Travelling is one of the great joys of life. Whether we’re away for business or for some downtime, it’s a wonderful experience to leave our little fishbowls and explore new corners of the world even if it’s only thirty-five miles from home. I don’t know about you, but I’m always so stressed about my money while running from place to place on vacation. My money has mysteriously disappeared before while travelling, so I’ve developed my own simple tricks to keeping my belongings safe without the stress of constantly looking over my shoulder for hooded men.
Let’s talk about cash. For starters, no matter how easy it is to stuff all the cash you have into your wallet and leave your hotel room for the day, don’t do it. If you drop your wallet, leave it on a counter, or some desperate fellow lifts it out of your pocket, then you’ve got nothing. That’s a problem.
Also, never flash your money about. The thought of running your fingers through a stack of cash is a seductive one—for you and everyone else. Discreetly take out what you need to pay at that time, but never go shuffling through fifties and twenties in the middle of a store. Broadcasting how much money is in your pocket isn’t the best tactic not just on vacation, but anywhere.
Use In-suite Safes
If your hotel room provides a safe for you to use, then use it. You can store anything in there, from your valuable necklaces, to money, to snacks to hide from your friends. But I really recommend putting expensive things inside here, like the money that you’re not bringing out with you for the day or the jewelry that you’re not wearing. You should even stash small electronics in there.
Your computer probably won’t fit, but you can just as easily hide it in the closet (just make sure you don’t leave it behind). There probably won’t be any maids that try to swipe your stuff, but it’s still a good practice and an overall good way of making sure that your stuff is all in one place.
Keep Your Bag Safe
If you’re one to carry about a backpack or a purse, you should always keep a few things in mind. First, never carry your backpack on your back unless you have locks on the zippers. Someone can easily reach in and pull out your valuables. Always carry it at your side by the handle or just invest in a few secure locks.
Ladies, tuck your purses under your arms. If you are eating at a restaurant, never leave the handle tucked around the back of the chair. Your best bet is to set it neatly on the floor and put the strap around your ankle, so that if anyone does try to lift it, you’ll feel the tug immediately. Also, never leave the zippers open. Something could easily fall out or someone could reach in.
I recently took a trip to Europe where I caught a nasty cold. I went to see an English-speaking doctor, who told me that I had a very severe cold and prescribed me a medication at a local pharmacy. I walked there, and paid a hefty price for my medication. I tried to ask about it, but was having trouble communicating, so I conceded defeat. When I got back to my hotel, I realized that I got scammed with a different, much more expensive medication that what was prescribed.
This was a unique situation, but scamming tourists can be all too easy. If you’re travelling to a country, learn from my mistakes and learn how to communicate with the people. You can use programs like Rosetta Stone or try something free and easy like Duolingo. Additionally, before you go to a place you weren’t expecting, like a doctor or a cab, quickly brush up on your vocab or bring a translator app.
Exercise Common Sense
There’s no reason to be fearful when travelling. Foreign countries or different states are often no more dangerous than your home turf, so don’t feed that culture of fear. Just exercise the common sense you would at home. If you wouldn’t walk down a dark back alley at home, then you shouldn’t do it on vacation either.
Just be mindful of your surroundings, where you are, and the kind of neighborhoods you’re exploring. Always consult with people before you mindlessly go trotting around a bad part of town. If you and your husband are both wearing matching visors and Hawaiian shirts, then you’ll look like a couple of wounded deer to the wolves around you.
Going on vacation is fun and it should always be a carefree and relaxing experience, so stop worrying about your belongings by allowing these tips to bring you the peace of mind you need. Remember that keeping your money safe comes down to common sense, so if it sounds like a bad idea, well, it probably is. And don’t buy coffee from airports. That stuff is expensive.