Summertime is reserved for beach days, exploring cities and experiencing new cultures. With all the excitement around traveling and the relaxation of finally taking some days off, it can be easy to forget that you are in a new environment—and you need to protect your valuables, especially your money, while on vacation.
Pickpockets are everywhere, especially in tourist-packed towns in which people are more likely to be looking at their surroundings than keeping an eye on their purses and pockets. Pickpocketing is more common in European cities than in the United States—a list from TripAdvisor showed that out of the 10 worst cities for pickpocketing, eight were in Europe—but it still occurs in the US. To ensure your plans don’t get spoiled, use these tips to keep your money, phone, keys, credit cards and passport safe while traveling.
1. Leave the expensive things at home.
You may want to bring along your favorite necklace or that designer watch to look your best on vacation, but it may not be worth the risk—especially if it’s particularly valuable or sentimental. It’s best to leave your priceless items safely at home, but if you absolutely must bring them along, wear the jewelry or carry it on you instead of in luggage. At your destination, leave valuables in the hotel safe and wear them only at a special occasion.
2. Carry cash close to your body.
Bags and purses are easily snatched, and many men will absentmindedly put their wallet in their back pocket—but these are some of the easiest targets for pickpockets. Money belts have been recommended for years, but many of them are still easy targets—strapped to your chest under your shirt—or obvious and unattractive, calling attention to the fact that you are a tourist. The FlipBelt travel wallet belt has gained wide popularity as one of the best ways to hide money when traveling thanks to its lay-flat design and ability to fit not just cash but keys, credit cards, phones and even passports discreetly.
3. Don’t carry all your cash (and other stuff) all at once.
If you’re traveling in a country with different currency, you’ll most likely have quite a bit of money on you—but don’t carry it around all the time. When considering how to protect your valuables, its best to divvy up the money and carry only a portion of it at a time, making sure that you have easy access to some of the cash. Constantly exposing a hidden money belt may draw more attention; instead, keep some small bills and change in your front pockets or small purse.
4. Make copies of your passport.
If you lose your passport—whether forgotten on a train or stolen out of your bag—replacing it is a lot easier if you have a copy on hand. Make two copies, one for someone back at home and one to carry with you; a digital copy can provide some backup.
5. Use the safe in your hotel room.
If you have a private hotel room, your belongings are generally safe in the locked room. However, leaving your valuables out in plain sight may invite trouble; while hotel staff are generally trustworthy (just check the reviews for any thievery!), housekeeping staff may leave doors propped open when cleaning, which can create an opportunity for passersby to grab and go. Instead, use the hotel safe if there is one provided. If you are particularly anxious about losing a certain item, many hotel front desks will have a safe there as well—but remember to collect your things before checking out.
Having your belongings stolen can ruin an entire trip, so stay smart and protect your valuables while traveling so you can enjoy your vacation, relax and have a good time.