Unfortunately no travel safety tips will ever be able to completely remove the risk of anything bad happening on your travels however the good news is that travel is actually a lot safer and no way near as risky or dangerous as people, and the news, like to make out.
Yes there are some places that are more dangerous than others but in most areas you’re probably about as likely to be the victim of a crime like theft as you are back at home. In fact whilst travelling I’ve not yet had anything stolen from me and I’ve been on the road for almost two years on this trip alone, let alone all the trips I’ve taken before this one too.
The only place I have ever actually had something stolen from me was in England, my home country, in London. Someone stole my handbag, and on another occasion someone tried to steal my backpack in London too.
That’s not to say theft doesn’t happen in countries that aren’t your home one too, of course it does. There is a risk of that happening ANYWHERE. About the only place I can think of where that isn’t really a risk is Singapore where you can leave your phone on a table, walk away for 5 or 10 minutes, come back and it will still be there.
In fact when travelling, although at times the prevalence of theft may be higher in a location you’re visiting the likelihood of it happening to you is probably less than it would be at home since you’re likely to be more on your guard.
I am constantly aware of where my possessions are, who is near me, if there are bikes passing, how safe an area is, and how I’ll get home nowadays. That awareness is a direct result of traveling. I never used to even consider that back home. But now it’s second nature to me. I don’t live in fear, far from it. I’m just more conscious of theft now and have formed habits to help prevent it. It is important to adopt behaviours to reduce the risk of your posessions being stolen but it is just as important to create a situation so that if the worst does happen, and your things are taken, it doesn’t matter; to take action so that if someone were to steal your phone, bank cards, backpack, laptop or camera it wouldn’t matter. And it doesn’t take a lot to do that.
Your mantra when travelling should be that as long as you’re physically ok, and have not been attacked and injured, whatever has happened doesn’t matter that much. Your personal safety and health is more important than anything else.
Assuming you haven’t been hurt the there are three things that are usually the most upsetting about having your possessions stolen, or even lost, are:
Loss of things of sentimental value or that can’t be recovered such as data on a laptop or photos.
The monetary loss.
The annoyance of having to sort the situation out whether that is because of having to file police reports, make insurance claims or just even find somewhere to be able to purchase the lost item again.
I can’t help you with the third item. If one of your possessions is stolen or lost replacing it will probably be a pain in the arse. But you can stop it from mattering. You can make sure you won’t have lost anything of sentimental value, that can’t be replaced or causes you servere financial strain with these travel safety tips to reduce the impact of theft.
Travel Safety Tips to Reduce the Impact of Theft
Don’t pack anything you care about losing. This may seem like a no brainer having just mentioned having things stolen that are of “sentimental value” but the amount of people I’ve met travelling with jewellery that’s precious to them or even their favourite items of clothing is incredible. If you would be bothered by an item’s loss don’t take it. Anything you pack should be something that, if you were to return home without it would not be a source of upset. I thought I’d lost my entire large backpack at one point when Air Asia kindly misplaced it after a flight for two days. But what I realised when that happened was that it didn’t matter because all I would have lost were clothes that were of no sentimental value to me. That is the situation you need to create for yourself when packing.
Backup, backup, backup. For any electrical items you take with you, back them up frequently. If you’re taking a camera with you make sure it has wi-fi connectivity so you can easily and quickly back up your photos to your phone, tablet or laptop. As soon as you get photos onto any of your other devices then make use of a cloud based storage service such as Flickr to back the photos up online. That way if anyone were to steal any of your devices, who cares? You’ve got all your photos backed up anyway. If you’re going to be taking a laptop with you back everything up onto an external hard drive at home before you leave and then if you are continuing to add important data to it as you travel back it up to cloud based storage service and to an external hard drive, kept in a separate place to your laptop, frequently. There should be no data on any devices you own that isn’t backed up in a second location. Remember the aim is to make it so that if anything you own were stolen you wouldn’t actually have “lost” anything.
The way to prevent having a complete meltdown about the hundred of pounds it's going to cost you to replace your laptop, phone , camera or even all your clothes if your big backpack were to be stolen is to get travel insurance. For a lot of people this will be obvious and they wouldn’t even consider traveling without it however I have, in more foolish years, travelled without it in the past, either out of just forgetting or deciding it was too expensive, so I feel it’s important to mention. Fortunately I’m a little wiser these days and realise that travel insurance is never too expensive. Yeah it may be a lot up front but if it saves you having to worry if anything bad were to happen it’s 100% worth it. The fact that travel insurance covers your possessions for if they were stole is actually not even the main reason you should get it. You should get travel insurance for if anything were to happen to you. In case you get sick or injured and need to go to hospital or worse still have to be flown home as a result of illness. Medical bills can cost thousands in a lot of places and, as I mentioned above, the thing that matters more than anything else is your health and wellbeing. Nothing is more important than that. No money, no possessions. You need to be alive and well to carry on traveling!
Before embarking on any trip and whilst on the road always consciously try to create a situation in which the loss of your possessions wouldn’t matter so you can focus on worrying about the most important thing, you.
If you’re looking for travel insurance check out World Nomads who are known to provide some of the most comprehensive insurance for travelers.
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If you’re looking travel safety tips on how to prevent theft in the first place, check out my “Top 10 Tips to Stay Safe on the Road” by putting your email in the box at the bottom of this page and I’ll send you a handy pdf guide you can take with you on your travels.
Want to travel the world but have too many obstacles standing in your way? Everyone faces challenges to enable their travel dreams but you can make them happen. Find how to overcome the obstacles and what the benefits of traveling will be in my latest book Travel for Your Life which is now available on Amazon.
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I'm Chantell. I quit my job to travel in 2014 and it's one of the best decisions I've ever made. I know first hand how hard it can be to get everything in place in order to be able to travel, to know what to pack and where to go, let alone how best to go about your travels once on the road. Here I share everything I've learnt so far so you don't have to learn through as much "trial and error" as I did.
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