What is the single most important item on you when you travel overseas? To many, it would be their passport. After all, how many times do you find yourself frantically rummaging through your handbag or grabbing the back pocket of your jeans while on the way to the airport to make sure you haven’t left it at home?
And then there’s also your precious phone, money and credit cards. All the things you wouldn’t want to leave home without, let alone going to a foreign land. Losing any of these items while you’re abroad can make your trip a living hell for you and the people traveling with you.
Taking a trip can be stressful especially if you’re not a frequent traveler. There is a lot of conscious thoughts and effort required in order to make sure everything is in order. Thus it is easy to overlook somethings. The consequences can be devastating, costing you a lot of time, as well as money.
While it is understandable that we often get engrossed in planning for our long-awaited and much deserved vacation, we shouldn’t neglect the safety aspect of our personal belongings. So if you are traveling soon, here are some tips on how to keep them safe.
Tips to keep your personal belonging safe during your trip
1. Be alert at all times
People who are careful don’t become that way naturally. They stay consciously alert of their actions at all times. Have you ever found yourself not knowing where you have placed your passport after receiving it back from the immigrations officer? Could it be your mind was busy thinking which way to go to get to your departure gate at the time? Remember, pay attention to every action you make!
2. Keep them close to you
One of the best places to keep your passport, money, plane tickets and phone safe when you are traveling is the inside pocket of your jacket. If you’re not into jackets, consider other alternatives such as a money belt or fanny pack. The key point is to always have these important items on you instead of packing them in your luggage or backpack. And remember to keep them out of prying eyes!
3. Choose your hotel and location wisely
It is common that we spend days and weeks picking out the ‘best’ accommodation for our vacation. One with a good breakfast spread and the perfect view of the ocean. But often we neglect to verify that the hotels have received positive reviews with regard to safety. Be sure to also check what other travelers have said about the places you are visiting. And be extra vigilant if there have been cases of scams or snatch thefts.
4. Carry only what’s necessary
Don’t bring too much cash with you, instead use debit or credit card when you can. Leave jewelries and family heirlooms at home. If you have more than one credit cards, consider only bringing one (or two, just in case). And be sure to split your cash and cards into two stashes and keep them separately. One can be in your purse or wallet, the other safely tucked in a secret compartment in your jacket, or leave in the safe in your hotel room.
5. Educate yourself on common travel scams
Knowledge is power. While reading about interesting places to visit
and things to do while on your holiday, read up also on some of the most common travel scams. Remember, these scammers are really good at what they do. Unless you know of their modus operandi beforehand, you may just become another one of their many unsuspecting victims.
Spend some time watching the video below to protect yourself from the most common travel scams.
6. Get travel insurance
No matter how careful you are and how much precautions you practice, it can still happen to you. Although insurance will not protect you from losing your previous belongings, it can minimize the substantial financial risk when they are lost or stolen during your trip. So get covered. Just because your belongings are lost, it doesn’t have to mean you losing money over them.
If you aren’t sure of how travel insurance can actually save you from having to fork out the money needed to have your lost or stolen items replaced, read on.
Travel insurance compensates you for your lost items
That alone already sounds like a good deal, especially considering that travel insurance cost a lot less than the value of your personal belongings. A smartphone and digital camera can cost thousands of ringgit to replace. While a lost passport and wallet can be a total nightmare if you’re traveling abroad – lots of bureaucratic procedures to follow and additional cost for you to have them replaced.
So travel insurance helps lessen those burden, here’s how:
1. Travel documents
Losing your travel documents such as your passport when you’re overseas means you are stuck in that country. You can not even return home until you have gotten a temporary passport. And this little pass don’t come easy either, here’s just to give you an idea of what needs to be done in case you lose your passport while traveling:
What to do when you lose your passport while traveling abroad
Step 1: Lodge a police report
Step 2: Go to the nearest Malaysian Embassy, Consulate or High Commission (locate them here). What if there’s none in the country you are stranded in? Then you will need to call one that is in the country closest to you.
Step 3: At the embassy, apply for an Emergency Certificate. This will require many documents, such a policy report, MyKad, photos, and in some cases, flight tickets and birth certs.
Step 4: The Emergency Certificate may take up to 3-5 days to be processed (this means you may need to extend your stay).
Step 5: Once you are safely back home, don’t forget to replace your emergency certificate at the immigration department.
Travel insurance cannot protect you against losing your passport, however it can minimize your financial loss by covering the cost involved in getting your passport replaced. Additional cost for accommodation, transportation like taxi rides to the embassy and communication costs involved can be substantial as you can see above. Tokio Marine’s Travel Partner for instance, allocates RM5,000 for this purpose alone.
2. Stolen money
Although there are now plenty of cashless options available such as PayWave, SamsungPay and Alipay, cash remains a necessity, particularly when traveling to less developed destinations. Carrying cash around with you increases the risk of you being targeted by pickpockets. Having a travel insurance means you are being covered to a certain amount if this happens to you. Just remember to make a police report so that you are able to claim from your insurance company.
The coverage amount for stolen money varies between companies. Tokio Marine for instance covers up to RM 750 while Allianz offers a coverage of up to RM 800.
3. Personal belongings
Personal belongings can include your phone, camera, clothes, shoes, etc. If these items are stolen during your travels, you need to file a police report within 24 hours in order to get compensation from your insurance. Do keep in mind that most insurance won’t cover for lost of items due to negligence. For instance, if you have dropped your phone breaking the screen while sightseeing or if you have left it behind on a restaurant table and found that it was gone after coming back to get it.
For Tokio Marine’s Travel Partner for instance, you will be compensated RM500 for each item that is stolen. However, these items must be on you when they were stolen.
To read more of our travel tips, don’t forget to follow us on our Facebook page. Good luck and happy journey folks!
Watch out for these popular scams often pulled on unsuspecting tourists!