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Jun 03 2013

Theft While Travelling

theft, travel, padlock, locker

Theft can be a problem while travelling.  In fact, just last week, at one of the hostels I was staying at, some people had valuable items stolen during the night –  a camera, phone, and money.  It’s awful to hear about things like that happening, especially when it’s in a small hostel where you’ve made friends and feel comfortable and secure.

I’ve had stuff stolen in the past, although not whilst travelling, so I know what it feels like.  It isn’t a nice thing to happen, especially if you lose something you can’t replace, and then there is all the hassle of trying to recover the items or claiming on your insurance, if you have travel insurance that is.

Now that I am travelling with technology, I am a lot more careful about my stuff.  I don’t have the most expensive items nor the most up-to-date but I’d hate to lose them all the same.  Keeping my stuff safe is a much higher priority than ever before and so is the ability to lock my valuables away.  That and free WiFi are top of my list now when I look for places to stay.

The thing is though, no matter what you do, if someone really wants your stuff, they’ll find a way to get it.  All you can do is make sure that you have done everything possible to keep your stuff safe from thieving little hands.

So what can you do?

1. Only stay in hostels where you have the option to lock your stuff away.  Look at the facilities section to check before you book.

2.  If there are lockers, lock your valuables away when not in use.  One time is all the thieving so and so’s need to nab your things, which is what happened to one of the girls in the hostel.  It’s not worth the risk so lock it away.

3.  Carry a good padlock with you.  I do.  I always have a padlock so if I go to a place that either doesn’t provide one or if it’s flimsy, I’ll use mine.

4.  Don’t sleep with your mobile.  This is a hard one because I, like many people, use mine as an alarm and it’s handy in case of an emergency rather than having to fumble around with a lock.  I always thought that would be a fairly safe option until last week when one of the girls had her phone taken from under her pillow beside her head as she slept.  The thief took a real risk there but it shows that they are willing to take big risks like that.

5.  Trust your instincts.  Be extra careful if your instincts are telling you to be.  I always come a cropper when I don’t follow my instincts.  In hindsight, the people who had items stolen said that a guy in the same room as them, who happened to leave the hostel in the wee hours of the morning when it happened, had been acting strange.  We wondered if this guy does this for a living – stays in a dorm room for one night, steals whatever he can and then moves on to the next.  We will never know.

Have your say

It’s a shame because, when things like this happen, it just causes more distrust when we have enough of that in the world as it is.

Have you had any items stolen from your accommodation whilst travelling?  Do you have any other tips or advice to help prevent items from being stolen in the first place?  It’s good to share experiences, helpful tips, and advice so please comment below 🙂

About the author

Teresa Keane

Teresa has been to almost 60 countries. She started travelling independently at the age of 38 when she gave up her job, rented out her house, put her possessions in storage and spent a year travelling the world. It changed her life. She now creates, publishes, & promotes online travel content and is an experienced freelance trainer & EFL teacher.

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