My theory is if you look less like a tourist, you will get treated less like a tourist. All the pickpockets that you get warned about won’t hear you giving off the vulnerable tourist wavelength that only dogs and ratbags can hear, if you feel comfortable enough to look like you know what’s up. Common sense carries a lot of weight – don’t go overboard on the touristy stuff but also don’t be singing merrily about the crippling debt you’ll face when you get home as the direct result of your now fully-stacked wallet ready to go with dolla dolla bills yo, right there in everyone elses’ face. Not sensible.
My advice is to wear what you feel comfortable in, and use a wallet / purse / money clip (if you’re super fancy) like you always do. No one is going to look at you sideways if you fit in with everyone else getting their wallets out at lunch time. They might look at you funny if you’re hoiking up your shirt flashing your goodies while you get your money out of that flesh-coloured-under-shirt-travel-passport-carrier though. But hey! If you feel safer that way, flash away, you might even get yourself a discount. Because #feminism.
I digress; I did in fact buy one of those flesh-coloured-under-shirt-travel-passport-carrier things before I left on my first adventure. In my defence, I bought ALL the things (not an exaggeration) – I got myself completely kitted out in tourist attire. The only thing I forgot was a big sign that read “HEY GUYS I’M A TOURIST, COME TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ME” and maybe a Hawaiian shirt, but I mean, it was pretty obvious at that stage that I wasn’t a local. I was nonsensically excited when I bought it too, I got home and I tried it on with literally every combination of clothing possible. I may or may not have walked around the house wearing just that, saying all the French words I knew (… “oui oui” and “baguette”), in the hopes my now clearly well-travelled and sophisticated self would seduce my boyfriend. Heads up, it didn’t work.
After that, I used it for probably two days before I gave up on it, it was such a bother getting things in and out of my wallet to put in there. I know having your valuables spread out in two locations is supposed to be clever but I found it to be more irritating and time consuming than anything – I was missing out on seeing things, spending all my money on food and taking really terrible selfies. In my opinion, they are not worth the money / effort.
My mantra in all things is – do what you feel is right. But just to be on the safe side here are a few more things I would advise to keep your stuff safe while you’re away having the time of your life –
- Lock up your suitcase / bag whenever you’re not using it – keep the keys on you at all times.
- Make sure you have something on your suitcase marking it as yours – like a ribbon or an iron on transfer or something to save yourself having a heart attack when you see anyone else with a similar suitcase.
- Tag yourself places on Facebook, or if you’re not super keen on publicising your location to the world you can change the settings so that just for family or a friend can see it, as long as someone knows where you are at all times you’re golden.
- Most accommodations have lockers, if you feel that way inclined, ask at the service desk.
- Lastly, but not least-ly, don’t buy a whole new wardrobe because you think you’ll wear it all overseas if you can’t imagine wearing it at home. All those sensible thermals and boots will end up being the bane of your existence, having to constantly move them aside to get to your old favourites, or all your sweet new swag that you’ve undoubtedly picked up along the way. I had to send two boxes home the first time I went away and it was all stuff I’d brought over with me, but hadn’t worn because I’d felt like a dork or I’d bought new stuff. Let’s be honest, we all spend a lot of time taking selfies (because ‘photos or it didn’t happen’) and I wanted to look hip and trendy, because #priorities.
What do you do to keep yourself feeling safe when you’re away?
Kat Wood is LGG’s regular guest contributor having travelled extensively throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She is now an emerging columnist for the lifestyle industry covering topics ranging from her global escapades to the trials and triumphs that motherhood brings her.