Are you having doubts about your well-being while traveling abroad?
When someone steals your belongings, you can either leave the situation behind unscathed or have recurring consequences that’ll affect you throughout life because of identity theft.
Either way, it’s best to take a couple of extra steps to safeguard yourself and your information to prevent others from stealing what’s yours.
To protect yourself abroad, always remain alert and have a backup plan if anything goes wrong.
Keep reading, and I’ll provide many tips on how to prevent people from stealing your stuff while abroad. I’ve used these tips to protect myself from theft throughout the years. While nothing is foolproof, it’s good to be cautious.
1. Always Stay Alert: Even in Safe Countries
The most important tip to keep yourself and your belongings safe is remaining alert. You don’t have to be paranoid; however, you will want to ensure that you know what’s happening around you.
2. Don’t Keep Items in Your Back Pocket
While convenient, one of the worst places where you can store anything is in your back pocket. A thief would need to bump into you by accident, slip their hand in your back pocket, and pick up a cellphone, wallet, or whatever without you knowing.
Alternatively, carry your belongings in your front pocket, a backpack, a fanny pack, or a crossover bag. However, you’ll also want to ensure that these bags can provide resistance against cuts.
That way, a thief can’t cut your straps and steal your falling bag.
3. Be Weary of Local Scams
Visit forums, government websites, and blogs that provide information about where you’re visiting. They may provide helpful information about what kind of scams people encounter when traveling to the city or country you’re visiting.
4. Use Tracking Devices on Belongings
If you know for sure that the police in the country that you’re visiting will do something about stolen items, consider investing in a tracking device like an AirTag or an alternative GPS tracking device.
You could hide these devices in your bags, inside your items (tucked in a wallet), or blend them with an object. You could camouflage your tags is to make it look like it’s a part of what you want to track.
5. Backup Your Essential Items and Data
Do you need to work while you’re overseas? Then make sure you backup your data in multiple places. For instance, store some of your backups on external hard drives and others on cloud service providers like Google Drive or Dropbox.
However, when backing up your information, ensure you encrypt your data.
Moreover, you will want to make copies of documents like your passport, driver’s license, and other travel information that you deem essential.
6. Keep a Low Profile: Showing off Will Make You a Target
What you’re wearing could tell everyone around you whether you’re a target. For instance, if you’re wearing a bunch of jewelry and a Rolex, someone is more likely to want to steal your items. Moreover, you’ll want to be careful of how drunk you get in public.
Because if you’re too intoxicated, people may find it as an opportunity to steal your stuff without much resistance. Also, avoid walking alone at night. Alternatively, call a cab, use a drive share application, or travel with the group.
7. Use Creative Hiding Spots in Your Accommodation
Don’t store your valuables where a thief is most likely to look. For instance, I don’t hide anything in drawers, inside or behind books, or on couch cushions. Those are most likely the first places that a thief would look if they’re rating your hotel room or your accommodation.
Instead, you should consider storing small items in inconspicuous containers like empty sunscreen bottles or chapstick containers. Otherwise, you could wrap your things in a bag and keep them inside pipes beneath your sink, between cracks, or hollow-out items and store your items there.
8. Don’t Talk on Your Phone While Walking
You’re likely not paying attention to your surroundings when talking on your phone, making you vulnerable to theft. So, if you need to take a call, don’t do it while walking or within a crowd. Instead, make your way toward an open area where you can easily see everything around you.
9. Reinforce Your Personal Information: Don’t Succumb to Identity Theft
This tip pairs well with finding creative ways to hide your belongings. However, you will also need to get creative with protecting your digital information. When logging in to financial websites, use a virtual private network (VPN) with the highest caliber encryption enabled.
Also, don’t use passwords that anyone can guess if they know enough about you. Instead, use a password manager and generate complex passwords that make it impossible for hackers to use brute force attacks to enter your accounts.
Moreover, when logging into websites containing sensitive information, you may want to avoid doing so if you’re using public Wi-Fi. Unless you know the Wi-Fi has top-notch security.
Also, do whatever possible to avoid giving out identifying information—unless it’s to a government official or a legitimate company. For instance, don’t tell people your identification number (social security number), date of birth, home address, and answers to secret questions that you use on websites.
Anyone can use or sell this information, which would put you at risk.
Bonus: Carry a Decoy Wallet and Phone
While packing your bags, I recommend having additional wallets and phones that you don’t care about. That way, if someone happens to rob you at gun- or knifepoint, you can give them a phone or a wallet that is not your real one.
More than likely, if someone is robbing you, they want to get out of there as quickly as possible to prevent anyone from intervening in the situation. Therefore, the thief likely won’t thoroughly inspect the wallet and smartphone and make sure they’re real.
However, you will want to make sure that your decoy smartphone and wallets are believable. Thus, I recommend stuffing your fake wallet with a bit of cash along with expired ID, debit, and credit cards.
As for the decoy phone, at least make sure it works. If you give a mugger a broken phone, they may figure that out and realize that you’re tricking them.
Do You Feel Prepared for Traveling?
You don’t need a bodyguard following you 24/7 to protect you from theft. However, you will want to get creative ways to mitigate and prevent theft. That may include tracking your belongings or tricking thieves.