Knock on wood… I’ve never had real problems with traveling and getting things stolen. Small things have disappeared, but in general I’m more prone to breaking or losing my possessions (if anyone wants to contribute a post on how not to do that, please let me know!).
I don’t go to great lengths to hide my valuables a la the tips I’m going to share here, but I do follow the basics. Most crime experts agree that thieves spend only a few minutes searching rooms or possessions for valuables, so I tend to leave a small amount as “bait”. I also avoid tricks (like the standard money belt that goes under your shirt) that assuredly 100% of the criminal element knows about by now. If you do want some sneaky conveinent ways to hide things, here’s your pick of products.
1. The more literal money belt — Doing double duty as an actual belt, a small zipper on the inside allows you to stash cash (and maybe a key) but not much else. Eagle creek actually has as range of styles to choose from priced around $15. (the above model is more like $40)
2. Fake hair spray, soda cans, shaving cream or any other “diversion safes” – I’m personally less jazzed about this one. First, it seems like a well-intentioned maid could easily toss your vacay stash thinking the weirdly light soda can was empty. And come on, they actually make an aqua net diversion safe. Would you not be immediately suspicious of anyone claiming to still use aqua net?
If you do go this route, make sure to choose a plausible toiletry or a product they might actually have in the country you’re visiting. Even the dimmest criminal might be suspicious that you took the trouble to haul rite aid cola in your suitcase…
3. Skid-marked underwear — I decided (or hoped) that our readership was a bit too genteel for a picture of this one. It’s a pair of fake-soiled underpants with a secret pocket to keep cash; one assumes that no one would want to go near these (there’s even a little “scent” one can add to make it more realistic. gross, gross, gross, gross….) Though I’m not sure going this far is necessary, the strategy of hiding valuables in dirty clothes (a pair of muddy hiking pants will do just fine) is not bad.
4. The secret compartment flip-flop — Nice for convenience at the beach, my guess is any thief that stalks the dunes for quick cash could spot this distinct brand. But I think it could work in a hotel.
5. The “StashCard” — Use the empty PC card slot in your laptop to hide some extra cash. No word on how to keep the computer from getting stolen…
6. Make a hidden pocket — Not a product exactly, but these are good instructions for adding extra hidden liner pockets on the inside of your pants. No word on how to retrieve the cash without looking pervy…..
7. In your socks — A mugger would probably find this one, but it would prevent pickpockets and bag snatchers from getting the good stuff. Try carrying a diversion, a cheap wallet with a few bucks in it while putting your real stuff elsewhere.
8. The fake book — It’s actually called The Fake Book. So much for subtlety.
9. The coat hanger — This one is kind of cool. It’s a slightly thicker version of a coat hanger that can be opened at the ends. Put a jacket over the hanger and it looks pretty inconspicuous.
10. In your boxers with a secret pocket — am I the only internet travel tip writer left who’s not obsessed with stuffing money in my underwear? Restore my faith, dear flashpackers, try to keep your money and your dignity.