Security when travel is something to always be aware of. I’ve been extremely careful and thus lucky not to have had too many problems, but I know many people who haven’t had the luck I’ve had. When I travel, I usually travel light with only what I can fit into a backpack.
Airport: If possible, don’t check anything. Carry-on when possible. I usually travel with just a backpack so it’s easier, but even if I have too much to carry-on, I still attempt to take it on the plane with me and I’ve been lucky as they usually don’t stop me. Sometimes I’ll make it appear as if I’m carrying something for the lady in front of me. If I must check something, I take out anything of great value and put that in my carry-on, and empty my carry-on of anyone less important to make room. In the airport, NEVER take your eyes off your luggage. I usually carry around shoe strings and I’ll tie one end to the luggage and the other end I tie to one of my belt buckles.
Taxis: When taking taxis, I usually never put anything in the trunk as the taxi driver can easily just drive off after you get out, or you might also forget. If I must put something in the trunk, I leave the taxi door wide open when I get out and return to close it after I’ve retrieved my belongings from the trunk.
Bus: If possible, I don’t put my bags in with the other luggage. I’ve heard stories in some countries of people crawling around in the luggage compartments checking through bags. I usually take my bags to my seat and just put on my lap it’s too large to put anywhere else. Not comfortable, but safe.
Since most of my possessions are in my backpack, I usually never set it down and when I do I wrap the strap around my leg or foot. That way if someone touches it I’ll know or more probably if I get so drunk that I get up and start to walk off without it.
Hotels: I don’t count on the safes in hotels. I put a few minor things in the safe which I don’t care if stolen so that anyone accessing the safe will think that’s it. The real valuable items I hide somewhere in the room. I have found that some small furniture items often have empty spaces underneath which you can hide valuables. On top of closets or other tall items is another option. If all else fails there is often a good spot behind the TV at the very least under the pillow. If the bed is made so you can’t store stuff underneath, that’s the perfect place as people won’t think to look and there might be an inch or two space to slide stuff. Under the mattress is probably not the best place as that’s too typical. Inside the safe is the worse place for valuables as the most likely people to steal your stuff is hotel staff and they all have a key to your safe!
When sleeping it’s also important to keep stuff hidden or locked up. If you are in the room, the safe is ok as you’ll see anyone trying to open it, but just don’t leave the room with valuables in your safe. Also be aware that people might try to sneak into your room while you are asleep so make sure everything is hidden or locked up. I usually put my wallet and cell phone inside my shoes when I sleep and then put my dirty socks on top as I figure people won’t think to look in my shoe and won’t want to with my smelly socks stuffed in them. It’s also important to practice your security measures when having visitors in your room–trust no one as it’s more likely the person you trust that’ll be able to steal from you. I limit my visitors, and when I do have visitors I watch them carefully, hide or lock up my stuff, and I even go as far as taking stuff into the restroom with me when I need to go and leaving the door open so I can better watch them. I also have a rule that I never have more visitors than I have pair of eyes to watch them. So, if it’s just me, I can have only one visitor. If I am staying with someone I trust, then I can have 2 visitors, etc. I stick to this rule in my hotel rooms and even my apartments.
I’ve been lucky not to have many problems as I mentioned, but there were two times I did get something stolen. Once was when I rented a motorbike and locked a camera up inside the bike’s locked seat thinking it was safe. I didn’t realize that thieves know how to open the locked seats of motorbikes and routinely do so to check for valuables. Live and learn! Unfortunately, I got a video camera stolen with that lesson. The other time was when a group of girls approached me. I knew I ain’t that good looking so I figured they were after something and I put my hand on my wallet. Later I discovered they had taken my prescription glasses from my front pocket. Those glasses will be of no use to them, but they cost me more than the little money I had in my wallet. That brings me to my next point, understand what is valuable to you as some things you might not think of as valuable, but they might have sentimental value or the time spent replacing them might be substantial. I find it’s often easy to figure out what has monetary value, but requires a bit more thought to think about other value things might have.
Wallet: My wallet I have attached to a thin steal wire which I clamp to my zipper on my pants. It’s just long enough that I can access my wallet, but short enough that I’ll know if someone tries to take it from my pocket.
Only carry around what you need. I don’t usually carry my credit cards and I also carry just enough money for the night. With my precautions, it’s unlikely anyone will get my wallet, but I’ve found it’s best not to have access to more money than is needed as I’ve had one situation when I was being mugged and another in which a police officer wanted a bribe in which I was happy to show them what little I had in my wallet and offer it all to them–muggings and police bribes are much cheaper if you don’t have a lot of money on you because they’ll just take what you have.