Bag Safety: 4 Rules to Secure Your Stuff. You’ve got a lot of cool travel gear. We all get it. $200 sweat-wicking merino shirts. A Macbook Air (with 3TB external HD). $700 Monclair Hiking Boots. Heck, even your underwear costs $40 a pop. You bought the best because you want to have the best trip ever, and even if you’re broke like that Proclaimers cassette tape I listened into oblivion (and IIIIII would stroll 500 miles!) You still wish to keep your continue knapsack safe.
So, listen up.
Here are four ironclad bag safety rules to keep your backpack secure from dirty, nasty thieves:
1. Don’t Be the Easiest Target
Thieves are super lazy.
Seriously. There’s no fracture group of wacky criminal misfits outlining to nab your iPad mini.
Nobody is twisting his mustache hatching a plot to swipe your passport and hair you in Prague.
No one cares about you, or your stuff.
While that might sound harsh, it’s also kind of awesome. A lot of theft is a criminal activity of chance on random, simple targets. Just don’t be that easy target.
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Bag safety is like the story of the two hikers and the bear:
Ever so gradually, one hiker takes a seat and begins unlacing his heavy trekking boots.
He slips them off and thoroughly reaches into his bag for a set of super-light boat shoes with wonderful traction, not to discuss the design for days.
The very first hiker slips his feet into the undoubtedly incredible boat shoes and takes a look at his pal. “You’re absolutely right. I can’t outrun that bear,” he admits with a shrug. “But…” he says as he turns away from the approaching beast, “I can outrun you!” he screams and charges down the hill leaving the other backpacker to his fate.”
What’s the lesson of this tale?
Oh yeah…and don’t be the easiest target.
” However …” he states as he turns away from the approaching monster, “I can outrun you!
But you want hacks and tips, right? Ok. Here’s rule #2 for becoming a theft-proof backpack ninja…
2. Hold All the Keys: Literally
I managed an off-the-books cash-only hostel in Rome for nearly a year. It was awesome. We had loads of fun, and I still consider it one of the best times of my life. I might most likely stop this list of travel ideas with this easy guideline and you ‘d be great.
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These were the days prior to Hostel World and “charge card,” so it was as dubious as you can picture. Shadier actually. I actually paid a law enforcement officer EUR50 every night for I do not understand what (my Italian was quite bad). We had a lot of things “go missing out on.”
Hostel Staff: A.K.A. “Other Broke Travelers”
It blew me away, however, a lot of individuals simply left their bags lying open with things all over. We had lockers, however just half of the visitors utilized them, and the majority of those didn’t even have a lock.
Naturally, things went missing out on, and I’m quite sure I understood who the burglar was each and every single time.
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I dislike to toss shade, however, the most likely burglars at a hostel aren’t other backpackers– it’s the personnel. The hostel staff isn’t the well-trained employees you assume they are. Most receptionists and bartenders are stranded travelers who burnt through their savings and are now working for pennies a day and a free bed.
This mixed bag of broke hippies, burnout festival-goers, budget backpackers that have run low-on funds, and Australians (those guys are everywhere) are exactly the kind of people that steal from other backpackers. Barring the Aussie (hey guys!) you’ve basically placed your stuff in an environment where the broke, transient people with zero accountability have the keys to your room. Not ideal.
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Get a Combination Lock
I constantly travel with a long-neck (the hoop part) mix lock. The long hoop makes sure that it’ll fit on the majority of lockers. Combo locks don’t have a key to lose (which you will) plus remembering stuff wards off Alzheimer’s—do your sudoku, kids!
Train Station Lockers
I’m likewise a huge fan of train station lockers. Many times you’ll have hours to eliminate in-between trains or showing up early for your overnight train. Train stations are locations for burglars, and taking your eye off your bag– or leaving it with a “buddy” while you pee– are terrific methods to discover it entered the blink of an eye.
Train lockers just cost a couple of dollars, and you can roam around the station, delight in a coffee or some food, and simply unwind prior to your journey.
Locker Nap Pods
Pro Tip: Those actually deep lockers can function as a makeshift nap pod if you remain in a genuine jam. Seriously. I utilized one as a makeshift hostel for 3 days throughout Oktoberfest in Munich a couple of years back, when hostels were over 100 Euros a night.
You just put your bag in the back, use it as a pillow, and lay down with your feet dangling out. It’s not glamorous, but damn, that’s cheap accommodation. Bring deodorant.
Train & Bus Travel Security
Keep Your Enemies Close & Your Stuff Closer
Given that you’re taking a trip with a continue bag (method to go) you have actually evaded the very first substantial theft difficulty while on trains– leaving your things ignored. European train cars, among others, typically have a little alcove between cars where you can leave your super heavy checked bag—unattended—while you squeeze into your seat, or car, 100 yards away.
The thin overhead rack only fits small bags, so don’t think of cramming a packed suitcase there. Banging your way down a crowded aisle with your 40kg bag will mark you out as a novice ripe for the picking.
Take all your belongings out of your continue and keep them in a day bag that you keep at your feet or in the seat with you.Loop your feet through among the shoulder straps for additional security.
The finest method to keep your little (and most important) products safe is by keeping them on you.
Like, actually on you.
Jacket With Zippered Pockets
I like to keep my passport, phone, and cash physically on me while I’m in transit, and not just in a front, or back, jeans pocket. I like to keep my phone, money, and passport physically on me while I remain in transit, and not simply in a front, or back, denim pocket.
I’m a deep sleeper and can sleep basically anywhere (check out that Munich train station hacks, above, once again) and I do not desire my passport falling out while I’m hectic
Invest in a thin jacket with at least one zippered pocket and you can dream any crazy crap you want with an absolute peace of mind. I like the thin, seam-sealed “Cranky” jacket from Nau. It’s awesome.
conserving Natalie Portman from an intergalactic area intrusion with Spiderman by my side.
For included security (and excellent company) search for a coat with a “passport pocket” on the interior of the coat.
One pocket for one item: it’s the way to go. Which brings me to my next theft-proofing point…
Rule #3: Get Organized
The organization is Your Best Defense
No one wants to hear this one, but it’s true. If you’re disorganized you are more likely to:
- Lose things
- Waste time
- Rush (which leads to all sorts of problems)
- Be a more likely target for theft
It’s harsh but true.
A sloppy packer with clothes strapped to the side of their bag, cables sticking out of every pocket, open zippers, bulging pockets crammed with four different currencies wadded into That method you’ll constantly understand where your passport is, and you’ll never ever risk it falling out while you obtain your travel plan or look for wifi.
Keep everything tidy with packing cubes and separate designated compartments. That goes for your personal carry items too.
I live in New York City, and every day I leave the house with me:
- A wallet in the back right pocket
- Phone in the front right
- Keys clipped to a carabiner on the right hip
- Headphones rolled into the back left pocket
- Right front pocket = miscellaneous
Obsessive? Sure. Theft-proof? Mostly. Organized and relaxed? Heck yeah.
Which brings me to money belts.
Cash belts, security wallets, fanny packs– whatever you call em, they look extremely dumb and I’m not a huge fan. But not because of the aesthetics
A money belt only works if you use it correctly. And no one does.
A money belt is meant to be worn either under your shirt across your chest (high and tight) or below your waistline under your pants depending on the style you purchased. That’s ridiculous. I can’t think of a grosser, less convenient—and less effective way to carry my valuables. The sweat alone…
If you need to get the money you have to flash everyone at the night market to grab a fresh (sweaty) twenty. And guess what you just did by lifting your shirt or unbuckling your pants for everyone to see? You might as well have just hopped on the nearest table and shouted:
“Attention thieves! I have enough money on me to be worried about you stealing it, and I’ve shown you exactly where I keep it. Please wait for me to literally pull down my pants so that you can take it from me or follow me and mug me in a less public place! Please don’t stab me!”
I actually have a money belt, and I use it a lot.
I keep a few different currencies, a backup credit card, and ID in it if things go poorly—and they have. However, it’s stashed in a secret spot in my backpack, not in my underwear like a moron. I wear it on the rare occasions when I don’t feel safe leaving it at my accommodation or I’m traveling in a super sketchy place (like Los Angeles).
Funny story: I’ve been mugged at gunpoint twice. Guess where it was? Near my hometown and alma mater, Long Beach, California. Don’t travel in fear, Americans. The US is probably worse than wherever you’re headed. This leads to my final rule: Relax.
4: Don’t Panic
Your Stuff Isn’t Worth That Much
If sage advice from Douglas Adams, patron saint of travelers, isn’t enough for you, maybe the words of an award-winning war correspondent, traveler, journalist, and all-around badass Robert Young Pelton’s advice on theft will be a comfort. Pelton has been to some of the most dangerous places in the world. Read about it in his fantastic book, aptly named, The World’s Most Dangerous Places.
The primary rules are: Be prepared to give away, lose, or not-figure-out-where-it-went everything you bring.
Secondly, learn from the locals: Where do they eat? How do they sleep? Do you really need a sleeping bag, a flashlight? Do you really need sunglasses? I strip my stuff down to the bare minimum with the full expectation that I’m going to give away almost everything I bring.
Man, I love that guy.
Remember that you’re traveling the world. Unless you’re in a Taken situation, losing your old iPhone isn’t that big of a deal. Try to find your zen and just enjoy life without it for a week or two. If you leave the hostel (or Airbnb) every morning clutching your day bag like it’s the one ring to rule them all, (my precious!) you’ll not only make yourself a target (see rule#1) but you’ll have a crappy trip.
Get travel insurance for your gear, don’t take your best camera and laptop unless you absolutely have to, and pack regular clothes unless you’re summiting Everest, you weirdo.
What’s that? Do you want those Buzzfeed to style theft-proof lifehacks? Alright fine. Here are three sweet travel safety hacks:
Wool Cap + Stretchy Belt = Incognito Money Belt
Use a wool cap looped through a stretchy belt as an incognito wallet, or a money belt. It’s perfectly safe for holding your cash every day, and I promise you, no one—and I mean no one—is going to try to steal your stinky wool cap.