Long-Term Travel Hack #3: Keeping Yourself and Your Belongings Safer
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As we've researched, prepared for, and done some travel, we've come up with some tips, tricks and hacks to make long-term, light weight traveling possible. Here's a tip that will make things a bit easier.
Keep Yourself and Your Belongings Safer!
Mugging and pick-pocketing are a risk you face when traveling. Frankly, you face this risk anytime you're in a public place, especially when it's a crowded place. However, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of being a victim:
Blend in and don’t look like a tourist. Sometimes, looking like a tourist is inevitable. What’s the point of not taking pictures of something epic or not going to the must see tourist attraction? But when you can, blend in. Here are a few things we’re doing:
- Dress like the locals. For this reason, while practical, we didn’t purchase or pack any convertible pants (Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible pants). Shannon even went as far as to pack a pair of jeans, since they’re comfortable and worn across the world by many cultures.
- Don’t wear things that make you stand out like a sore thumb, like bright colors and patterns. For example, we passed on purchasing shoes for our trip that were neon colors.
Carry a Fake Wallet. We all hope we won’t be mugged or pick-pocketed. However, even with the best precautions it can happen. In the idea of minimizing the loss, carry a fake wallet. The thief or mugger will more than likely want to make a quick exit, so they’ll focus on your fake wallet and move along. Here’s what we're carrying in ours:
- An expired picture ID. Use a student ID or something with as little information as possible.
- Expired credit/debit cards. Preferably of closed accounts. If it’s not possible, get all new credit/debit cards before traveling, therefore, voiding the old cards. Learn more about keeping your financial account in order while traveling.
- Low value bills in local currency. This is two-fold. First, you minimize your loss of cash, while legitimizing the wallet as your only wallet. Second, you can use this cash for any purchases made throughout the day, keeping you from reaching into and exposing a hidden wallet with more value in it (like passports, more cash, real credit and bank cards).
- Receipts, notes, small pieces of paper. Basically, anything else you can put in it to make the perpetrator believe they got what they were after.
Secure your backpack. Watch our DIY lock tutorial video on securing your backpack.
Research local prevalent scams. We found a great article by Expert Vagabond on scams to watch out for. By reading up on them, we can hopefully see and avoid the scam before we fall victim to it.
Nothing is 100% Protection
You can never be 100% protected. If there’s a will, there’s a way. A thief, if motivated enough, will get what they want by getting to you when you’re off guard, slashing through a bag, cutting a lock, etc. The best prevention is avoidance, vigilance, preparation, and knowledge. However, have backup plans if something goes wrong.
Tell us your tips to staying safe on the road!