July 31, 2016
4 Must-Read Travel Hacks for Peace of Mind On-The-Go + Bonus Tip on Playing It Safe(ish)
Gypsies, tramps, and thieves? No sweat! When adventure calls, the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about someone jacking your stuff while roaming in a foreign land with scarce landmarks and non-existent wi-fi. Obviously, we want you to use your best judgement and do what makes you feel the safest considering your destination and concerns. These suggestions are not meant to take the place of or alleviate the need for an insurance policy for said gadgetry. But, sometimes life calls for on-the-fly maneuvering for protecting your stuff, and that’s where these come in handy…
1) Camouflage Your Stuff Worth Stealing: So you just bought the newer-than-now version of the iWhatever and cringe at the thought of someone jacking Your Precious (aka, state-of-the-art tablet with all your treasured files and saved passwords). You’re not alone. If you can stand to lose a few visual “cool points”, you can have your high-tech cake and eat it too; try concealing your gadgetry inside less-than-awesome accessories to make them less appealing to thieves. I inadvertently stumbled upon this when I realized the cheap case I purchased for my expensive smartphone made the whole hi-fi shebang look like a pile of junk. Who would ever steal this ‘piece’? It’s not a pretty picture, but if you have your doubts about someone walking away with your belongings, simply make them less appealing and thieves won’t think twice about your seemingly ho-hum belongings.
2) Use Your Chameleon Powers: This goes without saying, but looking like a complete outsider makes you an easy target. Not to say you should try to blend in all the time, do not neglect your personal sense of style, or distract from your own uniqueness. But, do what you can to look less like a tourist and more like a traveler. Research what the locals wear online before your trip; taking a peek at local restaurant and venue website image galleries are a good way to get the scoop on what the locals are really wearing out. Inquire about local customs; is this destination more on the conservative casual side (think: Marrakech), or perhaps more bright and bold (think: Miami Beach)? Go with the flow and use your getaway as an excuse to reinvent yourself, even if only for a short while. Genetics permitting, a little facial hair in places like the Middle East does wonders for helping you not stick out like a sore thumb. If vanity is your vice, leave the make-up collection at home and ditch the superficial cosmetics and enjoy some time just being you; chances are you’ll appreciate the liberating feel of not packing (and travel-proofing) a bazillion cosmetics to support your habit. Attached at the hip to your hair straightener or other bulky tools? Don’t let those weigh you down (or your luggage!) and opt for letting the natural you shine through, frizzy curls and all. And, for just about everyone going anywhere near the equator, a good sun tan goes a long way; try building at least a light base tan before you take off so you can build on what you have as you travel, and don’t char yourself on your first day out in the sun.
3) Ice on ice: Many hotel rooms have typical safes for valuables while some others simply don’t. Regardless, how safe is the safe? And, what happens if you’re in a rush and don’t have time to learn the interworking of a foreign lockbox? If you don’t plan on being gone more than a couple hours, consider stashing a few pieces of jewelry in an ice bucket (concealed under the bag of ice, between bag & bucket), or perhaps rolled up in a pair of socks in a sneaker. Be resourceful with the available options. In a pinch, valuables can be concealed just about anywhere, like in an interior coat pockets of your hanging garments, under cap of the hairspray bottle, basically anywhere but out on the bed-side table! And, be sure to make a mental note of your stash locale so as not to hide stuff from yourself (not that you would ever do such a thing).
4) Personal Touch: Sure, “fanny packs” are lame, can’t argue with that. But, there are some killer, travel-friendly updates to the old classic that can be a great fashionista-friendly way to keep your valuables on you at (nearly) all times. Check out the “Left Coast” Waist Purse from Hip Sisters (shown in main photo), a perfectly hands-free way to keep your necessities safe without a bulky purse or “murse” to weight you down (yes, they have them for boys, too). There are also some travel-friendly brands out there with hidden pockets, great for stashing valuables on-the-go, like this “Pack Everywhere” dress by Athleta.Traveling with your laptop, but want it to be incognito? Check out this nifty Under-the-Jack-Pack before it hits the market.
BONUS Tip – Just (Don’t) Do It: While I can’t condone attachments to material possessions and recommend having some faith in your fellow man that your things probably won’t get stolen… If you’re still stressed about it, simply don’t take your nicest belongings with you on your journey.* Take a downgraded version whenever possible (gadgets, clothing, everything). *DISCLAIMER: this is not an excuse to gallivant the globe looking like a hometown hobo; be nice and present yourself well wherever you go (you’re sort of an ambassador!). Read this for more reasons why you should always opt for looking great while you travel. However, try to steer clear of flashy logos or hard-to-find designer wear, obvious big-ticket items and cant-be-replaced heirloom / vintage things that may catch the eye of a thief while on the road. Opt for unbranded multi-purpose accessories, and easily matched basics whenever possible.
Regardless of your safety choices while you travel, remember; it’s just stuff. Don’t let your belongings hold you back from adventure, be comfortable in your own skin, and revel in the freedom to reinvent yourself with every takeoff and landing.