5 ways to keep your valuables safe when travelling alone.
I ended up losing two items throughout the entire time I was travelling.
First, my cap, which disappeared into the night while moving at a high speed in The Philippines.
Second, a pair of flip flops which I accidentally left at a hostel in Laos.
Sure, I would have preferred to keep hold of my cap and flip flops but things could have been worst, right?
My overall advice when it comes to avoiding important losses when travelling solo is to try and not pack items that you are going be upset over losing in the first place.
Need a smart phone with you? Bring one which is older and/or cheaper! Think twice before you pack that new iPhone which is worth one third of your travel budget.
The same thing applies to many electronic goods. Replace your super high-spec laptop with something less valuable (and potentially more portable!). Replace your DSLR with a disposable camera. Replace your electric toothbrush with one of those other toothbrushes where you have to move your hand more.
Obviously, I’m exaggerating a little bit. Pack the things that are going to make your trip enjoyable. But keep in mind that if you are constantly worrying about your possessions, the trip may not turn out to be quite as freeing as you would have liked it to be.
Also, there are going to be some valuables that you will have no choice but to take with you. Your passport, cash and bank card, etc.
For this reason, I have put together a list of five ways you can help keep your possessions safer on the road
1. Travel with two backpacks.
The backpack that I traveled with was the Osprey Farpoint 55. The great thing about this backpack is its 2-in-1 style. The main 40L backpack is also accompanied by a 15L backpack which can be attached or detached from the main pack.
What this meant for me was that I could use the main pack to store all the shit that I didn’t really care about losing. This mainly consisted of clothing, toiletries and other items which were replaceable. Then, I used the smaller pack to store those items of importance.
I would keep this smaller pack on me at all times. Especially when moving from one place to the next. When on a long bus journey, I would keep the 40L backpack under the bus and take the 15L with everything valuable on board with me. Doing this gives you peace of mind and puts you in control of your situation.
If you are going to use this two backpack method, I would suggest wearing the smaller backpack on your front when walking around to avoid any chance of pickpocketing.
Find more information on the backpack I used below:
2. Get a protective wallet.
It could be argued that storing your valuables in a protective wallet may make you a target of somebody looking for something of value to take. But based on my personal experience I feel that the positives outweigh the negatives and that a protective wallet is a must have to store your most important documents. I’m talking about passport, cash, bank cards and tickets.
The benefit of storing these items in a protective wallet is less about keeping them safe and more about keeping them organised. With a protective wallet you will know exactly where these crucial documents are and can find them quickly and painlessly at any time.
3. Make copies of everything.
This is pretty self-explanatory. Take everything in your protective wallet, make a copy of it and store it separately (possibly in your larger backpack). In the worst case scenario that you do lose your wallet, you will still have these copies to help you deal with a difficult situation.
4. Take advantage of lockers.
If you plan on staying in hostels as you travel, you should be happy to know that a large majority of them provide lockers for you to keep your valuables in. It’s definitely worth taking advantage of these if you are leaving the hostel for extended periods.
Some of these lockers are set up with a lock and key. Some are not. For this reason, it’s worthwhile buying a large padlock and key before you leave home and take it with you.
Warning. Do not use a 3-digit combination lock. I have seen with my own eyes how easy these are to break into.
5. Do not touch what you do not need.
A strange one. This may or may not work for you depending on what type of person you are.
Personally, I consciously tried not to remove items from my backpack unless I needed them at that moment. The more things you chuck across your bed or place on the floor beside your bed, the greater the chance you have of losing them or accidentally leaving them behind when you move on.
This applies even more so for transport. I found there to be many instances where people left things behind on buses, boats, etc. I think this is down to the fact that many of us find ourselves in a rushed state of mind when getting off transport. We may be so excited to finally get to the destination that we leave our Ray Ban sunglasses on the seat next to us.
I hope you found this short list helpful. These were just some strategies that worked for me!