How to keep your belongings safe while you’re on holiday

Having your passport stolen on holiday is distressing. Before you jet off, take a moment to read through our top tips for keeping your belongings safe.

Having your passport stolen on holiday is distressing. Before you jet off, take a moment to read through our top tips for keeping your belongings safe.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
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Posted 16 SEPTEMBER 2019


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A missing suitcase or stolen passport can lead to a stressful holiday experience. According to government figures, in 2015/16, over 20,000 British holidaymakers lost their passports or had them stolen.

Whether you’re staying in hostels or luxury hotels, the risks of loss or theft can affect anyone at any time. Be better prepared next time you go away with our top tips for keeping your belongings safe on holiday.

Use the safe

These days, many hotels (and even some hostels) will have a safe in the room for you to store valuable items.

When you’re not in your room, it’s a good idea to lock away any money, important documents such as tickets and passports, jewellery you’re not wearing and electronic devices you don’t need. That way, all your valuables will be safe should someone access your room.

Top tip: hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the outside of the door to help stop people entering while you’re out.

Use padlocks

Padlocking your suitcase might seem like a simple deterrent, but it can also be an effective one. Most thieves are opportunistic. They’ll be far more likely to choose your case if it looks like an easy target, so even something as small as a padlock could help to put them off.

Top tip: opting for a combination lock will save you the added stress of keeping a key safe.

When you’re on the move

Keeping track of your luggage, especially your travel documents, is important when you’re on the move. Money and travel documentation should stay with you, so you can be confident that nothing will go astray.

Top tip: a money belt is a practical way of keeping your documents safe and handy at all times.

Be wary of backpacks

Having anything on your back offers a potential invite for thieves to pickpocket from behind. If you have to carry a backpack, make sure all your valuables are secured in a deep pocket that can’t be reached without rummaging.

Remember: back pockets are an easier target than you might think, especially when standing in queues.

Divide your belongings 

Travelling in a group? Sharing your belongings out evenly between cases is a great way to minimise the impact of lost luggage. That way, if one of your cases goes missing, you can at least be sure everyone has a clean set of clothes.

Top tip: if possible, keep your most valuable items in a bag that can stay with you for your whole journey.

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Make copies of documents

Take pictures or photocopies of important travel and insurance documents, and email yourself any tickets or reservations essential to your journey.

Remember: while a photocopy can’t be used in place of your real passport, it can make it easier to get a replacement.

Be aware of local scams

While you should always be on the lookout for pickpockets, some areas may have other known scams that you should be wary of. Look online or check guidebooks so you’re prepared for any common con tricks played on visitors.

Top tip: TripAdvisor is a great place to seek tips and advice from fellow travellers.

Make sure you have travel insurance

There’s no guaranteed way to keep your possessions safe while you travel, but having insurance could at least help minimise the blow if the worst did happen.

Give yourself the added peace of mind of knowing that your travel insurance policy could compensate you for the value of your possessions.

Remember: most travel insurance policies won’t cover the theft of belongings left unattended. This includes leaving bags in a hire car while you go for dinner. Be sure to check your insurance policy before you travel.

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