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Safety Advice needed for Backpacking

Travel Forums Europe Safety Advice needed for Backpacking

1. Posted by Backpacker2014 (Budding Member 9 posts) 40w

Hi All,

As a first time backpacker traveling to Europe (Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Munich, Innsbruck, Venice & Rome), I wanted to ask about safe tips/cautions regarding my passport and money.

I wanted to know what was the safest way carry around my cash and passport (as I heard purses, especially those without zippers can easily get snatched, etc).

Also, since my actual backpack will be left in a hostel room when I am out in the city during the day and will be bringing a daypack (purse) with me, what ways can I ensure that my backpack is safe in the hostel? I obviously will have locks on the backpack, but what if the backpack itself gets stolen? We may be sharing the rooms with other strangers so it is just a concern of mine.

I am really new to this as previously mentioned, so these questions may be of common sense for some of you, but would really appreciate your suggestions and advice!

Thanks,
Zarah

2. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member 335 posts) 40w

First you can reduce the impact of being robbed by splitting your money a few ways - say a day wallet, a concealed money belt, and your main pack - each with a bank card and a portion of your cash.

Carry only what you need for the day.

Take your own padlock to use on hostel lockers, put your pack inside the locker when possible - that's more secure than a zip or pack which can be slashed.

Leave your main current account card at home so you can't be cleaned out. Top up your trio of prepaid debit cards online from your current account. The bank website will let you set up the details in advance for the account to top up from, you just log in to do a transfer and that ligin if compromised would only allow them to top up more onto your card, not see your current account details.

Minimise risk by not accessing anything beyond your day wallet in public.

I'm sure others will have more tips but those are good starters. :-)

[ Edit: Edited on 15-Mar-2014, at 16:36 by Andyf ]

3. Posted by KellieBarnes (Admin 745 posts) 40w

All of that ^

Except I would suggest something a little different during the day. Not sure if it's a paranoia thing but it seems I trust the protection of carrying anything on my person over leaving it with others and so far this has worked for me.

I take a photo/day pack which, apart from securely protecting my camera gear in the bottom, has lots of sneaky pockets. This means every day I can take with me the things I value the most: camera, iPad, wallet, passport, and keys. The passport sits in one of the sneaky pockets that rests right against my back, and the iPad only comes out when I'm alone or at my accommodation. Likewise, the sneaky pocket holds some cash, as does my main bag that is securely locked at my accommodation, and I might split it into a few other places as well. Any other travel documents like booking confirmations, etc usually stay in the day pack too.

See what works for you and what you would be comfortable carrying.

4. Posted by Backpacker2014 (Budding Member 9 posts) 40w

Quoting Andyf

First you can reduce the impact of being robbed by splitting your money a few ways - say a day wallet, a concealed money belt, and your main pack - each with a bank card and a portion of your cash.

Carry only what you need for the day.

Take your own padlock to use on hostel lockers, put your pack inside the locker when possible - that's more secure than a zip or pack which can be slashed.

Leave your main current account card at home so you can't be cleaned out. Top up your trio of prepaid debit cards online from your current account. The bank website will let you set up the details in advance for the account to top up from, you just log in to do a transfer and that ligin if compromised would only allow them to top up more onto your card, not see your current account details.

Minimise risk by not accessing anything beyond your day wallet in public.

I'm sure others will have more tips but those are good starters. :-)

Hi Andyf,

You brought up some great pointers that I had'nt thought of. One of my concerns was that I would be bringing a large amount of cash with me for food/etc for a month and was very nervous about that. Splitting it up and keeping them in different places seems beneficial. Say if money was stolen, it would just be a portion from that one place rather than everything.

Also prepaid debit cards is another thing that I was not even aware of and will surely take advantage of on my trip! I'm definitely going to purchase a money belt and padlock before I leave. Thanks for your advice!
:)

5. Posted by Backpacker2014 (Budding Member 9 posts) 40w

Quoting KellieBarnes

All of that ^

Except I would suggest something a little different during the day. Not sure if it's a paranoia thing but it seems I trust the protection of carrying anything on my person over leaving it with others and so far this has worked for me.

I take a photo/day pack which, apart from securely protecting my camera gear in the bottom, has lots of sneaky pockets. This means every day I can take with me the things I value the most: camera, iPad, wallet, passport, and keys. The passport sits in one of the sneaky pockets that rests right against my back, and the iPad only comes out when I'm alone or at my accommodation. Likewise, the sneaky pocket holds some cash, as does my main bag that is securely locked at my accommodation, and I might split it into a few other places as well. Any other travel documents like booking confirmations, etc usually stay in the day pack too.

See what works for you and what you would be comfortable carrying.

KellieBarnes,

Im actually in the process of looking to purchase a new camera for my trip and can understand how beneficial the pockets on the camera bag can be. At first I was concerned with purchasing a slightly bigger camera, but now realize that I can use the camera bag as a daypack and for other important things (such as passport, keys, etc that will definitely be with me at all times). Those sneaky pockets will work in my favour! Thanks for sharing!

6. Posted by KellieBarnes (Admin 745 posts) 40w

You're welcome Zarah :)

And absolutely, hands down, a prepaid debit/travel card will save a lot of your cash concerns.

7. Posted by budgeteurotrip (Budding Member 38 posts) 40w

HI,
you will be travelling in western europe and in quite wealthy countries.
No big risks at all, just use your common sense.
Most of the hostels are equipped with lockers.
In 2 years backpacking in eu I've never had a cent stolen or taken.

Prepaid debit card is a great tip. Do not exchange money in the streets, in prague there was a famous scam regarding people offering a better rate exchange with different currency than czech.

In vienna, munich, innsbruck and venice the only risks you will have is to over pay for a meal or a drink :)
in Roma just be careful, especially in the night, at the main railway station zone (termini).

8. Posted by Rachel_GYTS (Budding Member 7 posts) 39w

Hi Zarah,

For storing cash, passports and small items safely while you're out, I'd recommend an under clothes money belt or neck pouch.

As for your backpack, making sure all zips are locked is a must but to help prevent it getting stolen, you can buy a pacsafe rucksack protector to pull over it. This is pretty much just a slashproof mesh cover and can be locked to a bed post or another object that's difficult to move. They can be a little on the heavy side but if you're really concerned about your backpack getting stolen, it's worth getting one.

9. Posted by Backpacker2014 (Budding Member 9 posts) 39w

Quoting budgeteurotrip

HI,
you will be travelling in western europe and in quite wealthy countries.
No big risks at all, just use your common sense.
Most of the hostels are equipped with lockers.
In 2 years backpacking in eu I've never had a cent stolen or taken.

Prepaid debit card is a great tip. Do not exchange money in the streets, in prague there was a famous scam regarding people offering a better rate exchange with different currency than czech.

In vienna, munich, innsbruck and venice the only risks you will have is to over pay for a meal or a drink :)
in Roma just be careful, especially in the night, at the main railway station zone (termini).

Thanks for sharing your experiences and the heads up on the possible scamers! Its a bit reassuring to know that as long as I'm careful and cautious I should be fine :)

10. Posted by Backpacker2014 (Budding Member 9 posts) 39w

Quoting Rachel_GYTS

Hi Zarah,

For storing cash, passports and small items safely while you're out, I'd recommend an under clothes money belt or neck pouch.

As for your backpack, making sure all zips are locked is a must but to help prevent it getting stolen, you can buy a pacsafe rucksack protector to pull over it. This is pretty much just a slashproof mesh cover and can be locked to a bed post or another object that's difficult to move. They can be a little on the heavy side but if you're really concerned about your backpack getting stolen, it's worth getting one.

Hi Rachel_GYTS,

Thats a great idea! I'd definitely feel better knowing that my money belt or neck pouch was not visible. I would give me a peace of mind throughout the trip, so that I can actually not worry. Storing all my valuables under clothes is the way I think I will go with this trip! Going to purchase one before I leave. Thanks

Also I wasnt even aware of a pacsafe rucksack protector! I think I'll check it out in store to see how heavy it is and if its worth carrying the extra weight :)