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Generally speaking, traveling is a wonderful experience but occasionally things such as theft do happen. Read one traveler’s story on how her purse was stolen in broad daylight and the steps she wishes she had taken to prevent the incident from occurring.
Travel Safety Tips
Written by: Annie Jarvis
During my 5-month solo adventure in Southeast Asia, my bag was snatched in broad daylight by a passing motorbike.
While I had taken a number of precautions to ensure this didn’t happen, there was definitely more that could have been done. Traveling solo can be a rewarding and exciting challenge, but it can also be rather daunting. Read these four travel safety tips and how they could’ve helped me avoid having my bag stolen:
Locking My Passport
My passport was my most important and valuable possession during my travels and while I was devastated by the loss of everything else I was unbelievably grateful to myself for not carrying it around with me. If I’d been carrying my passport on me the day I was mugged, it would be long gone with my other possessions.
Luckily, I’d followed the advice of a number of travelers – including Travel Fashion Girl – and had locked my passport in the hostel locker.
Although it isn’t always necessary to lock everything away (if you go on a day trip you may want your phone and camera), I know that I could have spent a little more time ensuring I only had the bare necessities on me when leaving the hostel.
Because your passport is one of your biggest valuables, I’d consider this to be the most important of these travel safety tips.
Read this post to learn how to keep your passport safe while traveling.
One of the biggest things I have learnt from my experience is to separate my valuable items and keep those I do not need locked away.
Unfortunately the purse that was stolen was carrying both my credit card and my debit card (the only two cards I had on my trip). This meant that I had absolutely no way of taking money out of the bank and created the hassle of having to constantly visit Western Union.
From now on I know to separate my cards and leave one with my passport (along with emergency cash), ensuring I am able to access money even if the worst should happen.
As well as packing more appropriately one of the most important lessons I have learnt is to not get lazy. No matter how hung-over you are or how comfortable you feel if you start to act careless with your possessions someone will notice.
On the day I was mugged I had my handbag hanging over the shoulder closest to the road. This made me an easy target, which is why my possessions were taken and no one else’s.
From that point on I ensured that my bag was fastened securely with the strap across my body and I walked with my purse away from the road.
For extra precaution, try using anti-theft travel bags like these.
The biggest thing I learned from this experience is that everything is replaceable.
I came out feeling stronger; knowing I’d learned a few valuable lessons and also that I could carry on traveling once everything was sorted.
However, had I taken a few extra precautions and followed these travel safety tips, I may well have prevented myself from being robbed. If I follow this advice in the future I know that should the worst happen, it will make moving forward that little bit easier.
The secret to traveling light is to create a functional but minimalist capsule wardrobe. Learn more in my guide!
In addition to the safety tips shared above such as carrying your bag away from the road and splitting up your valuables, some female travelers also like using anti-theft bags to deter pick pockets. These are the most popular styles:
The 5 Best Anti-Theft Travel Bags for Women
An anti-theft purse is a purse with built-in safety features. It’s designed to help you avoid becoming a victim of theft at home or abroad. Pick pockets tend to target busy tourist areas in large cities all over the world; some female travelers feel safer with an anti-theft purse vs a regular purse.
While they are optional and not always a necessity, anti-theft travel bags can help protect your belongings by making it more difficult for thieves to slash through your bag or cut the strap.
To learn more about anti-theft purses, please read this article for more information.
Watch the video above for more tips on how to keep your stuff safe while traveling.
Whether you choose to travel with one of these anti-theft travel bags for women or a regular purse, follow these precautions:
- Choose a cross body purse and always wear the strap across your body; don’t wear the strap hung over one shoulder.
- Avoid carrying all your valuables (including your passport) in your travel purse in busy tourist areas or when attending markets or festivals.
- Use additional anti-theft products like a bra pouch or money belt to hide the majority of your cash. Only carry the money in your wallet that you’ll need for the day. See a full listing of anti-theft products here!
- Have your bag positioned towards the front, not against your back side when walking.
- Hold your purse close to you when in crowded trains or public transportation.
- Avoid walking next to the street where your travel purse could be yanked from your arm by a motorbike or vehicle.
- Look up scams and thefts in your travel destination. For example, search topics like “Bali scams” or “Tourist theft risks in London”.
Watch my video on TPSY TV for a few more anti-theft products.
Items featured in video (in order as shown)
Please note: These travel safety tips and anti-theft products are meant to encourage cautious travel but cannot guarantee that theft won’t occur.
Editor’s Note: These stories are not meant to scare you. That’s the last thing we want you to feel — the world is a much safer place than we give it credit for. It’s good to be well-informed and cautious, but please don’t feel paranoid.
Fortunately, in over nine years of full time travel I’ve never had my travel bags, purse, or any other belongings stolen (so far). So, while theft does occur, it shouldn’t deter you from enjoying your travels.
While theft isn’t 100% avoidable, you can take smart precautions to avoid it as and stay safe at home and abroad.
Do you have any travel safety tips to share? Please comment below!
For more travel tips, please read:
- The Best Anti-theft Travel Purses
- Will these Safe Travel Essentials Protect You?
- Most Recommended Anti-theft Products
- Keeping Your Valuables Safe Abroad
We hope you liked these travel safety tips. Please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Thanks for reading!
Author Bio: Annie Jarvis is relatively new to the traveling world and has just completed a five month journey around South East Asia, India and the US. She loves diving, skiing, cooking and hiking and in particular she loves to write about her adventures on her Refreshing the Page blog.