Hiding Important Documents on Vacation

hiding travel documentsWe recently received a very good question from a traveller, Joan. 

Joan was doing all the right things while on tour. She was making copies of important documents and 'safely' stashing copies in her hotel room while out. Her question was "but where is the safest place to hide important documents and valuables when they're not with you?"

First, it was great that Joan thought ahead and took photocopies of her passport and credit cards while she was travelling. And she was also right not to store the originals in the same place as the copies. She knew that if one set was lost or stolen, she'd have the second set as her back up. 

Here are a few ideas we suggested to Joan.

  • My first choice for hiding valuables in a hotel room is in the room safe - if there is one. Usually, these safes require that you set a personal passcode to get into it. This makes it unlikely anyone else can break in. Of course, many safes don't have the personal passcode option and in that case, some travellers don't trust a room safe.
  • Another option is to keep valuables inside your suitcase making sure to lock the suitcase every time you leave your room. Of course, the risk here is that someone can walk away with your entire suitcase. It's never happened to me, but ... 
  • If you are in a vacation rental that includes a kitchen, consider using the freezer to hide items. I carry a clean, empty frozen blueberry bag on my longer getaways. I put extra cash and credit cards in it and then place it in the freezer. The rationale behind this is that if there is a fire, items in the fridge don't burn (I'm told). I've also been told that this is the first place thieves check. Who knows?
  • One recent suggestion which I haven't tried yet, but will - store small valuables or photocopies in feminine hygiene packages. Almost no one wants to look inside! 
  • For documents, it's also a good idea to store copies on a memory stick assuming you're carrying a tablet, laptop, etc.
  • Another digital option is to photograph the documents using your digital camera or phone.
  • It's also worthwhile emailing copies of your documents to companions who are travelling with you.

Using one of these ideas is helpful. Using a combination of them is even better. For instance, take pictures of your documents and also send a copy to your travel companions. Or lock your suitcase and within the suitcase, hide valuables inside hygiene product packages. 

Just don't hide your valuables so well that you can't find them yourself. And don't tell me you've never done this at home! :)

Safe travels

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