Travel Tips

Thu, 8 Nov, 2018Over60

How to keep your personal items safe while travelling

How to keep your personal items safe while travelling

In a recent case reported out of Singapore, two men onboard a flight to Jakarta were apprehended after being suspected of stealing cash from fellow passengers mid-flight.

These cases are known as in-flight, or mid-flight thefts, and they’re not as rare as you may think. The perpetrators are often part of criminal syndicates and they work in pairs or groups to keep from getting discovered. While staying alert is important, there are also tips you can heed to ensure you don’t fall victim to such crimes.

1. Keep cash and valuables close to you at all times

Keep your valuables such as cash, your ID and passport, and jewellery in a small bag that you can place under the seat in front of you. Rest your feet on your bag to make sure no one gets close to it and bring this bag with you whenever you leave your seat. It takes just a few seconds for experienced thieves to swipe your bag so never give them the opportunity by leaving it unattended.

2. Label your bag

Make sure your bag is easily identifiable, so thieves can’t just switch it out with a similar looking bag. This is especially important if you have a black, nondescript bag. For example, you can sew a patch on it or write your initials on the bag.

3. Stow your carry-on bag where you can see it

When placing your bag in the overhead compartment, make sure it’s right above or across from your seat so you can keep an eye on it at all times. To ensure you get prime real estate, try to board the flight early.

4. Don't make your bag compartments easily accessible

Place your bag with the zip side facing down or inwards so it can’t be easily reached. For added security, lock your bag. Thieves are always looking out for easy targets and won’t spend too long fiddling with a locked bag as it may draw attention to themselves. If you’re stowing your jacket or coat, remove any valuables from the pockets.

5. Don't keep valuables in your carry-on bag 

Even though you’ve got your carry-on stowed away within your line of sight and your pockets are inaccessible, that still doesn’t mean that you should keep any valuables in there. Refer to tip no. 1.

6. Have different hiding spots for your cash and cards 

Keep your cash or credit cards in different hiding places. For example, you can divide your cash into three portions and keep some in your small bag, some in a pair of jeans that’s rolled up in your checked baggage, and some in your toiletries bag. This way, should you lose one stash, you will not be left with absolutely no cash.

7. Use an RFID-blocking wallet of bag

Lots of credit or bank cards and passports come embedded with RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) chips that store information for wireless transmission. Thieves have been known to use RFID scanners to skim and steal this information. You can buy wallets or bags that block RFID in order to prevent this new type of theft. 

This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.