Whenever you travel, you run the risk of having your possessions and bags damaged, stolen or lost in the process. While this is an undesirable prospect, it's no reason to call off your plans for a much-deserved holiday – instead, you will need to take a few measures to ensure your belongings are as safe as possible.
The number one rule for safety while travelling is to invest in quality travel insurance. This will act as a buffer should anything happen to either you or your belongings – including hospital expenses, and loss of luggage – and it's a necessity on top of your everyday family health insurance or business health insurance!
However, even once you are protected by travel insurance, the best way to protect your precious suitcases and other belongings is to minimise the risk of it happening in the first place. We've put together some tips on how to keep your luggage safe at all times – no matter where in the world you're headed for!
Never leave your bags unattended
How many times do you turn around 'just for a second' while distracted? Chances are you do this many times without even realising – but it's important you keep an eye on your bags at all times. If possible, carry your bags on your person. However, if this isn't practical, always keep bags within arms reach and never leave them completely unattended.
Secure or lock bags
Leaving your bags unlocked is inviting to opportunistic thieves. Invest in some mini padlocks and secure each and every pocket of your luggage. This way, no one will be able to take items from your luggage, or put them inside. If you're not sure about the idea of having your bags completely padlocked, securing zippers with cable ties is another good option. These are not a permanent lock and can be cut open, but they make it far more difficult to get inside the bag – it will require significant effort to do so, which acts as a fantastic deterrent.
Get your luggage wrapped
If you're bringing fragile items or simply want a little extra security for your belongings, getting your luggage wrapped is a great idea. Australian airports such as Melbourne Airport offer this service, where bags are wrapped in a layer of stretch wrap plastic. This prevents items being taken from or inserted into your luggage, provides extra protection from rough handling, and acts as an additional layer should any zips or pockets pop open. Melbourne Airport recommends any suitcases or items such as car seats and baby push chairs be wrapped with 'Protectabag' for security.
Leave valuables at home
If you really don't want an item to get damaged, lost or stolen, the only way you can absolutely ensure it is protected is by leaving it behind. Think carefully about what you do and do not need when you travel – generally, the bare essentials are all you end up using anyway! If you're not sure if you'll really wear that one-off, heirloom necklace while you're away, do yourself a favour and leave it behind. Travel insurance may cover you for losses, but it will never be able to recover certain items of significance. Sometimes, it's simply not worth the risk!
Keep the essentials on you
When clothes and other easily replaced items are stolen, it's not such a large deal – it's easy for travel insurance to cover these! However, in case your luggage does become misplaced, it's best to make sure your absolute essentials are always on your person. Ordinarytraveler.com blogger Christy Woodrow recommends cash, passport, credit cards and travel documents are kept on you at all times in a small bag or pouch.
Even if you take all the necessary precautions, accidents do happen. That's why it's essential to get comprehensive travel insurance – this is your health insurance, luggage cover, travel delays and medical expenses all in one. It always pays to be covered – so don't hesitate to speak with the professionals at HICA about your options!