I have heard this phrase many times during my travels. The last time was during my trip to India.
I was travelling with Faou, another blogger traveler I met completely at random in Goa.
To save a few rupees, we decided to take local buses to our destination. When we arrived in Candolim, we got off the bus to make our change and Faou was surprised not to find his wallet, which was in his pocket.
We start looking for him everywhere on the bus, which was now empty, but also outside. Without success.
Inside there were 3000 rupees, his driver’s license and his identity card.
Luckily her passport was in her bag, which allowed her to continue her journey without any problems. But here it is, this misadventure still jaded him for a few days and I fully understand it.
This type of story is common, I have very often met travellers who had their bags stolen during bus or boat trips. To avoid that you have to be careful and respect some rules.
Here I give you main tips to avoid being stolen while travelling.
1- Have a secure travel bag
Any lock or net will keep thieves at bay. Even if it’s just a gadget, a thief will think twice about it. Even a light rain cover attached to your bag will do a little bit, but in the end, nothing will really keep a thief with a sharp knife at bay, which leads me to the second point.
2 – Avoid travelling with valuable equipment.
This is not always possible, especially when you want to travel with a laptop or a good camera, but it is the only way to make sure that nothing is stolen.
For my part, I always travel with my big Samsung phone (perfect for travel, I’m talking about it here), a small cheap laptop (leave your MacBook Air at home!!!) and I leave valuables at home (girls, leave your jewellery at home!).
3 – Don’t leave anything precious in your main luggage
Your main travel bag can sometimes spend several hours out of sight and this is of course an ideal time for thieves. This advice may seem pretty obvious to you, but once again I have met travellers who have had their belongings stolen while their bags were stored in the hold of a bus or on board a boat.
I even met a couple of young people who had their bags stolen during a trip between India and Nepal while their luggage was fixed on the roof of the bus!
Remember that in this kind of country, it is quite common for people to travel sitting on the roof of vehicles. That’s why you should always keep your valuables in a smaller bag that you carry with you at all times or in a way that keeps an eye on it.
4 – Keep your valuables in a small bag
Practical travel bag I really want to emphasize that this bag must be small so that you can take it with you absolutely anywhere. You must be able to keep it with you inside a tiny toilet cubicle or hung in a rocking boat. But above all, you need to be able to keep it on you at all times without looking suspicious.
Do not draw attention to yourself with this obstinacy in wanting to keep an eye on him.
For my part, in India, I had bought a small handy bag for 3 euros (see picture) where I put all my stuff, and this bag always accompanied me wherever I went!
5 – Keep your passport, credit card and money in a secret belt / bill cover around your waist
This is an important advice that I already give in my ebook to prepare for a trip. With that, it’s just impossible for a thief to reach it, especially without attracting your attention.
6 – Keep as little money as possible on you
Banks often take a commission on each withdrawal of money abroad. It is therefore often tempting to withdraw as much cash as possible at once to avoid repeated commissions (see my article on travel banking fees). However, I think it is better to be taxed at 2 euros for each small withdrawal than to withdraw 200 euros all at once and have them stolen.
7 – Use your online bank
Don’t leave too much money in your current account. If your credit card is stolen, someone may empty your account very quickly. It is better to put all your money into an online savings account and make small regular transfers from it to your current account each week.
Personally, I use my bank’s mobile application to make transfers between my savings account and my current account. As a result, I still have a maximum of 300 euros in my current account.
8 – Don’t be too conspicuous
It is inevitable, you will always have valuable items on you at some point during your trip. Always try to hide them as much as possible. Use headphones instead of headphones and choose a black color instead of a flashy green.
If you like to take pictures, I advise you to use a small inexpensive camera when you go out in the evening or when you go to crowded places where a large camera would not be very appropriate.
9 – Always use a safe
If there is no safe in your hotel room or inn, there will probably be one at the reception desk.
If you leave money there, I suggest you put it in an envelope with your name on it and write down the exact amount of money you are leaving.
Personally, I always put my money in my socks.
The most important advice is to remember none of the tips above!
You can quickly relax your alertness, especially after several months of a smooth journey.
I tend to trust everyone, but that doesn’t stop me from keeping my head on my shoulders and being very vigilant. Remember that a potential thief can always hide among your fellow travellers.
Thefts from inns are also very frequent, so don’t leave your things lying around so as not to tempt dishonest people.
Nor should you be obsessed with safety at all times during your trip, so try to make these 9 tips into real automatisms that will accompany you throughout your stay without becoming painful and too constraining.
Always expect the worst, keep photocopies of your passport and airline tickets that will also be on your mailbox and regularly save your photos and videos on an online sharing site, I talk about these points in the checklist of things to do before a trip.