“Never leave your bag unattended” is timely advice, not just limited to airport security. And what sounds like straight forward advice is actually the leading cause of most travel woes! When, for instance, do you ever think twice about leaving your bag on the beach? Or at your feet during a lunch with views of the Seine?
Actually, beach bags are becoming an incredibly hot target for theft, with a typical beach bag now worth thousands of dollars. Sound far fetched? Not when you consider it might include a couple of mobile phones, one or two Kindles, a handful of credit cards and an iPad.
Enjoying a casual lunch with your bag at your feet? If it’s loose, it’s a target for theft. Secure your bag by looping a strap around either your arm, leg or chair leg.
If you’re sleeping in public, on a train or at an airport, be sure to do the same. Loop an arm through one of your bag straps while you sleep. Fasten your bag to the seat, luggage rack, or yourself. I will always have at least one part of my body connected to my bag if I’m enjoying a public nap.
Remember, even a minor obstacle or inconvenience can be an effective deterrent for thieves. It’s not necessarily about making your bag impenetrable, but just less appealing than the next guys!
But as someone who has had her unattended bag torn apart by monkeys in the Serengeti National Park, I don’t just offer this advice with criminals in mind – you’re also targeted by wildlife!
This is especially true for those hiking who leave food in unattended bags. You could be on the most remote island in the world with 0% chance of theft, but that’s not going to stop hungry or curious creatures from sniffing around!
The main point here is to be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep in mind that the most common technique for bag theft is distraction. A lot of the time criminals will work in groups, with one person causing a distraction while another takes the bag.
It sounds like overkill harping on with this advice, but you would not believe how many bags fall victim to being left unattended abroad!