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  1. Neil Mahoney says:

    Hi guys
    Great podcast, but I have serious issues with your latest podcast on travel security. I have travelled extensively both for work and personally through se Asia, China, both east and Western Europe and North America, as well as my home country Australia.
    My top do nots are:
    1. Never use the hotel safe. Everyone who works there probably has the master code, even the cleaners. It is amazing what you pick up when working at a place for a while.
    2. Locks never work. Especially on zipped bags. They are great to give you time to notice that something is happening, but offer no security at all. The tsa thing is a joke. Who do you think is most likely to be involved in illicit trade? The same people who have access to tsa keys, baggage handlers for instance. How do you stop someone from picking your lock when you have handed custody of your bag over to an airline?
    3. The concealable money belts are one of the highest theft targets everywhere, they don’t so much conceal as show odd bulges, and are quite obvious. Very easy to steal on a crowded train or bus or wherever there is a crush of people.

    I think the best thing you put across is to pay attention to your surroundings.
    Splitting cash is sensible, but I disagree with putting anything but coins or low denomination money in a backpack, and you gave several great examples as to why this is a really bad idea. Always keep valuable on your person.
    Certainly never have any type of card away from you body. There are heaps of places in the world where this can start full ID theft if they go missing. Same applies for travellers chequers and other similar international money’s.

    Always tidy up your things in your room whether hostel, hotel, homestay or friends or relatives place. Either out of respect or security. Valuables are less likely to go missing if they are in an obvious place in your bag. If you feel you have to hide valuables in your room, then

    When travelling with others, stay together. My wife had someone else’s hand in her handbag on a Paris train at peak hour because she though I was being rude when I tried to force us to the empty space between train carriages. Nothing taken thanks to an observant local. But, We could do nothing. They got on with us (I think we were marked as tourists) and they got off one stop later, less than a minute of travel. At least 2 people, but I think 3 people. One picking the bag, one keeping between my wife and I, and he moved to stop me when I tried to get back to her, and I think a third who broke our hand hold and kept her distracted.
    Have each other’s back. Talk about the odd little things you see, make the other person aware.

    I am typically not paranoid about theft when travelling, and some people who I have travelled with think I am quite blasé about the risks and my control measures.
    I can offer however that while I have had several near misses, to the best of my knowledge, I have never been robbed.


    1. Hi Neil, Thanks for your great comment! That’s interesting that you don’t recommend the hotel safe; we often don’t use it ourselves but feel that if something is stolen from there, at least the hotel has expressed an obligation to its safety. Perhaps a good solution would be to take a photo of its contents before going out and leaving things there? While I agree with you about locks not being very secure, I think they do offer some level of protection, especially on daybags and carry-on bags. Because I always lock my bag, it’s never partially open, which might be a temptation for an opportunistic thief. Of course, if someone really wants to get in, they can. Keeping together is a great tip, and looking out for your travel companions is really important. Craig often asks me to keep an eye on our surroundings when he’s checking his phone for route planning, or something like that, and I think that works well. I’m glad you got through your Paris experience with nothing stolen. Sounds like it was a well-practiced group.

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