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Caring for Valuables on the Road – How to Pack and Protect

Packing to protect valuables and belongings in general

From the basic necessities to the luxury items, the Her Packing List crew wants to help you choose what to bring on your next adventure. We know you’re putting careful thought into your packing list – but have you thought about how to keep your items safe? From minimizing the risk of theft to keeping your electronics cared for, the following tips can help provide peace of mind to the traveler on-the-go.

Pack valuables in your carry-on luggage

Always pack jewelry, money, credit cards, passport, anything fragile, and other items of value in your carry-on bag or personal item. On a train or bus, keep your items in sight and consider wearing a money belt or keeping your most important items in a small purse if you have to be separated from your backpack.

This also includes any important medications you take, especially prescription medicine. If you have it in your checked luggage and the airline loses your bag, you could be without your medicine for hours or even days.

Receipts, warranties, insurance, and photocopies

If you have paperwork for expensive electronics, leave documentation with family and friends in the event of theft or if an item is in need of repair.

It’s also a good idea to make photocopies of important items like your passport and credit cards in case they get lost or stolen. Leave the photocopies with friends or family, or keep an electronic copy somewhere you can access it.

Padded bags

I only met a few travelers during my year in Australia who did not travel with a laptop! Keep yours working for as long as it should by stowing it in a padded case when it’s not in use. Even with the best of intentions, we may throw or shove our bags on planes or public transport. A little padding can go a long way in protecting your laptop and other electronic devices.

A padded bag or case also protects a D-SLR. I bought a fantastic all-in-one purse and D-SLR camera bag and kept my camera safely inside whenever I wasn’t using it. One day in the Outback, I accidentally dropped my bag, and it landed with a loud thud. I hesitated to look inside for fear of what I would find. While my lens was broken in several places, the camera body was in perfect condition. Thankfully I only had to pay to replace the lens and not the entire camera.

camera bag purse
Heather's special purse and camera bag.

Money belt

Protect your cash, credit cards, and passport in a money belt. Various styles of money belts are available so you can select one that meets your needs.

If you decide a money belt isn’t for you, find a purse or daypack that is designed to keep your belongings safe. Anti-theft bags and travel purses can be stylish and practical at the same time.

Locks and protective devices

Staying in a hostel? Most have lockers inside the room for you to store your valuables. Bring a padlock to secure your locker whenever you are away.

If you plan to be in a wet environment, consider water proof bags for electronics and other items of value. In a pinch, you can use ziplock bags to protect small items or things like papers.

Some companies make wire backpack protectors to cover a backpack and lock, preventing would-be-thieves from opening and emptying the compartments of your backpack.

Pacsafe is known for its anti-theft bags and travel security products. One of our favorites here at Her Packing List is the Pacsafe Slingsafe 300 GII.

Always lock your luggage if you check it (a TSA lock is best), and you may even consider getting your luggage wrapped for an extra level of protection both from thieving hands and luggage explosions.

Peace of mind

Whether it’s from smart packing, a security device, or worldwide travel insurance, be sure to protect the valuables you’ve packed and travel a little easier knowing you’ve minimized the possibility or cost of a stolen, lost, or damaged item.

What are your tried-and-true methods for keeping items safe on the road?

Written by Heather

Heather Rudd Palmer is a 30-something with a love for travel, food, and healthy living. After short trips to Europe in her 20s, Heather left her job at 30 to live, work, and travel in Australia for a year. She visited every state and territory, embarked on two road trips, worked at an organic food store, and ate her way through Sydney. She's now a career counselor for university students. You can find Heather at There's No Place Like Oz and Healthy Life Heather.

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Gear We Use

Organization

Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.


Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Clothing

Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Accommodation

Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking!

Booking.com – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

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