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Top Tips for Avoiding Backpacker Travel Theft

Posted on March 21, 2016

Having your belongings stolen is a traumatic and upsetting experience that can happen to anyone. When you’re travelling, there is a chance that you will become the victim of theft, but there are things you can do to cut down on the risk and potentially make you feel safer while you’re away.

Be careful with your Money

A lot of ATMs charge you for each withdrawal you make. Consequently, a lot of people will withdraw one large lump sum and just try and keep it out of sight. In actual fact, it might be worth just taking the charges on the chin and withdrawing much smaller amounts several times throughout your trip. While it will cost you a little more, you will be in a far better situation if your money is stolen. After all, would you rather lose £20 in one hit or £200?

Some people choose to put their money and passport in a money belt and keep it hidden away from view. However, experienced thieves will know this and may instead demand the money, threatening you with a weapon in the process. You might do well to use the belt for your documents and bank cards, then carry around a dummy wallet or keep a small amount of cash in your pocket that you will be using. If you are threatened, you can hand over the fake wallet instead, potentially saving yourself a lot of money and hassle.

Savings
 

Lock It Up

You may not have your belongings in sight at all times, so make sure you keep them as secure as you possibly can. When travelling between different destinations, your bag may be in the hold of a plane or the roof of a bus, so you won’t be able to keep an eye on it. During these times, your belongings can be a very tempting target to thieves, so make sure you have taken the necessary steps to protect them.

Attach padlocks to your backpack or even a plastic rain cover. It might seem silly but if it makes a thief’s job harder, there’s more chance of you noticing what they’re trying to do, thereby preventing your things from being stolen.

When you’re leaving your belongings somewhere like the hostel, make sure you put them in a secure locker. Take your own locks if you aren’t comfortable with the ones available; just be sure not to lose the keys when you’re out and about. If you are feeling extra wary or uncomfortable, make sure your valuables are on your person, rather than left unattended for hours at a time.

Safe
 

Know the Danger Zones

Some places are more dangerous than others, with pickpockets tending to frequent busy cities and tourist hot spots. It’s easy to stop paying attention when you’re busy taking pictures or enjoying the views, but try to stay aware at all times – especially when there are lots of people around.

Backpackers are an easy target because they stand out from the rest of the crowd. Try to blend in a bit and at least look like you know where you’re going. Avoid checking a map in public because this shows that you’re lost and that makes you appear vulnerable. Some thieves will take advantage of this and offer to help you, while their partner in crime steals your wallet or other valuables before you’ve even realised what’s happening.

Stealing mobile phone from back pocket
 

Don’t be Flashy

If you really want to avoid being a backpacker who’s a victim of theft, don’t flash your wealth around. You might be travelling around with a mobile phone, a tablet and some seriously expensive jewellery, but you don’t need to let the whole world know. One of the best mantras to have is ‘don’t travel with anything you can’t bear to lose’. Do you really need to wear all the bling every day? Can you make that phone call on your new iPhone somewhere more private?

Check the details of your backpacker travel insurance policy as well. Some insurers won’t cover you for personal valuables or if you haven’t taken steps to keep things secure. Make sure you keep your belongings out of sight as much as possible and leave the fancy jewellery at home.

When you’re taking a gap year and travelling around, it’s easy to get into holiday mode and let your guard down. While nobody is saying that you should fret your time away, still keep your wits about you and be aware of everyone and everything nearby. Your travel insurance might cover you, should anything go wrong, but in an ideal world, you don’t want to find yourself in a position where you need to make a claim in the first place.

10 Incredible Places You May Have Never Heard of…

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The World is an intriguing place with an abundance of natural beauty and unexplainable evolution. We have been gifted thumping waterfalls, expansive canyons and exquisite reefs. Many of which have been turned into desirable tourist attractions and must-see places. Some would describe them as bucket-list style destinations, but how about the lesser known places that are yet to be thrust under the spotlight? Here is our pick of 10 incredible places you have never heard of…

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

This beautiful nineteenth-century castle sits elegantly atop a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria. Intended as a personal refuge for King Ludwig II it was opened to the public after his death in 1886.

If you think the look of this castle looks strangely familiar you maybe recognise it as the main inspiration behind Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Attracting over 1.3 million visitors annually, this is one of the better known destinations on this list, but is still well worth an inclusion.

Schloss Neuschwanstein
 

Giant Crystal Cave, Mexico

300 metres below the surface of Chihuahua in Mexico lays one of the most amazing natural formations ever discovered. Caves containing the largest selenite crystals ever found, reaching 11 metres in length and 4 metres wide.

These crystals are believed to have formed some 500,000 years ago with the help of underground magma deposits, heating the water in the caves to a blistering 50°C.

Unfortunately for most, the closest you will get to these fascinating structures are the pictures. Since their discovery in 2000 they have been off limits to the general public, not only for their preservation, but also due to the fact this is an extremely dangerous cave.

Razor sharp rocks, scalding water and a heat so unbearable that those who enter can only withstand several minutes before risking passing out (and in some cases dying)

While this is truly a place of beauty, it is one best admired from afar.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

The world’s largest salt flats, located in the Potosí and Oruro departments in southwest Bolivia.

This stunning landscape covers some 12,000 sq km (4633 sq mi) the remaining lake was part of a prehistoric salt lake which once covered most of southwest Bolivia.

This destination has long attracted tourists due to the mirrored effect given by the flats against the clear blue sky and it is certainly an awe-inspiring sight. If you are planning on backpacking in South America this should definitely be on your list.

Salar de Uyuni
 

Burning Crater of Turkmenistan

Dubbed “The Door to Hell” this is a truly terrifying sight, a burning pit in the middle of the Karakum Desert, 230ft wide and 66ft deep which has been raging for the past 40 years, this may not sound like the most inviting of destinations but it is certainly one you will never forget.

The site came about after a Soviet outpost was set up to drill for natural gas in the area. After the initial success of discovering the gas resources; the ground beneath the camp collapsed, having being swallowed into an enormous crater. Amazingly no lives were lost in the accident but they now faced the environmental issue of the large amount of methane gas which was being released from the site.

The decision was made to “burn out” the gas, by setting it alight and burning off the remaining gas, it was expected the gas would burn out after a number of weeks, but more than four decades later the fire is still burning.

Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Mount Roraima is the highest point in the Pakaraima mountain chain of Tepui Plateau in South America. The plateau boasts borders with Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana with 1,300ft cliffs on all sides.

Since the first recorded person to scale the plateau in 1884 it has become a popular destination for backpackers and hikers. Most hikers who attempt the climb take two days to reach the base of the mountain, then another day to follow the “La Rampa” a natural staircase-like path up to the top.

This is a serious climb and should not be attempted lightly. If you want to reach the top you should take one of the many tours available for tourists.

Chand Baori Well, India

One of the oldest and biggest step wells in the world, Chand Baori looks like a geometry puzzle.

Built during the 8th 9th century by King Chanda, it provided the surrounding areas with a reliable water source for centuries before modern water systems were introduced to the area.

No longer in use, the site is an incredible place to visit to inspect the precision and scale of this 1,000 year old structure. With steps on 3 sides of the well and the fourth boasting a set of pavilions built one atop another and even a royal residence for the King and Queen and a stage for performing arts this is truly a magnificent place to visit.

Chand Baori,step well in Abhaneri village,India
 

Urup Island, Russia

Protruding from the Pacific Ocean, this uninhabited volcanic island is a breath-taking site.

Boat trips are available to get up close to the natural stone spire and the other formations in the area. The nearby island also offers beautiful wildlife and stunning waterfalls.

Once inhabited by the Ainu, they believed there are vast amounts of gold under the islands. While this is obviously up for debate, this is still a beautiful place to visit.

Zhangye Danxia Landform, China

“The eye candy of Zhangye” is a range of beautiful maintains offering a kaleidoscope of stunning colours. The Danxia landform is rich with unusual rock formations and colours which have contributed to its popularity over the years.

Formed some 6 million years ago, the mountain gained its current exterior thanks to erosion of the soft sandstone. Vivid red orange and yellow layers can be seen sweeping through the hills.

The national park offers viewing platforms for the best areas to see what Danxia has to offer, a range of tourist busses and sightseeing cars are available inside the park ensure you see everything it as to offer.

Keahiakawelo, Lanai, Hawaii

To those who know it, Keahiakawelo is better named the ‘Garden of the Gods’. A rock garden that looks scarily similar to that of a sci-fi movie set. It is located in the Northwest region of Lanai and made up of boulders and towers of rock. Head over here at dusk to get the most inspiring views of rock towers, spires and formations, created by centuries of erosion. They will glow in exceptional reds and purples. If the weather prevails, you can see the island of Oahu from the high elevations created. The sweep of red rock gardens against a backdrop of ocean creates stunning sweeping views.

Be warned, that this location is only accessible via a 4-wheel drive and the removal or stacking of rocks found here is forbidden.

…and finally

If you are looking for somewhere a bit further off the beaten track, or away from the usual backpacker and traveling destinations, we recommend doing a bit of further research and having some travel stories to really brag about…These are some of the most beautiful, untouched and quintessential destinations on the World map…

Please note, Holidaysafe's online prices automatically include a 15% discount against our Customer Service Centre prices.
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