May 2nd, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors, Keep Your Money and Passport Safe

Each time that I travel abroad I am aware of the fact that I must keep my money and passport safe and secure.   I guess that I could say that I am fortunate, as I have not had a problem to date and my first trip to France was back in 1961. Just told you my age, didn’t I?  I know of seniors who have had money stolen out of their locked suitcase or purse right in their hotel room. A lady in my group had her purse stolen from the dining room in our hotel at the Paris airport just prior to her departure.  She lost everything.  That is a terrible loss, especially when it means not only her passport, but her airplane ticket, all of her credit cards, driver’s license and of course her cash.

It is absolutely essential that senior citizens take necessary precautions when traveling, even within our own country. Every year, thousands of travelers fall prey to the quick and clever tactics of pickpockets and thieves. What may take thieves a moment to “lift” from your pockets (passports, credit cards, airline tickets) may take weeks to replace, turning your pleasant vacation into a nightmare.

Super Aids for Keeping Money Safe

One of the finest travel aids I have discovered over the years are featured with both TravelSmith and Magellans.  There are several other reputable travel companies with similar travel favorites, but these two are my preferred.  TravelSmith has a nice selection of items for keeping money safe. I have used several, including a money belt (your portable safe) , a passport pouch where I keep credit cards, money, tickets, etc. and a waistband pouch.

In addition I wear special travel pants, in fact two types.  My preferred is a microfiber pair that may be my favorite pants ever. Smooth, substantial microfiber makes a pair of crisp yet virtually wrinkle-proof trousers that keep up appearances for a solid week (or more) of travel.

I can’t say enough good things about these pants and I am confident that you will say the same. For ladies, you have a nice selection of similar products designed for travel and for keeping you comfortable and your money safe. Pickpocket proof pants are featured by Magellans and one can feel reasonably safe with a pair of these as you can tell thieves to go elsewhere and pickpocket another pocket, not yours.

My motto has always been and remains…”don’t trust anyone” as you travel abroad.  Don’t trust with security in your room or on the street in particular. I always lock my suitcase with a sturdy padlock when I leave my hotel room.  Buy a quality padlock with two keys and use it. For men always carry your wallet in your front pocket, not your back pocket.  Ladies, carry your purse over your shoulder and in front of your body holding it close to you.  A lady in one of my adult groups, wore a backpack in Paris and her purse was stolen right out of her backpack as she was walking.  Bad deal. Students have lost passports (Bad Deal again) and some have lost their traveler’s checks (same Bad Deal).

Traveler’s checks today are okay, but I prefer to use my credit/debit cards abroad.  I also prefer just to carry some local currency prior to arrival in the country.  Be sure to let your credit card company know ahead of time that you are going abroad and will be using your card(s).

Our own government likes to take care of its citizenry with good advice. Do read their helpful listing of travel tips. They suggest that expensive-looking jewelry should be left at home…not worn.

More Travel Advice and Aids For Seniors

I discovered a few more good sites with products to ensure your safety and security. Additional door locks, door stop alarms and a Security Plus Personal Travel Alarm is small and lightweight yet emits a screeching 130 decibels when the trigger pin is pulled.

My travel hero Rick Steves has a list of what  to pack in your money belt. Oh yes, did you know that legally you are to carry your passport on your person at all times?  Top Safety Tips for Women has good advice  for women travelers who some thieves perceive as “easy targets.”  Special body security pouches are designed just for women, lie flat against the body and provide hands-free protection.

Children as thieves: schooling for thieves starts very early. A traveler was seated on a crowded bus in Rome on her way to the Vatican. She glanced down at her lap to find a tiny hand reaching into her now unzipped fanny pack. The child could not have been more than six years old.

Groups of children have been known to gang up on unsuspecting travelers as well. I’ve seen them greet Japanese tourists getting off a bus in Paris and grab anything they can including cameras and backpacks and run. I’ve seen it in the Louvre, on the streets, and in shopping malls.  So be careful around children working in groups.

I hope that these tips have been helpful.  Do have a happy and safe trip and do use good judgement in keeping your money safe.  If you would like to read more on the topic, just go to your favorite search engine and input “Tips for Safe Travel” and you will find lots of additional good travel advice. Bon Voyage!  jeb

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