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Security while travelling

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Got any lightweight, anti theft suggestions?
11 years ago, May 27th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #74068  
I'm halfway through acquiring the stuff I need for my travels. My biggest concern is the security of my stuff, especially on long haul train trips for example. I've found a website called 'pacsafe' which seems to have some great anti theft devices, but when I saw some of them in person I was surprised at how heavy they are. I was wondering if you think any of the below products are worth having. And especially if you had another, more light weight but equally secure (eg, slashproof) product that works for you? All suggestions gratefully investigated!

1) The adjustable cable lock is quite heavy but it looks like the safest way to secure my bag to something.

2) The standardcable lock seems a bit small to secure my bag do you think?

3) Another website suggested a travel wallet with chain as being safer, but I tend not to wear belts so is it an unnecessary security measure? Reply to this

11 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #74124  
A simple bike combination lock. Available cheaply in your local bike shop. You can then attach your bag to the railings or luggage rack on buses and trains and in hostels if you are worried.

But more importantly I think, don't carry anything of value in your big rucksac. If it goes out of your sight don't put valuable things in it. Put your dirty smelly clothes at the top of your pack. Then if, as invariably happens, people go through your luggage on a bus, all they find is your stinky dirty pants. Which I would hope would put them off. Keep all your money, travel docs, camera etc. with you and either wrap the strap around your legs, or keep hold of it. A lot of thefts happen when people aren't watching their luggage.

Reply to this

11 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #74129  
I hadn't actually thought of a simple bike lock. Lol. Thanks! Reply to this

11 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 4 Msg: #74171  
My anti theft method is usually having nothing worth stealing in my backpack.

I usually dont travel with any valuables that wont fit in my moneybelt.

I saw one of those mesh things that can be put over backpacks when I was in India. The backpack was inside it and chained to a dorm bed. Anyone with hands around the size mine are could easily have slipped their hands through the holes in the mesh after slashing the backpack and removed things as big as mobile phones, pocket sized cameras etc. I think all this anti theft stuff is a waste of money and having to lock up all your stuff every place you sit or sleep would be a real pain.

I would take a few small pad locks. They are useful for lockers in some places that you stay. Also, they are useful to put on the pockets of your backpack, so you will know if somebody tampered with your stuff before crossing borders etc. Reply to this

11 years ago, May 28th 2009 No: 5 Msg: #74244  
B Posts: 38
Ditto on the bike locks, been using that for a while now and was very useful.

This is not related to the main topic but also for safety reason - make sure to have a whistle attached to you at all times, especially for the ladies. If, in an unfortunate event, somebody came to rob/assault you, a piercing sound of whistle of course would make you the center of attention of surrounding people, and even if you're by yourself, it would drive the bad people away from you. This could be the best one dollar investment in your life.
Reply to this

11 years ago, May 29th 2009 No: 6 Msg: #74274  
B Posts: 5,187
Re: small hands and slashing backpacks...

Yes - but

1) - discourages casual theft - most petty theft is opportunism - ipod left on bed etc
2) - you couldn't get a laptop through that mesh
3) - really makes the thief the center of attention

Other security tips;

I always use the underclothes wallet when travelling - but a few tips - get a waterproof wallet for your passport and a piece of plastic that is the same size - to stop it bending and getting damaged by your sweat. Otherwise - your passport won't last long.

Keep some emergency money in your pack - $50 or something - not enough to hurt if it gets stolen - but enough to get you out of trouble and to the embassy if the worst happens - and you lose everything from your person.

If going out on a big night out in bars etc - don't wear the underclothes wallet! Put all that in the hostel/hotel safe - in places where I need ID - I take a laminated colour photocopy of my passport id page - if that doesn't get me in (Australia has the most anal doormen in the world) - then move on. Nearly every instance of theft I've had someone tell me about starts with - "Well I was really really drunk and... "

Keep enough cash for a taxi in the tiny little pocket in your jeans - you know the one that they all have that your never know what it's for - that's what it is for... or in the shoe or sock or bra.

Have a day wallet - where you keep enough cash for the day - put an expired credit card in there and a few other bits and bobs looks legit - if you do get robbed - hand it over - hopefully that will be enough to get rid of the mugger (I gave this tip to some friends - and on their 2nd day of travel - it came in useful)

Hope these tips help but that they never become necessary! Reply to this

11 years ago, May 30th 2009 No: 7 Msg: #74407  
Thanks for all the tips! I shall certainly use them. My Aunt suggested the whistle too Halef and I'll definitely be doing that.
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11 years ago, May 30th 2009 No: 8 Msg: #74428  


Keep enough cash for a taxi in the tiny little pocket in your jeans ....or bra.



So, that is why you are wearing that bikini top Ali. You needed someplace to conceal your money. You really should get a wonder bra. You can take the extra padding out of it and put your money in there instead. And a wonder bra might give you a bit of cleavage too. :D
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11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 9 Msg: #74496  
Hahahahahaha, nice one Mell, don't think the colour really suits him either!

Good security advise though and I will certainly adhere to all measures (well except the bra thingy). Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 10 Msg: #74500  

....don't think the colour really suits him either!


I was just telling my boyfriend that the shade of blue suits Ali. My boyfriend said, ''in this particular case, the colour of the bikini is of no relevance at all''. :D

....well except the bra thingy


If you change your mind, be sure to put a photo on TravelBlog and we can make a thread especially for that sort of thing. 😉


Reply to this

11 years ago, May 31st 2009 No: 11 Msg: #74533  
Lol! I love it when guys do crazy things like that.

(Bought a whistle. Doesn't even look like a whistle. Love it.) Reply to this

11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 12 Msg: #74544  
B Posts: 5,187
Thanks for the wonder-bra tip Mel - next time I have to endure ritual humiliation - at least I'll have a cleavage 😉

Back on topic... 😉 - cyber-security;

Email a copy of your passport id page to an email account.

If you are splitting up with someone to go travelling - make sure you change your email passwords etc to something the ex with a grudge can't guess.

Don't do online banking from computers that you aren't sure about; save these sessions till you are somewhere trustworthy.

Don't use the same password for all your online activities. One for each isn't possible these days - but have a few levels - a really complicated but memorable password for online banking, a strong password for email, and a simple password for travelblog, forums, other things - think about what you'd lose if it were to be compromised.

Use a fake date of birth for sites that request it - one that only you know - eg. take a year and a day off - so that someone can't use that and your password to reset an account (with yahoo mail - it's a birthday and postcode to reset a password - that's how Sarah Palin's email account got accessed - and the kid who did it is being tried with a potential for 15 years - hmm what a justice system)


Back to travel security:

Don't trust new friends with serious issues - it's easy to fake a personality for a few days - that can feel much much longer when travelling. Travellers do rip off other travellers.

But - most importantly - go travel - go have fun 😊 - if we were to compile a list of safety while at home tips - it would look just as scary 😉 Reply to this

11 years ago, June 1st 2009 No: 13 Msg: #74566  
Speaking of online security: To avoid using your credit card in internet cafes, you can ask a trusted person at home to do all your online hostel booking etc and email you the information. I usually ask my boyfriend to do this. I email him about where I will next be and he books the hostel for me from home.

Don't trust new friends with serious issues - it's easy to fake a personality for a few days - that can feel much much longer when travelling. Travellers do rip off other travellers.


Last time I was in Bangkok, I was sitting at a table in a cafe with an English girl and an Australian guy. None of us knew each other. The girl was an inexperienced traveller and totally cofused. She told him she left her credit cards at the bottom of her backpack in her room and wanted to know if he thought that was OK. Then she proceeded to give him more information in order to get his advice on it. When he went to the bathroom, I took the risk of reminiding her that she does not know this guy, even if she feels she can relate to him because he is also a traveller. The conversation continued when he got back and he then asked her to got out with him later that night. I hate situations like that, because if they get together as a couple what I said when he went to the bathroom would make me unpopular, but if I didnt say it then maybe he would turn out to be dishonest and she was telling him way too much.

So, dont trust others too much too quickly just because you are in a foreign country and they speak the same language as you do and look a bit like you do.
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11 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 14 Msg: #74665  
Thanks for that. I'm pretty good when it comes to keeping mum about my finances and card security etc. I like people easily but I don't trust them easily. I hadn't thought aboout the online banking side of things though. I won't have anyone able to do it for me from home. What's my alternative? Reply to this

11 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 15 Msg: #74672  
B Posts: 5,187
If you have your own laptop or netbook (mini-laptop) - then it's much easier - you make sure you have good anti-virus - careful who you let use it. Otherwise - well - it's difficult to tell - but the very cheap internet cafes with lots of things running in the background are a dangerous place. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 16 Msg: #74715  

I like people easily but I don't trust them easily.


I think that is just about the best attitude to have when you travel. Enjoy the good side of people, while guarding yourself against any negativitiy. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 17 Msg: #74716  
Booking the hostels: If I did not have anyone to book them for me from home, I just wouldnt prebook at all if I did not have my own laptop with me. Better to take the risk of showing up at a hostel that is full than be the victim of an internet criminal. And try to arrive in places early in the day, so you wont be wandering around after dark looking for someplace to stay.

Also, be careful where you use your credit card. There are some that will swipe more than once, and some that will note your credit card details and use them later. I think Thailand and India are a couple of the worst for this. If you are using your credit card in Thailand the credit card companies will often even stop it as a precaution because credit card scamming happens so much there. I rarely take my credit card with me when I travel.

It is useful if you have somebody at home that can wire you money in case you are unfortunate enough to get robbed so badly that you have no money left. I would ask my boyfriend to do this. Thankfully it has never yet been necessary.

You could also give a person at home copies of your passport and other doccuments in case you lose them. That person could also call the consulate for you in case of an emergency, so you dont have to try and figure out the local phone system and have to try to find the consulate in a foreign city, with no money to spend on taxis.

What's my alternative?


Since your father was/is a backpacker, he would likely be willing to be the person at home who would help. Being a traveller, he would know how useful that would be, and as parents we love an opportunity to protect our children. It makes us feel like at least we can help if they get in trouble, even if we cant interfere when they want to do things that make us worry. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 18 Msg: #74745  
B Posts: 5,187
Another option maybe - get a second credit card - either prepaid - or with a very low limit - few hundred dollars - enough for booking hostels, but not much to lose.... not sure who would provide them in Australia. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 19 Msg: #74757  
B Posts: 602
In a magazine for traveling that I get there was safety tips in it. For women who are traveling alone, it is a good idea to pack a man's shirt. Leave the shirt out when anyone comes to the door - be it room service or what ever. Also turn the shower on before answering the door, so it sounds like someone is in the room with you. Reply to this

11 years ago, June 2nd 2009 No: 20 Msg: #74758  
Last time I was in Central America I met a guy who told me about a girl who travelled around C and S America dressed as a boy. Apparently, nobody ever realised that she was not a boy. I am not so sure I would want to give up my identity to that exent, even for temporary travel. Reply to this

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