Backpacking Thailand, Asia

Backpacking Thailand, Asia | Go For Fun - Australian Travel and Photography Community

A backpacking holiday can be one of the most memorable trips you ever go on, but that does not mean you can approach it naively. You need to stay safe and secure while abroad.

While many people will get through months of travelling without even a hint of worry, others could find themselves robbed while only away for a couple of days. It can happen to anyone and can be just bad luck; however, it is still worth being smart about how you look after your possessions and not giving thieves an easy steal.

It is not worth letting fear of being robbed paralyse you – you could get robbed anywhere, not just while abroad – and being overly cautious might stop you from seeing or experiencing some great things. On the other hand, there are a few ways to protect yourself without ruining your holiday, starting with taking out the best backpacker insurance you can find.

Money

Unlike at home, when you might not carry too much cash around with you, while you are abroad there is a tendency to have a store of cash so that you do not need to hunt down a cash machine or currency exchange office. This stock of cash is tempting for thieves.

Make sure that you do not keep your wallet in a pocket that could easily be picked; for example, the back pocket of your jeans or a large outer jacket pocket. Instead, think about buying a money belt to wear under your clothes, or hide your stash somewhere unexpected in your luggage, perhaps in your washbag. Aside from this, keep a small amount of money close to hand, so that you can pay for things but also so you have something to hand over if somebody threatens you.

Bags

On a backpacking holiday you will be living out of your suitcase the whole time so you need to be very careful about where you put your bags – if you lose them then you could be really stuck!

Apart from always knowing where your bags are and locking them up wherever possible, you should also think about how you can make them less easy to steal when you are out and about. For instance, if you are sat in a cafe then you could wrap the strap of your bag around the chair leg, so someone cannot just grab it and run.

Gadgets

It seems daft to bring expensive gadgets on holiday with you when you are potentially staying in shared accommodation but people do it anyway. If you want to hang on to your iPhone/Kindle/SLR camera for as long as possible then do not get the device out unnecessarily – just wait until you are alone to review your pictures.

Preparation

While there are countless pieces of general advice that could help people avoid having their possessions stolen, it is also a great idea to check the FCO’s (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) travel tips for specific regions or countries. There may be common tricks or ruses for you to watch out for, or you may be advised to stay away from certain areas.

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About the author:

Chris Taylor loves to travel when he finds the time – and money. Having travelled to Thailand from the UK from a young age, he’s now concentrating on countries closer to home in mainland Europe. Chris writes this post on behalf of backpacking travel insurance provider Holidaysafe (@holidaysafe).

Photo by: Keith Parker

4 COMMENTS

  1. You can never be too careful, thieves can be incredibly sneaky using distraction tactics. The only times I’ve been robbed while travelling is when I let my guard down and was distracted.

    • I fully agree, Amilia! Once you let your guard down everything can happen. I’m sorry about your experience… Even being in one of the peaceful places on Earth, Vanuatu, I tried to remind myself to be on alert as you never know. You don’t fully know people in a place of your visit, what they think, what their true customs are, etc. Sometimes you don’t know how they are going to react, so it’s better to keep an eye on your belongings. We got “robbed” in Gold Coast, right in the middle of the day, it was not stealing but they just got our money the other way. It changed the holiday mood completely. But reminded me how important it is not to loose your head while you are on vacation! :) When we were in Kuala Lumpur among locals there was no need in reminding of that rule :)) You are always on alert there. Where were you travelling when that happened? Which country? / Natalie

      • Well I am lucky to never have lost anything truly valuable! Like a camera for instance..but I lost my wallet in India once and it was most likely stolen while I was approached by a lady and her son on a bus. I had the wallet on me when I got onto the bus, and when I got off it was gone, not soon after the lady had tried to distract me with conversation :( I didn’t have too much in it because I was wary but it was a minor inconvenience… would be interesting to hear other travellers’ thief stories and the measures they take to avoid having their stuff taken!

        • Yes, I understand what you are saying. Even you did not have too much in the wallet, it still not pleasant, I can imagine. Yes, with buses it’s like a whole other story.. If you travel in Russia a very similar can happen if you let your guard down. It happens exactly like you described! When I don’t feel safe I try not to carry the whole backpack on me, so it’s not possible to open it from the back. I take only what’s needed for the day walk or tour and put it in a small bag, and put the bag in front of me, almost on my belly. I also put the bag “across me”, so not to hold it on a shoulder. In Kuala Lumpur, to feel safe in the streets :), I attached the bag to my pants belt using that metal thing… carabiner, and put my T-shirt on top of that. So from outside the bad was not visible. The only thing I’m always unsure when we travel – whether to carry our passports with us or leave it in a hotel. We travel on budget so you never know what can happen in those hotels. If they have a safe, we use it. And we put our tablet there as well. To be honest, I still can’t imagine what people do with their laptops when they travel say in remote villages, where safety can be on a lower level… where do they put them? Any idea? /Natalie

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