As a frequent traveller, you know the drill when it comes to handling yourself and your belongings to avoid losing items due to thieves or your own forgetfulness.
Don't pack valuables in your checked luggage. Avoid flashing money; instead, hide it in different, discreet places. Try to blend with locals, and avoid looking like a tourist. Secure travel insurance. Inform someone back home about your itinerary. The list goes on.
Here, we’ll take a look at additional personal safety accessories and apps you can use to secure yourself and your belongings even further.
Luggage locks and trackers
Be sure to secure your luggage with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) cable locks or TSA padlocks so airport officials won't have to force your bags open. They're necessary for travel to the US and Canada, but a growing number of countries are recognising TSA locks.
Besides using airport-approved locks, you can use luggage trackers to help you locate your bags.
Luggage trackers use Bluetooth connectivity, GPS tracking or mobile networks. They’re usually paired off with your smartphone via an app to help you monitor your belongings.
Travel door locks and alarms
Hotel staff members have access to your room so it's best to never leave valuables like cash, jewellery and credit cards. Hotels can’t be held responsible for your lost, stolen or damaged possessions. Also, your belongings may not be covered by your home insurance if they're in possession of a third-party.
Use a portable door lock to keep unwanted intruders from opening your room. You can only use it while you're inside your room and if your door opens inwards instead of out into the hallway.
Most locks are composed of two pieces to be fitted to the hotel room door. Make sure you read the instructions for the lock you buy and practice using it at home before you leave.
You can also use a door alarm, which commonly produces a sound when a magnetic sensor detects movement. The best sensor-equipped motion detection alarms have a range of 10 feet and above.
There are many kinds of clothing sold today with several zippered pockets where you can put your phone, wallet, earphones or even passport and legal documents. You can also make DIY “secret pockets.”
Other wearables include money belts, some of which are thin and light enough to be worn beneath your clothes, complete with RFID-blocking technology. There are also neck pouches as well as arm and leg wallets.
Travellers are advised to make photocopies of their passports, credit cards and other legal documents. But sometimes printouts can take up space and may also be misplaced or lost. It would be wise to scan and save them in a USB, which you can tuck away in a hidden compartment in your wardrobe. Or you can buy USBs that come with a chain and can be worn as bracelets or necklaces.
Travel bloggers recommend bringing a decoy wallet filled with expired credit and membership cards and a small amount of cash.
But for your actual purse, go for slim and light RFID-blocking wallets.
Whether it's communication with family, friends or business associates, accessing Google Maps or checking the latest news, internet access is a necessity during travel.
To reduce potential security threats coming from using public Wi-Fi systems, invest in a travel router. It's like a pocket Wi-Fi or Wi-Fi modem. This way, you protect your devices from hackers accessing your phone or laptop through public Wi-Fi. It also costs less than data roaming fees charged on your phone.
The Department of Foreign Affairs' Smart Traveller app provides the latest advice for every country, including possible risks so that you can make or adjust travel plans accordingly. The app has contact information regarding Australian embassies and consulates. You can also register your travel plans using the app so that the DFA knows where to reach you in case of an emergency or natural disaster.
Meanwhile, you can download the BSafe app to create a list of your contacts, who will be notified when you tap the app if you get in trouble. Or you can use the app to simply inform loved ones of your destination location and safe arrival. Other apps with a similar function include Bugle and Watch Over Me.
While having a whistle or a personal alarm with you is often recommended for travel to dangerous locations, you can now save space by using an app for the same purpose. It makes a loud, piercing sound that can scare off attackers or thieves or alert people around you to hopefully help provide rescue or police assistance. Such apps include One Scream and SOS Whistle.
That may be a lot of personal safety devices, but don't let the possibility of theft or loss deter you from travel.
By staying alert, informed and equipped with some of the safety gear and tools listed above, you'll enjoy seeing this wide world with peace of mind.