I closed the lock with gusto to secure my luggage. That was done. All my valuables were safely stored and neatly packed into one locker. They usually never fit, which is why I keep my day bag on me. That is why it also has the key. Oh sh**. I forgot about the key… It was still inside the locker. Now that was smart.
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When Secure Luggage Causes Cold Sweat
The panic started to creep up on me, running up my legs and swear started to collect on my forehead. Had I just locked away my valuables without having a way to retrieve them? Would I have to break open the locker and buy the hostel a new one? Was I really this stupid?
My thoughts were spiralling. It wasn’t pretty and I tried badly to keep the anxiety at bay. I was yanking the locker out from under the bed. Maybe there was a way. Usually hostel lockers are not incredibly safe. But I came up short. The little slit that opened wasn’t big enough for more to reach anything. Well, that was at least good to know, nobody could steal anything now.
For the moment, I resigned. My hands feel limb to my sides. They touched my pockets. Then it hit me. Didn’t I have three sets of keys, hidden in strategic places? And didn’t I take out one and put it in the tiny pocket of my jeans? At that time, I was thinking ahead of myself, being fully aware of my own forgetfulness and my desperate need to secure luggage at all times. Indeed, here was the key! Thank you, yesterday me!! Sometimes my own self-awareness surprises me.
What Solution Is There for Dumbness?
From that moment on, I always checked if I had the key to my locker within reach BEFORE I closed the lock to wherever I wanted to secure luggage. Normally I used code locks because of the fact that you could lose or forget the key and then what? But this time I didn’t have one on me.
The panty thief had stolen it when he abducted my backpack and forced it open. I couldn’t find any other locks back then. So I bought a simple one. “Super, super,” the vendor had advertised it. Made in China it said. It didn’t look unbreakable but then again, what locks truly where? And if so, a thief might slice open your bag anyway.
If you want secure luggage or a secure suitcase, you gotta be prepared. Don’t blindly trust. Don’t leave it open and leave the room. Don’t flash valuables and make it look attractive. Remember, someone can always just grab and run. It happens on trains, it happens in hostels. It might seem paranoid to constantly keep checks on your valuables (and a definite sign of anxiety), but never forget to secure luggage, in your room or by the reception. Keep your most priced valuables separate and safe as well.
Important to note: If you have travel insurance that covers your valuables, read the fine print as well. More often than not, your belongings aren’t insured unless you secure luggage and valuables in the safe at the reception. Not storage room, not room locker, nope the reception safe. This is bad news for people who stay in hostels.
How to keep your luggage safe
- Carry 1-2 locks with you when you travel (especially when your staying in hostels)
- Use a code lock and keep the security key or code safely stored away (keep a note of your code combination somewhere safe – maybe in a private online folder – or tell a friend)
- Use a lock cable to attach your bag to heavy furniture so they can’t be lifted away, lock or no lock
- Opt for a solid, secure suitcase or anti-theft bags (but don’t get a suitcase with included lock, if that one blocks up, you are in trouble, too)
- Take advantage of room safes or lockers but, if you can, lock your valuables in the safe at your reception for insurance purposes.
- Scan reviews for remarks on safety before you book anything. That way, you can avoid nasty surprises if someone has already gone through a bad experience. It is not always down to the accommodation but it might be.
On another note, also use RFTI blocking wallets for your credit cards. Next, keep your phones within sight and away from other phones. (You’d be surprised how easily data can be tapped into within close range). Just as you need to secure luggage, you need to secure your personal data. Try not to log into public wifi in popular places. Times Square, for instance, is known to have a lot of data theft going on due to hackers taking advantage of unsuspecting tourists.