What’s one of the worst feelings in the world? The one you get when you realize that your wallet’s been stolen. And another? The feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you see that your iPhone screen cracked. Ugh. The worst.
Unfortunately, as a study abroad student, you’re vulnerable to damage and theft of your belongings, as you’re constantly traveling and in unfamiliar situations. But if you make sure that your valuables are well protected and you take a few precautionary steps, your chances of getting the awful “I just got robbed” feeling will be slim. Here’s how you can protect your valuables while studying abroad.
Hide it away
If thieves can’t find it, then they can’t steal it. Tuck away your stuff as much as you can and the chance that it will get stolen will greatly decrease. It may be ugly and uncomfortable, but a money belt is a great way to make sure your money and passport never leave your body. If you really just can’t deal with the belt, try hiding your cash in these stash boxers or in a padded bra — just take the pads out.
Obviously, you can’t really tuck away something as large as an iPad or laptop, and those items are easy to spot when in your bag or sitting in your hostel room. So disguise it as something else! Try a secret laptop case that makes it look like a boring manilla folder.
Keep it protected
Don’t travel anywhere without protecting your valuables, especially your electronics. A broken laptop is even more of a headache than usual when you’re living in a foreign country. Don’t take any chances and invest in a Lifeproof or OtterBox case for your iPad, Smartphone, and anything else you’ll be taking with you. Your electronics will be able to withstand extreme temperatures, vodka spills, and rough plane rides.
Keep ’em out
Hotel and hostel rooms may have locks on them, but you never know who can get access to a key. Put this door wedge that has a built-in alarm under your door when you go to bed, and if anyone tries to get into your room, you and the surrounding rooms will hear the alarm. Use it in your apartment too, both at home and while studying abroad.
Lock it up
Anytime you stay in a hostel, bring a lock with you and always put all of your stuff in a locker, even if you know everyone who’s staying in your room. Try a strong combo lock or padlock (just don’t lose the key!) Are you also worried about someone snagging your bags while you’re on the bus or train? Here’s a trick– use a couple of carabiners to hook your bags to the luggage rack above you. If you fall asleep, it will be much harder for someone to silently grab your bag.
Sometimes, you just can’t prevent theft or damage, no matter how many preventative measures you take. Insure your valuables so that you’re not stuck with having to shell out $1,000 when your laptop gets nicked. Some travel insurance covers theft and damage abroad, so if you have it already, check your plan to see if you’re covered. If not, your parents may be able to add contents abroad onto their home insurance, so ask them to look into it.
How do you plan on protecting your valuables while you’re abroad? Have you ever had anything break or get stolen from you while you were traveling? Let us know in the comments!