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Protecting your Valuables While Traveling

By Charles Hopkins Published 12/9/2013 | Travel

Rampant thefts in travel have been a strong deterrent to spotless vacation tours in the US. Even short trips can sometimes get spiky with the anxiety that there may be a crook around and you have valuables to mind. In case you finish up with some of your valuables stolen, the entire fun is gone. Some people advise getting insured. That somehow doesn’t heal the wound, especially when associated hassles are taken into account. This brings us back to the ancestral advice: a stitch in time saves nine. One can rest pretty much easy during travel if a few precautions are taken beforehand. A systematic approach can be taken to protect your valuables while traveling. Remember a few points while planning a trip.

While packing up, take only those valuables that you absolutely need to, and hide them intelligently. Save cash by not carrying it, as far as possible. These days debit/credit cards are handy. In case you have to move with traveler’s checks, always make list of the numbers of the checks and keep a copy of them in a separately accessible place. Keep a note of those checks that you've already encashed. Try drawing only small cash from ATMs and carefully put away your cards after use, preferably unseen by others. Try to keep the valuables on your person – use either inside pockets or money belts tucked with the inner garments.

There should be a permanent photocopy of the driver’s license and the passport identification page kept in some safe custody back at the office/residence. A photo copy of the air tickets, credit cards and accompanying testimonials should be left at home while you carry the originals, stored separately from the valuables. When stopping for the night, such articles should be submitted to a hotel safe to keep them out of reach of intruders. Handbags, back pockets, out side pockets and fanny bags are easy targets. Do not keep valuables in them.

The luggage should be in sight during checking in and out, and at places of transit such as hotels or lounges. Never leave your room key unattended; leave it along with your picture ID with the person officially at the reception desk. Use the maid service only through the reception desk. It is wise to keep the TV or radio on while away from the hotel room, to mislead potential intruders into believing that the room is occupied.

Be alert at the luggage security check-in points at airports, for these are slippery spots where people often become careless of wallets and handbags.
You have to be especially careful if you are carrying a laptop. Disguise it and never lose sight of the case containing it. Do not go out of touch with it, especially at the airport or hotel lockers or counters. Never leave your computer and other valuables with the checked baggage or on the seat unattended. The passwords, access phone numbers, or phone credit card numbers must not be stored on the machine insecurely. Leave them at the hotel only if you have to, and that too only if it is possible to make it inaccessible for others in a safe out-of-the-way place. But beware – even those places aren't immune from the peeping eye of official intelligence in certain countries. Keeping laptops safe in a foreign country is often very difficult unless the owner is extra careful.
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