Last July I had a rough patch on the traveling road. I have been traveling to different countries pretty often in the past 4 years. During this time, I’ve never had a problem with anything getting stolen or lost to include passport, wallet, money, etc. Not until last summer that is.
Within a span of 24 hours I accidentally left my wallet and iphone on a train in Belgium and was lucky enough to get it all back (what a grand story!) But then I had the wallet stolen from me within the next 12 hours at Tomorrowland, an EDM music festival held in Boom Belgium. What luck.
The beautiful human on the left returned my wallet and iPhone to me and went 2 hours out of her way to do it! Thank the lord for amazing, honest people!
A week after that I got my driver’s side window smashed in by some petty Italian thieves, which fueled my hate fire for the past 2 weeks because I was constantly being cut by shards of glass and was forced to endure a freezing trip back from Rome at night because of no window.
Which is why I would like to share just a couple of tips which should help you when you’re on the road.
1. Copies Copies Copies.
Nobody expects or wants to have their passport/wallet/phone stolen. Sometimes it can be shocking because these things are important to us, especially your passport in a foreign country. So, even though we can’t always stop the inevitable, we can make preparations in advance to help our situation out, if nothing else.
With that being said, you should always have a copy of your passport and all important documents. It will make life much easier because not everybody has their passport number, credit card numbers, etc., memorized. You should also have a copy (electronically or paper but electronic is safer and guaranteed) of your birth certificate and social security card even if you don’t bring those important documents on the road with you. To get a temporary or new passport from an embassy will require a few forms of identification. If you have all of your identification in one wallet and it gets stolen, having copies will help you prove who you are.
A final tip is that you can’t keep all of your important documents in one place. I’ve started putting things in different compartments of my travel back pack so if I get one thing stolen, it’s not everything!
2. Know the Location of your Countries Embassies in the area you are traveling
This is a military trick that sticks with me when I’m on the road. If you are in the military and taking leave to a foreign country, one of the requirements in the briefing is to have the U.S. embassies number and address written down. I think this is something all travelers should have tucked away, especially if they are planning to travel alone.
That way if your phone and information are stolen, but you had the embassy number written down, you can call them to find out information on getting there, what will be required when you go to get documents, and the hours. An important and very helpful site for traveling Americans or Foreigners planning to travel to America is travel.State.Gov which posts very important information about certain countries to be aware of (for example the Ebola situation in Africa and how best to avoid bad areas). I’m sure there are similar websites for other countries too!
3. Take less important information out of your wallet while traveling
We all carry things around in our wallet with us that are not necessarily things we use on a daily basis. Taking them on a trip with you makes them liable to be snatched and sometimes they are things you can’t get replicas of. For example, I have my student ID from college in my wallet. Even though I don’t need it I would be upset if it got it stolen, I can’t replace it, and I can’t use it for the student discounts anymore (hehe).
To avoid losing things of sentimental value, take them out and put them somewhere safe. Don’t travel with these things. You want them later, trust me.
Also, write down everything you keep in your wallet electronically or in your notepad so in the event something happens, you know exactly what you had with you at the time. Luckily when I had my wallet stolen a month ago the only 3 things inside of it were my debit card, license, and blood card (I always travel with my American Red Cross blood card, just in case something happens and I can’t tell people I’m AB+). Now I know that those are the only three things I need to replace. Easy day.
4. Get the Pac Safe Net for back packers
When staying in community hostel rooms there’s always a chance that the people around you aren’t as honest as you. Sometimes they just want your shit. One way to safeguard your things is by using a Pac Safe Safety Net to lock up your back pack at night or if you want to go down the street for a quick bite to eat.
Even just locking up your bag will make you less prone to thievery since there will be other people that don’t have their bags locked up. I’m not saying that hostels are dishonest places I’m just saying you need to be aware of your surroundings, and keep an eye on your stuff so it doesn’t go missing.
5. Think about your camera too!
I love and care about my camera so dearly, I occasionally have nightmares that it gets stolen. In my opinion, one of the worst things that could happen is for my camera to be stolen near the end of an amazing trip and all of the pictures and media I took gone with it. Which is why, I changed my camera strap from a regular cannon one to Pac Safe which has wires strung underneath the black material in case someone tries to cut the strap and steal it. They would need something pretty sturdy to cut through it. The links provided are to the actual pac safe website but I got mine slightly cheaper on Amazon.com.
For cameras and laptops you should also look into travelers insurance.
When you travel, your outlook should be– anything I have with me right now could be taken at one point or another, and I’m prepared for that. If you are too sentimental about something you feel like taking on the road, maybe you shouldn’t bring it.
This article appeared first on The Cassey Excursion.