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I recently wrote a post about how I pack my laptop and other valuables. Now I want to further explain my anti-theft strategy and how I prevent my most valuable items from theft.
My Packing Strategy to Protect My Valuables
Travel Fashion Girl help! A reader asks:
“I have been doing lots of research on ways to be safe with money, credit cards, etc. From anti-theft bags to bra pockets to sock pockets to waist bands with pockets to infinity scarves with pockets to garters with pockets to camisoles with pockets to pockets you sew onto the inside waistband of your pants . . . you name it, I’ve Googled it and read about it! I would love to hear your experiences with any of the above and how and when you use them.”
It may sound strange but how I pack my belongings has mostly to do with the safety of the region where I’m traveling.
How do I know if a place is safe?
- I use Lonely Planet travel guides and they usually have information about safety.
- While I find government warnings to be quite extreme, I do take a look when I’m traveling to an unfamiliar destination.
- I Google it! I search for things like “tourist scams in Belize” or “is it safe to travel in Thailand?”
- Word of mouth also helps if you ask others, such as in TFG’s Facebook group or people that you know.
Based on the location’s safety, I then use different safety strategies to keep my valuables protected.
In Low Crime Areas
As mentioned in this post, I usually carry my most valuable possessions in my day pack but this can vary by location. If I’m in an area with low crime then everything stays packed as listed above. So long as this bag doesn’t leave my back or my lap I’m good to go.
I normally carry my passport in my daypack, but my cards and cash in my bra stash. This is my preferred way of packing.
What is a day pack? Find out by reading this post!
One reader follows a similar strategy, explaining, “I use a small secure crossbody from Travelon, and carry a stash of cash and a second credit card in a bra stash that I also secure with a safety pin. I do not carry any more cash than what I would need for a day in the crossbody, and use a credit card from my purse most of the time. I would also say that being aware in any city is a must, for both personal safety and the safety of belongings.”
Another reader adds, “I wear a bra stash pocket with my ID and two credits cards, as well as extra local cash for emergencies. It makes me feel better and safer!”
In High Crime Areas
If I’m in an area where crime is higher and muggings are common, then I split up my valuables because if one thing gets stolen I won’t lose everything. For example, I might pack my laptop in my locked suitcase along with my camera and place my phone and external hard drive in my daypack or vice versa.
If one item gets taken, I still have a backup that would carry me through.
In these high risk areas I ALWAYS carry my passport, cards, and money on my body while traveling (planes, trains, and buses NOT sightseeing) using anti-theft items such as underwear with pockets and my bra stash.
It’s always good to split up your cards and cash!
Please read this to find out about more anti-theft products.
Some of our readers use similar methods. One reader explains, “I wear a money belt on my butt across my hips and under my underwear. It sounds bulky but it’s a lot cooler in summer months!”
Another shares, “I use a Braza bra wallet for a secret stash of credit cards and a copy of my license and passport, both of which I’ve been asked for when making large purchases all thru Europe. I will typically attach the Braza to the front of my bra and it is undetectable. Sometimes I attach it (it has Velcro) to the side of my underwear. I have actually accessed it both ways in stores with no problems.”
A third says, “For years, I had a little zippered bag that I’d pin to my underwear and carry my money and passport in there. I just got used to doing that when living in West Africa. It saved my passport when my backpack was stolen in Costa Rica.”
Other Strategies for Keeping Valuables Safe While Traveling
While these are some of the things I do to keep my items safe, TFG readers have also discovered innovative ways for keeping items protected during their travels. Here’s what they had to say:
- I secure the zipper of my crossbody with a carabiner. It works like a charm. I also have my credit cards in an aluminum tiny tin that I velcro to the wall of the crossbody.
- I’ve used a zippered pouch that stays around my waist under my clothes. I have done this for years when traveling solo and only take it off when showering. It always contains one credit card, my driver’s license, and a little cash.
- I carried a Pacsafe purse for 10 days in Italy and felt safe everywhere I went.
- I use a small change purse with cash and my drivers license, main credit card and debit card. This goes into my pocket or bra depending on my outfit.
- I swear by my ScotteVest. I have several and have worn them everywhere, even when hiking to keep my stuff safe and on hand.
- Clever Travel Companion has a great tank top with 2 zippered side pockets. I carry cash and credit cards in the tank under my clothes and have always felt secure.
What to Remember About Theft
All you can do is take precautions to prevent it, but if it’s going to happen it’s going to happen. Just give up your things and don’t put yourself in a risky situation.
Thankfully, in almost seven years of full-time travel this strategy has worked for me. You have to determine what works for you. This is just a system that makes the most sense for my travels.
It’s important to note that I mainly use my daypack to transport these items for travel days on trains, planes, and buses. Once I arrive at a destination I transfer these valuables to my lockable luggage, hostel locker, hotel reception, or other safe location.
To learn more, please read my strategy on how I keep my passport safe while traveling.
How do you keep your stuff safe while traveling abroad? Share in the comments below!
To learn more travel safety tips, please read:
- Best Crossbody Bags for Travel
- Will these Safe Travel Essentials Protect You?
- Most Recommended Anti-theft Products
- The Best Anti-Theft Travel Purse
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