When you are travelling, there are so many opportunities for thieves to steal from your backpack or even snatch the entire backpack. It can happen in the bus, hotel room, on the streets, the airport baggage claim and dozens of other places.
Travellers tend to make for attractive targets. They look distracted and thieves know they are packing valuables in their bulging backpacks.
Short of never travelling, there is no fool proof way to secure your backpack. But you can close most loopholes that thieves look for with these backpack security tips. Read on to learn how to secure backpack when travelling.
1. Lock your backpack
Locking your backpack is the most basic action you can take when it comes to preventing theft. Because no matter how careful or attentive you are it’s fairly easy for someone to unzip the backpack and pick your valuables.
A small crowd waiting for the train or bus is all it takes for someone to open your backpack. You may not even realize you’ve been robbed until much later.
Always carry a backpack that can be locked either using a small padlock or one of those safety meshes that wrap around the backpack.
Normal zippered backpacks or those with drawstring closures are a big no-no when you are traveling.
2. Use a leash or cable lock
Don’t just secure your backpack when you are on the move. Someone could swipe the entire bag when you are sleeping in your room or at the airport lounge.
One safety tactic is to tie a leash on the bag and your hand. You can use something like a bungee cord. That way, you’ll be immediately alerted if anyone tries to take your backpack.
The downside with this method is that someone can just cut the leash while you sleep and take the bag.
A more secure method is to secure the bag to an immobile object with a cable lock. You can secure it to the leg of the bed, a nearby metal bar or whatever else is nearby.
Use a steel cable lock that cannot be cut through and remember to keep your bag locked as well.
3. Don’t forget the outside pockets
When you are packing your backpack, always store the most important things deep down where they are had to reach. Keep the other less important stuff on top or in the side pockets.
But if you have to put something valuable or semi-valuable in the exterior pockets, maybe for quick access or whichever reason, get small padlocks for them too or just use a mesh protector that covers the entire bag.
4. Keep the backpack close
Whenever you are in a risky location, pay triple attention to your backpack and keep it close to you. You are an easy target in crowded places, trains, busses and restaurants.
In a bus for instance, someone can easily snatch the backpack out of the window. In a restaurant, someone can pick it up from where you’ve left it on the floor.
If you have to stow the backpack in an overhead compartment, keep a close eye on it especially as people begin to disembark.
5. Get a security backpack
There are many types of anti-theft backpacks sold online. They come with all sorts of security features from simple ones like zipper locks to more advanced measures such as embedded anti-slash meshes.
Some security backpacks have hidden zippers to deter pick pockets.
In addition to being anti-theft, most security backpacks are also water-resistant and shockproof making them great for all-round safety.
- Don’t carry your valuables. If you don’t really need that expensive camera or tablet, leave them at home. Only carry basic necessities. You can even have a separate cheaper phone just for travelling.
- Spread your money and documents around. Don’t put everything in one place. Make sure that even if someone takes your wallet, you’ll not be left high and dry. Spread your money and important documents in different backpack pockets and put some in your own pockets.
- Photocopy your documents. Always make sure you have photocopies of your passport, credit cards, driver’s license and so on. Keep them separate from the originals. You can even have some copies sitting in your hotel room. They will come in handy in case you lose the originals.
- Don’t draw attention. Finally, don’t be the flashy tourist who’s just begging to be robbed. Expensive sunglasses, gleaming jewellery and luxury watch are big advertisements for thieves. They’ll assume there’s even more stuff in your backpack. Blend in with the local population and walk with confidence.