No one expects bad things to happen on that perfect vacation they’ve spent so much time planning. Unfortunately, incidents do and will come up from time to time, regardless of how much planning and preparation you’ve done before your trip. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to keep your property and your person safe while you travel, to minimize any problems that could arise.
After all, there are lots of things you want to bring home from your travels, and identity theft just isn’t one of them. Check out these tips to help you get there and back safely with minimal interruption to your plans.
- Make sure your safe is safe! In a disturbing report, Fox News noted that despite the ubiquity of in-room safes, a lot of these trusted amenities actually have a default code – 0000 – that can cause them to open. Test your in-room safe using the code after you’ve set your own. If it causes the safe to open, look into other options to keep your valuables protected.
- You don’t need all of your documents to travel. Leave items like checkbooks and financial statements at home to avoid losing anything that would leave you susceptible to identity theft.
- Likewise, try to minimize the number of credit or debit cards you bring along.
- It might sound old fashioned, but traveler’s checks are one of the safest ways to carry money. If you’re unfamiliar, traveler’s checks are preprinted checks for fixed amounts, accepted as cash worldwide. They can be replaced fast in event of theft, and don’t have the vulnerability of a debit card linked to your bank account, or the 7-10 day wait for replacing a lost card. USA Today also notes that the checks are also free of foreign exchange fees while credit and debit cards are not.
- Take precautions with your mobile phone. Back up your photos and information so that if you do lose your phone, your content and contacts aren’t lost forever. Set a unique password, pin, or swipe pattern to prevent unwanted mobile access to your bank account and email in the event you lose it. Finally, consider setting up tracking features like Find My iPhone to give yourself more options should it get stolen.
- Pickpockets know about money belts. Really. They know by now how to steal them, too. As Lonely Planet points out, it’s also impossible to get anything out of them without taking off your belt and revealing it. The easiest solution? Try carrying less cash, or keeping your cash in more than one place on your person.
- Get an RFID blocking wallet or purse from a company like Travelsmith. Does your credit card, debit card, or ID have a chip embedded in the plastic? You passport certainly does. That’s an RFID chip, and it’s carrying readable information about you 24/7. Because anyone can buy an RFID reader and instantly access information like your name, birth date, account numbers, issue and expiration dates, and other information, an RFID blocking device is your best bet to stay protected.
- Make your luggage stand out in a crowd. That sleek black suitcase from Victorinox? It’s already gone. It’s a black suitcase, and everyone has one. A brightly flowered hardside or an International Orange backpack is much less likely to be stolen. Keep your valuables on your person instead of in your checked bags, and use TSA approved locks and luggage straps to reduce the risk of unwanted access.
- Remember to protect your home while you’re traveling. While you’re surely going to want to post photos of your trip, public details that you’re out of town make your empty home an easy target for burglary. Either limit your privacy settings to friends, or just wait until you return home to safely post your photos.
Make sure to do your research on the places you plan to visit. Travel forums like Trip Advisor can give great insight and recommendations of fun things to do, and places to check out on your trip. When it’s finally time to depart, you’ll be well-prepared, well-protected, and ready for a great trip!