Security, iPads and long term travel.

Security.  Not a word I usually pay much attention to.

Living in Australia there have been very few occasions where I have been concerned about my own security or the security of my possessions. I could probably count on one hand the number of times security has entered my brain.

(I should point out that I’m writing this in the nail salon while I’m having a pedicure and have just realized my handbag which is huge and full of junk and OPEN is sitting over the other side of the store with my wallet perched in full view of everyone!  And that the inspiration to write this came earlier today at a cafe in the park when I left my iPad and my iPhone on a table while I went in search of a newspaper to read!!!).

I’ve realised I will not be able to continue being so slack.

I often put my purse on top of petrol bowsers while I fill up the car with fuel.  And my handbag is usually dumped on the ground at restaurants and in the movies.

Basically I make sure I know where my kids are and let the “stuff” take a very distant second!  (I can see Jono patiently reading his book right now and I know he’s in the middle seat by the window even though people occasionally stand in the way and block my view.)

Most times I’ve actually lost something myself when it goes missing rather than someone else helping me out!  The last time we got burgled I spent an hour looking for my handbag wondering where I’d put it before realizing it had been stolen.  The absence of my laptop kind of gave that one away!!

I use my credit card indiscriminately online. I’ll purchase from anyone, anytime, anywhere (except that currently I’m on a spending ban!)

I talk to telemarketers and will generally let them flog me something. Several charities probably have me on speed dial as I’m a sure thing to hand over a credit card number and buy tickets in their latest offering.

The pocket of my jeans often holds my credit card (it’s in there right now) and various bits of money. About the only thing I don’t do is put money/cards/phones in my back pockets!!

I’m fairly trusting and maybe I’ve just been super lucky so far to have few real problems.

All that could be set to change. Every time I read a travel blog lately it seems like everyone is giving their tips for keeping cash and possessions safe and telling their latest experience with how things went wrong. It’s got me thinking.  If someone who has been travelling for several years can still have their wallet go walkabout, what hope do I have???

So from today I’m going to practice the skills I will need for a year overseas.  I’ve bought a small slash proof bag and a singlet with a secret Velcro pouch (how lame my brain screams!!). I’ve also decided to ditch my usual enormous handbag and just travel with the daypack while we are away.  I figure the less number of bags we have, the less that can be left behind or lost track of for the seconds it apparently takes for it to go walking down the street with someone else!

(oh my goodness, pedicures TICKLE!)

We will travel with a full complement of passport/credit card/birth certificate/immunization photocopies next year.  We will have the same online so we can access it as well as with friends back home  We will have multiple ways to get our hands on cash and both Gert and I will carry what we need.  We will have our main funds separate to our everyday money and just do transfers when we need to. We will try to avoid Internet cafes where we can as we will have our own laptop and 3 iPads in tow.

I’ve packed expired credit/debit cards and worded the kids up about begging me for money in front of others to give to the less fortunate they come across. No will actually mean no and my crazy eyes should alert them that it’s for a darn good reason i.e all the cash that’s left is in my shoe!!!

That leaves the problem of possessions left in hostels/cheap accommodations. We are about to be the proud owners of mini padlocks and all of our backpacks have locks. I can’t help but think that won’t mean anything – if someone wants in, surely it just takes a pair of scissors to cut a hole in the bag????  This will require further investigation and I’ve packed duct tape for just such an event!  I sure don’t want to be carrying all our junk around every day for 365 days. Nowhere in my plans for this trip did I write “come back built like Arnie!”

Prior to this trip my only concern has been a fleeting wonder if housekeeping are likely to take anything in a 5 star hotel!  So far no one has risked their job to steal my shoes!!  I’d like to think this will continue but I’m trying not to be too naive!!!

My saviour in all this has surely got to be travel insurance. I’ve got a few quotes and am yet to choose who to use. Once I book our airline tickets and start to make other purchases I will have to make a final decision.

I’m hopeful that my planning, behavior modification and general raised awareness will hold us all in good stead. But should the worst happen, and a bag with an iPad grow legs, there are 2 things I’ll be wishing for:

1.   Our travel insurance comes through and covers the loss

And

2.  It’s Gert’s bag that’s gone and my beloved iPad is still safely in my possession!!!!

(Sorry honey!!)

Feel free to leave your safe travel tips in the comments.  Your tip might just save Gert’s iPad!  lol

Image: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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Comments

Security, iPads and long term travel. — 8 Comments

  1. Tracey, this is so funny. It sounds so much like Monica. Credit cards always laying around. Or quite possibly the kids are playing with them! It’s definitely easy to be lax about these things, especially when we are well in our comfort zones.

    At the same time I don’t want to be so paranoid about my possessions that I become closed off. The best advise I can give is to hold things loosely. And if something is stolen, whether cash, a credit card…even an important document…. or God forbid one of our Apple products (!) that we view recovering from these occurrences as adventures in themselves. (Not that I always successfully do that!)

  2. Tracey, this is just what I needed to read today! I am somewhat careful about using my credit cards online when I’m at home, but when I’m using wifi in public places, I try to avoid it. On my list of things to do before we take off on our adventure next year is to really understand the limits of my liability on credit cards, debit cards, etc., since we’ll be on public wifi pretty much exclusively. I use my debit card here all the time, but I was hesitant to do so when we were in Europe last year because I’d heard horror stories about the liability limit being so much higher for lost or stolen debit cards. All I need is for someone to buy a couple of laptops with my debit card when we’re trying to travel frugally!
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    • I have always tried to think to myself “If someone needs to steal my stuff, they obviously need it more than I do!!” That was fine when I had a job earning decent cash each month. I suspect this mantra will be thrown out the window once every cent counts!!! Sadly I’ve not learnt anything yet. Yesterday I got a text from work saying they had put my laptop in the cupboard overnight – right next to the bag of cash that I left in the cupboard!!! Oh well, there’s still time to get it right!!

  3. we always carry our passports, cash and mobiles with us when we go out for the day while travelling. We only ever have enough cash for several days on us. Backpacks are good but they are on your back – and having to get the key out each time to unlock them for a purchase is a pain. A smaller lighter bag or bum bag is handy – big enough to carry the above only. Then the empty backpack is for anything you buy while out and your camera, spare clothes, water bottle etc.

    Since you are taking ipads, laptops etc you have two choices – either lug them around all day as well (leave the clothes toilettries etc in your hotel room – they can be replaced easily enough) or use the hotel’s safe – If your hotel has one available of course.

    Its all about being aware of your surroundings mainly, esp when in crowds. I often carry a small backpack but on my front so I have complete control over what bumps against it.

    • Sounds like good advice. Don’t think we’ll be staying anywhere nice enough to be referred to as a “hotel” but I will keep an eye out for places with a safe! More worried about our things on us. I bought a small slash proof bag and we each have a small backpack for those purchases we can’t resist!!!!

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