One of the things that can hold people back from travelling is the thought of being unsafe. We’ve all heard horror stories of travellers being targeted by pickpockets, having their stuff stolen out of their luggage or worse. While it is possible for these things to happen, a lot of them can be prevented by being informed, aware and using your common sense and intuition to guide you. Here are a few top tips and hacks to help keep you and your stuff safe when you travel.

1. Research the top scams before you go

A quick google search will help you out with this one, just type in your destination and ask what the top scams are. In some cities these can be simple set-ups, like a scammer posing as a friendly local to befriend you then invite you to a restaurant or bar where you’re presented with an obscene bill at the end of the night and forced to pay. If you know this type of thing happens at your chosen destination, you can avoid the situation altogether by being able to spot it a mile off.

2. Practice safe browsing

If you’re using your laptop, tablet or smart phone to access your internet banking while you travel, you could be opening yourself up for a good old fashioned hacking. To stay safe, you can buy and install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your device. It adds security and privacy to public networks and are even used by big companies to protect data.

3. Keep your cash in different places

Always keep extra stashes of cash in places, like your luggage, an empty cosmetics container or the bottom of your shoe. On the off chance you’re mugged and lose your bank cards, you’ll have some cash to help you get by until your bank can help you sort it out.

4. Don’t leave your stuff near an open hotel window

For you, your hotel is completely new. For a crafty thief, your hotel is their playground and they know it like the back of their hand. Don’t leave your open handbag resting under a hotel window, it’s all too easy for a slinky arm to come around reach inside, nicking off with your wallet or passport.

5. Keep your valuables close

If you find yourself in a hotel dorm room, or if you just have the heebie-jeebies and want to keep your stuff close, sleep with your valuables inside your pillow case. Put your passport, cash and wallet in the pillow case, on the mattress-facing side. The chances of someone knowing they are there and being able to get to them without waking you up are pretty slim.

6. Always double check

Being in a new city is exciting and it’s easy to get distracted. Before you get up from a cafe, leave a hotel room or go out to explore, do a double check. Have you picked everything up from the cafe table? Do you have your wallet and passport? Is your bag firmly zipped shut? Did you put all your valuables inside the hotel safe and lock it?

7. Blend in, don’t be flashy

Getting really drunk and loud, keeping your wallet in back pocket and routinely pulling it out, showing off your cash and bank cards in the process, can attract unwanted attention from crafty criminals. All of that can be avoided, so think before you drink.

8. Follow your instincts

Your gut instinct is usually always right and you should definitely listen to it when you travel. If walking down that street doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. If that person you were talking to at the art gallery gave you a weird vibe, avoid them. Don’t ever let a fear of being impolite put your personal safety in jeopardy.