Securing your Personal Belongings while Traveling

Top Tips of ways to Keep Valuables Safe while Traveling

One thing my family members mention to me anytime I go anywhere is to be aware of pick pocketing and keep my valuables safe.  While they are just giving me general warnings, its helpful to know the scenarios in which a tourist may be most vulnerable.

Getting Money from an ATM

This seems obvious, but really, how many times have you walked up to an ATM without looking at all the other people in line? Really make sure that everyone is at a safe distance from your and the ATM. Before inserting your card, verify that there is no strange protruding add ons to the card reader. Also look behind you to see if there are any cameras pointed towards the ATM. When keying in the code, cover your hands and go close to the display to hide any possibility of anyone observing your enter in the code.  When the transaction is complete, take the receipt with you versus throwing it into the trash bin next to the ATM.

Tourist Attractions within the City that have a high volume of visitors

travel-tips

For example, you decide to go visit the Notre Dame in Paris, and start to take photos of the beautiful church. Without noticing, someone comes to ask you for money to distract you. While talking to them, another person bumps you walking by and now your wallet is gone.  Pick pockets succeed by being discreet and sneaky. I’ve never seen a pick pocket walk up to someone and say “Look away while I take your wallet.”  Sometimes it’s the person that seems most helpful in a busy area. They are there to gain your trust or distract you while someone else takes advantage of the situation.

Watch this picket pocket in action.

Leaving things Behind

Often forgotten. When a plane lands, or your train is ready for boarding, or your dinner reservation is ready. These are all scenarios where you attention is distracted and you walk away from a location.  If you leave the plane and don’t check the seat pockets or underneath the seat, you may be leaving behind something valuable.  A good habit is to ask yourself to do a “quick check” anytime you leave somewhere. Checking out of a hotel? Do a quick walk around the room and look around. Under the bed, by the night stand, in the bathroom. These quick 5 minutes could save you a lot of heart ache later on.  I call it the 5 minute money maker. It only takes a few minutes to look for something versus a heart attack panic when you realize you forgot something.

Don't Forget to Double Check the Seat Pocket!
Don’t Forget to Double Check the Seat Pocket!

Paying for Food

How many times have you had dinner and not looked at the bill and handed your waiter a credit card? 99% of the time everything is ok.  However, there are those exceptions to the rule. Maybe the waiter is in a bind. Maybe someone is just a scammer. Either way, you could save yourself money by double checking what you have ordered and what the total bill shows.  This also applies to tours.

Booking a tour

Last but not least, if you are on location or about to go on vacation. Call three places to ask for prices. Don’t just go with the first one. If all three places quote the same price- then you are in good hands. However, if they are drastically different, you may be getting different amenities or someone is taking advantage of you.

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