Traveling is such an exciting time. So exciting that we sometimes put on blinders and forget about what could go wrong. To ensure a good trip isn’t ruined, follow these tips when traveling, especially to another country.
1) Use luggage locks.
With all the new TSA regulations in recent years, there’s a misconception that we can no longer lock our luggage. This is not true. Luggage locks can be used as long as they are TSA friendly, meaning TSA’s key can open it. Luggage locks can be found at any major retailer, and are either combination or key locks. The lock and packaging should note either “TSA-Approved,” “TSA-Accepted,” or something similar.
2) Make copies of ID & Credit Cards.
Make copies of your passport, license, debit card, and credit cards (front and back) you’ll have with you on your trip. Keep the copies separate so if you lose something, you still have the copy for emergency. Typically, I’ll carry the copies in my carry-on in transit, but will leave them in my locked luggage or hotel safe separate from me once at my destination. I also take a photo of my passport on my phone for an extra backup. If you lose your ID, having a copy is better than nothing.
3) Keep your valuables close.
After returning from Italy, I’ve seen crowds in Rome that are a thief’s dream. A thief could easily grab your bag, and disappear in seconds. Especially important in crowded cities, try to avoid large purses that can easily be grabbed off of your arm. Your best bet is a bag that straps across your body, or a money belt that is under your clothes. You can also purchase a travel pouch that is worn around the neck. Another option is the infamous fanny pack, which I’ve surprisingly seen plenty of people rocking when I was in Rome.
4) Be weary of overly friendly strangers.
It’s nice to talk to locals in a new place, and it’s one thing for someone to strike up a convo at the bar. However, there are cases when it’s just too obvious your best interests are not present. I never would have believed this or mentioned it unless I had experienced it for myself, so I’ll explain.
While enjoying a stroll above the Spanish Steps of Rome, we noticed a few sketchy characters looking our way. Pat had his camera around his neck, and I just carried a small bag with strap across my body. One of them tried starting a convo with us, but it was obvious he wanted something from us. Typically, so I’ve heard, thieves will work in groups. One will distract you, while another picks your pocket or grabs your bag. It may seem like paranoia, but they’re out there. This isn’t intended to scare you from traveling, just to make you aware.
5) Use the safe in your Hotel Room
This should be a no brainer, but it’s something offered in your room that should be taken advantage of. On one of our group travels we did hear of someone having something stolen from their room. It’d be naive to think it couldn’t happen to you. Why worry? Just put your valuables and extra cash in the safe. As an extra precaution, we usually decline maid service all together. Call us crazy, but why worry?