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Nobody wants to think about theft or the idea of losing your valuables, but it is a reality and one of the most common reasons why travellers call TravelAid for support while away. Whilst the risk is often no greater while travelling than it could be in the centre of any tourist hotspot or city, the inconvenience can be significantly greater. In order to minimise the risk of losing your valuables as well as to mitigate the inconvenience of these sorts of losses, we’ve put together the following tips for you. And of course, should the worst happen, we’ll be on the end of the phone to help you out with guidance about replacing a passport or cancelling a bank card.


Important documents

The first thing to consider is copies of your important documents: take a copy of your passport, visas, travel tickets, booking confirmations and any other useful documents you plan on taking. And definitely keep a copy in the cloud – Dropbox, Google Drive or OneDrive are all easily accessible with any internet connection so as long as you can find somewhere with a printer you can print out as many copies as you need when you need them. Of course, a copy of a passport won’t get you through passport control, but it will help speed up the process of getting a replacement emergency passport issued if you need one.


Secondly, keep the original documents and the copies separately. Keep the originals with you (ideally in a wallet in a money belt or a hidden pocket in your backpack) and place the copy in a different document wallet in a different bag. If you’re leaving your copies in a bag that’s in your accommodation, don’t forget to lock up the bag before you go out.


Consider a smaller bag

You may be tempted to take the biggest bag that you can physically carry so that you can take more stuff, but the reality is that if you have a massive bag you won’t be able to keep it with you on trains, buses and whilst moving around. A smaller bag can usually fit in an overhead locker or under your seat, so you don’t need to worry about what’s happening to your luggage whilst it’s out of sight.

Separate your cash

Keep a small amount of money in your wallet – approximately the amount that you need for that day. Keep the rest of your cash in a money belt along with your passport and other important documents. If you need extra cash from your money belt, resist the urge to just dive into it and instead see if you can find a toilet or other private space to go to and add a little more cash to your daily wallet.



There are many gadgets and products designed for and targeting gap year travellers. A lot of these are a waste of money but there are some that do make sense. One such item is a waterproof pouch or bag that means you can keep your valuables with you even if going for a swim. Most waterproof pouches also provide full protection from the sand which gives you the option of burying the items in the sand whilst on the beach – so long as you remember where!


In addition to a good quality waterproof pouch, it’s worth making sure that you get a good padlock for using to lock your bag or for lockers in hostels. A strong cable lock is also a good purchase allowing you to attach your bag to your bedpost or to your seat on a train or bus.


Be alert

Sometimes the obvious advice is the best advice be alert. If you feel uncomfortable or that you’re in a dangerous area, listen to your instinct and find somewhere safer. It’s particularly important to be alert when in queues or crowds where it’s easy to think that someone has bumped into you accidentally when they’re actually using this as the opportunity to take something from you. Of course, it is harder to be aware when you are tired, dehydrated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs so – if you are travelling with friends – stick together and look after each other.


Travel insurance

Make sure that you take out a good travel insurance policy before you go so that you are covered should you lose any of your valuables. Keep the details of the insurance with your important documents and in cloud storage so it’s easy to access wherever you are. TravelAid is no replacement for travel insurance – remember we provide immediate access to professional advice and support for travellers but will not cover the cost of medical fees etc.




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