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Keeping valuables safe?


What is a good way to keep valuables safe while travelling? I don't want to be burdened down with many bags or totes.

Papers * (prescriptions, receipts, maps), credit cards, phones, jewellry (wedding ring), medicines that can't get warm......

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  • edited
Posted by
5697 posts

Moneybelt for passport, credit cards.
Leave valuable jewelry at home (in your safe deposit box?)
Phone is in the bottom of my cross-body bag (just like at home.)
Medications are in my personal item which is under the airplane seat.
Papers -- what are you carrying and why ?

Posted by
8293 posts

Valuable jewellery? You travel with valuable jewellery? Are you insured against its loss?

Posted by
22018 posts

I do not take valuable jewelry. I take very minimal jewelry of any sort, because it's heavy.

While out sightseeing, I leave excess cash and cards back in my hotel room, locked in my suitcase. I do the same with things like train tickets. Some people prefer to keep extra cash and cards in a money belt or other pouch worn under their clothing; I only do that on days when I'm changing hotels.

What I need for the day is in my ordinary purse, worn cross-body. A modest amount of cash, and usually also one credit card, are in my wallet, down at the bottom of the purse. My ATM card--used less often, but a lot more frequently than is the case for most other travelers--is in an inner, zippered pocket inside the purse. Sometimes I put the credit card in a separate part of the purse, but that's sort of a hassle since I tend to use it more than once a day, so it's usually in the wallet.

I keep my smartphone in the main, zippered compartment of my purse. I would never carry it in such a way that it is visible as I walk down the street. Smartphones are popular targets for professional thieves.

I haven't had to deal with medicines that require careful temperature control; I think there are containers you can use. I bet someone on the forum can point you in the right direction there. If not, ask your pharmacist or try Googling.

Posted by
22169 posts

Mostly well covered above --

.... keep valuables safe while travelling? ..... Money belt PROPERLY worn and used.

Papers * (prescriptions, receipts, maps), credit cards, phones, jewellry (wedding ring), medicines that can't get warm......

Nobody steals maps, receipts, Rx, etc. I just put receipts in an envelope in a zipper pouch on my suitcase. Copies of the Rx is in the same pouch and carried in the day bag just in case the suitcase went missing. Back-up credit/debit cards, extra cash, etc., are in the money belt and always worn. No jewelry of any value. And I would handle temperature meds the same way as in the US.

This is my check. If it is easy for me to get to it, it is properly just as easy for the pickpocket to get to it.

Posted by
8293 posts

The OP has edited her post, changing the reference to “valuable jewellery” to “wedding ring”. So to keep your wedding ring safe while travelling, wear it at all times. No one will rip it off your finger.

Posted by
7213 posts

I certainly carry no wallet when traveling. My only credit card is carried in a money belt with the very small amount of cash I carry.
I'm a little different in that I carry no smart phone when traveling. I don't even carry one at home. I communicate by a Fire 8 tablet with home on WIFI.
Remember that pickpockets only want your cash. Credit cards will get them caught as will wallets. Be especially careful following others on escalators. Pickpockets are famous for taking a dive at the foot of escalators and everyone following close behind them falling into a pile. That's when their associates are waiting go to work on the pile.
Oh, yea! The pickpockets in major cities often speak perfect English.
Don't fall to anyone being too nice to you in big cities, like giving you directions or showing you where to go. Whoever knows if they have an associate waiting around the next dark corner.
My wife and I are especially vigilant when around crowds and in the metro. She always follows me closely. If anyone gets into our space, I turn into a 6'3" 240 lb. aggressive jerk. All of the above is from being a victim once.

Posted by
4962 posts

Papers - prescriptions, receipts, etc. Take a photo or screenshot of any of these and store them in the iCloud. I do carry paper copies of our train tickets & hotel reservations, though.

Wedding ring. My wedding ring is a combo of the diamond my husband originally gave me and my mom’s ring, so it’s very sentimental. When I travel, I put it in our safety deposit box at our home bank, and I have a very thin, inexpensive gold band that I wear, instead. My other jewelry is not real gold and replaceable. And, I wear scarves as accent pieces more than jewelry when I’m in Europe.

Posted by
8889 posts
  • "Papers (prescriptions, receipts, maps)" - these are hardly "valuable". Just keep them in your case, or on you if you are using them (maps). Keep a copy of prescriptions on your phone if you think you might need some more and you might loose the copy in your case, but that is unlikely.
  • "credit cards" - If you plan to use them, carry with you in a closed bag or pocket. Extra backup cards keep in your case or hotel room safe.
  • "phones" -As above.
  • "jewellry (wedding ring)" - The risk here is it getting lost, not theft, keep it on your finger.
  • "medicines that can't get warm......" - The "can't get warm" is the only thing on your post I would worry about. I guess you mean insulin or similar. If you have a fridge in your room, keep it in there. Otherwise ask the hotel nicely where they can store it for you. Minimal or no risk of theft.

"I don't want to be burdened down with many bags or totes." - no need to be. Just carry enough cash cards and tickets for that day, plus contingency. Plus a phone and/or camera. If you have a coat in closed pockets. If too warm for a coat in a closed bag (closed by a zip or similar).
If you are actually travelling between places, everything is in your case (bar tickets and cash/cards for the day).

Posted by
996 posts

What is a good way to keep valuables safe while travelling? I don't want to be burdened down with many bags or totes.

Papers * (prescriptions, receipts, maps), credit cards, phones, jewellry (wedding ring), medicines that can't get warm......

I have always traveled with my wedding ring. It stays on my finger when I am outside my hotel room.

Receipts can go into an envelope back in your hotel room.

Maps should stay with you, since you'll be using them. If there are maps for sites yet to see, leave them in your room. Nobody takes maps.

Credit cards should be split up - like cash - and not all carried/stored in one place. Make sure that you have a separate space just for the paper where you have the cc# + the toll free number to call if there's an issue.

Your cell phone can go into a pocket/purse. Use the same precautions you would use in any major city. I was in San Francisco two weeks ago when a guy stole a phone from a girl. She left it sitting beside her, and he took off with it. Do not rest your phone out of your hand/bag in the US or Europe.

Prescriptions - well, this varies. I travel with Rx eye drops. I could live if someone took them, although - honestly - they wouldn't do anything for anyone else who hadn't had my type of eye surgery.

If you have prescriptions that require specific temps, check with your pharmacy before you travel. They can tell you if it's 100% necessary to maintain a certain temp. Some meds in the US that are stored in the fridge do not always require that temperature. (I used to work in a pharmacy. This varies widely, varying on the med.) If your med DOES require lower temps, you'll want to travel with ice packs on the plane and find a room with a refrigerator. You'll need to pack accordingly to go through TSA with cold pack meds.

If your Rx meds don't require certain temps but is likely to be tempting, you'll want to make sure that you don't wave this around in public. Store the meds in a safe in the hotel or double lock it (a locked bag INSIDE a locked suitcase) for maximum protection in your destination. Do not leave things around for people to see if you're really worried about this.

And just know that the 'they' who are out to take your American stuff probably don't give a flip unless you wave stuff around and say hey - look at me, the rich American with narcotics and expensive jewelry. People in Europe also wear wedding bands, engagement rings and take medication for conditions.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!!

Posted by
27 posts

For medications such as insulin, Frio makes pouches of various sizes that keep things from getting too warm in hot weather. They are similar to those neck coolers that people wear in the summer. They have little beads that swell up when you soak the pouch in water for a few minutes and don't require refrigeration. See

Posted by
3549 posts

What is a good way to keep valuables safe while travelling? I don't
want to be burdened down with many bags or totes.

Papers * (prescriptions, receipts, maps), credit cards, phones,
jewellry (wedding ring), medicines that can't get warm......

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Always a good topic of discussion. While I don't know about medicines that need refrigeration, I can talk about the others on your list. All the jewelry I bring which is minimal is what I wear when I leave home including my wedding ring. I leave my engagement ring and anniversary eternity band at home. I also no longer wear earrings as I tend to lose them especially on airplanes. I also leave my expensive watch at home. I wear what I bring throughout the entire trip.

I put my prescription medication and vitamins in a zip lock bag and keep them with me in my Travelon anti-theft crossbody bag whose main and outer zippers lock. My credit cards are in my wallet inside the crossbody bag as is my phone. I never keep my phone in my pockets.

Posted by
3768 posts

I take very little, but some are things others probably don't. Here are my "valuables" and why I take them.

  1. Driver license, car key (no clicker) and house key. These go in my tote or carry-on enroute and end up locked in my bag or the room safe if I have one.
  2. List of emergency contacts, medical conditions, doctors and meds along with phone numbers. List of my abnormal blood test results. Copy of travel insurance basics. One of each of these goes in my cross-body purse and in my money belt. I hope that if I'm not able to talk and my purse somehow disappears, someone will locate my money belt and at least learn who I am and what my medical issues are.
  3. Passport. In my money belt. I always wear it. I don't find that a great burden. See #2 above.
  4. Two each debit and credit cards. I start out with USD and leftover EUR. When I get EUR from a cash machine, I go to a toilet ASAP, put most of the cash in my money belt and the rest in a little zippered coin purse. In a different coin purse I take enough USD for food in US airports, both going and coming home. The USD coin purse joins the #1 items when I'm settled into my room.
  5. Meds. I take enough of my prescription and OTC meds for the trip and a little extra. They go in my "medical" bag along with other OTC items, then in my tote, along with the other items for use during the flight. The tote fits under the seat in front of me. In Europe I leave the meds in my room, except for those I need for the day.
  6. Receipts. Go in my purse until I get back to the room. The credit and debit card ones go in a ziplock bag. I toss the others.
  7. Maps. Go in my purse or a little backpack day bag -- if I take any maps or a day bag. I use Google Maps a lot for local directions.
  8. Phone. Goes in my purse.
  9. Jewelry. I take very little jewelry of any kind and nothing is of any great value. I wear rings, a necklace, a watch and earrings every day. What I don't have on joins the #1 items. Ahem, earrings are great souvenirs, small and lightweight.

Linked below is the baggage and money belt I plan to take on a 36 night trip this summer. Everything is carry-on.

  1. Eagle Creek Load Warrior 20 International Carry-on. Scroll down the page for details. Dimensions. 20.25 x 14 x 8 in | 36L | 4 lb 9 oz.
  2. Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil™ Sling Bag (crossbody tote). 13.6 x 11.8 x 4 in | 16L | 2.2 oz. My meds, electronics and purse will all fit in this bag.
  3. Baggallini Quilted Pocket Crossbody Bag. 9 x 8.8 x 2 in | 4 oz w/o wristlet. I love the vertical zippered phone pocket.
  4. Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Day Pack. 19 x 11 x 8 | 20L | 2.4 oz.
  5. EAZYMATE - Travel Money Belt. Obviously it's worn under clothing, not like the picture.
Posted by
8293 posts

Three cheers for emma. Last comment very apt.

Posted by
198 posts

As another poster mentioned, there are insulin pouches that will keep things cool. I have eye drops that need to be kept at 75 degrees or lower. Most of the time in Europe, I don't have a room fridge available. Also, no AC, so I bought a pouch from Amazon. It has worked very well for me.

Posted by
22169 posts

Well said, Emma !! Everything has to be in balance. Careful but not overly paranoid. Polite and not rude. Reasonable common sense and not knee-jerk reactions.

Posted by
996 posts

99 times out of 100 someone offering help will not have an ulterior motive. They will just want to help. Whether you choose to accept the help is up to you. Try not see threats where they don't exist

Well said! We just returned from San Francisco. I owe a HUGE thanks to two women I did not know who were kind enough to help me figure out which train/route I wanted to reach a certain place. They saw me standing there, clearly trying to puzzle this out on my own.

Posted by
1654 posts

Don't fall to anyone being too nice to you in big cities, like giving you directions or showing you where to go.

Gee David, I disagree with that broad statement. I'm not saying it doesn't happen -- even in the USA.

On my first trip to Rome, if it hadn't been for some nice persons talking with me and giving me advice on some things, I would have been turned around. They were very happy to help me. As a matter of fact, two of those people are now my overseas friends. Saw them my last trip (like I never left.)

Another time, on my first trip, I asked a city worker for directions to a store in the Campo area. I showed the worker the address. He told me I was close but it was off the main piazza. He made it fun, crooked his arm, had me take it, joked to his coworkers he'd be back in a while, lol, and off we went.

I advise travelers on the forum who are not used to traveling around or living in large cities to be confident and keep a big city awareness. But with that, you gotta relax a bit too. You're missing a lot of fun!

added: David, I re-read your post. And, it's a shame you were a victim. I can understand your being jaded. I understand that each incident added to the wall of distrust and your upset. It's so unfortunate that bad people's actions can heavily influence perceptions and thoughts. It's good to advise, suggest and caution people, but not scare them.

Posted by
101 posts

I would leave the jewelry at home to keep it safe. Cash, credit cards, passport, etc. go in a security wallet worn under clothing. Mine attaches to my belt and tucks in the front of my pants at my left thigh. Phone stays in a pocket with zip or button closure.

Posted by
2764 posts

If you are staying in a hotel or private apartment, leave anything you aren’t using (extra money, medicine you don’t need during the day, papers, etc) there. Either in a safe or buried in your suitcase. If your meds need refrigeration, talk to the hotel or rent a room/apartment with a fridge. If they just need to stay at room temp, keeping them in the room out of sunlight should be fine.

Money belt for passport or emergency cash. I don’t use one but it is safest. I just leave this stuff in the room, or in an inside zipper pocket of my bag.

For what you need out and about during the day, use a crossbody bag carried in front of you. Only cash and credit card you will use, phone, camera, and non-valuable items like maps. Bag should zip closed and ideally will have interior pockets with zippers. I safety pin those closed for another layer.

Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t leave your phone on the corner of a table or set your bag down and turn your back.

Posted by
47 posts

My real engagement ring stays home, I wear a copy cubic zirconia we had made that looks like it instead and leave my wedding band home as I do not want to lose it. If I lose the copy ring, no biggie, but I like wearing something so I wear the fake while traveling.

I wear one set of comfort back earrings, that way I do not feel compelled to remove them at night as the earring backs are flush on my ear lobes and do not bother me wearing while I sleep. They're also CZ and look like small diamonds, so elegant and subtle on my ears, so I at least look like I thought about jewelry before I headed out for the day!

Other than those two things, I don't take other jewelry - I use scarves to dress up outfits instead of jewelry.

In my cross-body purse I carry money for the day, along with my lowest limit credit card and paper copies of our passports. I also have a picture of each passport on my phone and in my email. I have all travel documents uploaded into my google docs account so I can access online, then a copy is resident on my phone too. These days I rarely carry print copies, but if I do, I put them in my purse.

In the money holster I wear I carry our passports, any cash I won't need during the day, my other credit card, and debit card.

I don't carry medicines that cannot get warm, but you could buy a small lunch pouch, big enough to hold a sandwich, looks like a small electronics case....zipper around it (if that's big enough, otherwise look for size you need), along with a small cold pack that you can freeze each night to put into the case in the morning. I would think most hotels would have a place you can freeze the small freezer pack overnight if you don't have a refrigerator/freezer in your room.

The medicine we do have to carry - two epi-pens - I put one in my purse, the other goes in my son's backpack - that way we at least have one should one get lost or a bag stolen. Our OTC medications I take on trips I just pack into our things normally - any of those can be purchased, if needed, along the way if something happened and we lost what I brought as part of our first aid kit.

Posted by
5818 posts

First of all, don't take stuff that you absolutely cannot bear to lose because they cannot be replaced. Every thing else is just money and/or an inconvenience.

Re "papers". Scan documents and store them on your "device" and in the "cloud" or a saved e-mail to yourself. If you need the original paper (e.g. passport) keep it in a secured personal bag (neck wallet, money belt etc.).

Meds that can't get warm in an insulated pouch while in route and with the kindness of your hotel if you don't have a mini-fridge.