My Girlfriend and I are off on a 4month trip to Asia in Feb and were just wondering if someone could help us out with the following. Heres our dilemma;
In certain destinations we will be staying at hotels/hostels etc for a day or more and will obviously want to go out on various expeditions without the weighty burden of our full Backpacks (hence, leaving them in the room). Does anyone have any suggestions for exterior door locking mechanisms/ any advice to ensure security.
Do you mean you want to put an additional lock on someone elses door ? Erm.
My advice would be to take all your valuables out with you (money, passport, wallet etc.), you'll have your camera with you anyway, so all that will be in your room is clothes, some clean and maybe others that are not so fresh. I think it unlikely that anyone will steal your clothes or little trinkets that you've bought while travelling.
If you are staying in Asian hostels, they normally have lockers that only you have the key for. In hotels you can leave your property in the lobby and it'll be either free to do so, or maybe there'll be a tiny fee of less than a small beer.
It certainly is of some concern. I know that I had terrible luck with door locks coming off in my hand in Vietnam -several times. My solution is simply not to carry valuables. I've never been robbed, and I select hotels very carefully. I also never carry a great deal of cash with me - my debit card is the most important single item on me!
It sounds like you're planning on taking the kitchen sink with you? I would rethink that plan, and use small packs instead (works for me).
[ Edit: Edited on 01-Oct-2009, at 11:20 by Daawgon ]
I have seen products for locking doors when you are in the room, but not if you leave the room. I would imagine your best bet is to take valuables with you or put them in a locker or safe.
It looks like we're all thinking along the same lines here. The comment about the kitchen sink is well worth considering.
I had a friend who was robbed on a train once when he fell asleep. They took just about everything, including his wallet and passport. He realised afterwards that the vast majority of stuff that was pinched was not necessary for him to travel with and he could have left it behind at home. The passport and wallet theft caused a big problem for a day or two, but it was all sorted out. Just take what you need, no more.
The people that insist on laptops, i-pods, a sack of camera equipment that weighs a ton, expensive mobile phones etc., really need in my opinion to re-think the reason they are travelling for. All you need is a few clothes, sleeping gear if you are camping, a good compact camera, basic mobile phone and a few knick-knacks that are of necessity rather than unnecessary luxury. It's a proven fact that the vast majority of inexperienced travellers take around 3-4 times more gear with them than what they actually use or need. Overpacking could be your only dilemma.
Some hotels have some lockers or places wherein you can deposit your belongings and it will only be you who will have the key.
You could consider getting a pacsafe or a travelsafe. I took both with me on my trip around South America. The travelsafe is great, compact, and perfect for your wallet, passport and camera when you don't take them out. It's a small Kevlar mesh bag that you can lock to pretty much anything. It provides nice piece of mind when you leave your stuff to go out. The pacsafe is a bit bulkier and heavy, was nice on the Amazon or when camping around lots of people, but it's rather flashy and can be a pain in the butt. I wouldn't recommend it, but it is worthwhile if you are very worried about your stuff. Neither are 100% safe, but they prevent the “grab and go” idea the may be going through someone's head.
I also disagree that you should pack as light as possible. I have no problem carrying a few extra pounds, so a netbook or a good camera are indispensable for me, I am a writer and would prefer to spend my afternoon lounging somewhere writing on my own computer while sipping a cold beer than being cramped into an internet cafe trying to get in and out within 30 minutes, while trying to type when the "T" key doesn't work right!