- Lock up that bag: For the sake of your laptop, your good shoes and your treasured, limited-edition copy of your favorite YA dystopian novel, you need to guard your bags. You can’t sit on your backpack all the time, so when you can’t, make sure it’s not an easy hack. Use TSA approved luggage locks, luggage straps or even luggage cages to make it hard to break into your belongings. Remember: the TSA will have to get into your bag before you get to your destination. Install your anti-theft guards after you pass muster at the airport. And remember, whenever you can, keep your bag with you.
- If you don’t need it, don’t bring it: Your most treasured belongings are safer at home or in a hotel room safe than out on the street with you. If you don’t need your laptop while you’re hitting the bricks, don’t haul it around in a backpack.
- Insure your property: If you should have something something stolen, trip insurance can replace your stuff. Some major credit cards like American Express offer replacements for lost or stolen belongings. Check before assuming you have coverage.