Traveling around the world was on my bucket list in my 20’s and although I’ve been to many places such as Iceland, Thailand, Spain and Portugal (just to name a few) I’ve learned a few travelling tricks along the way. I always made sure to arm myself with all securities because the last thing I needed was to end up dead, injured, stranded or without my valuables because I made the wrong choices.
Travel insurance is a must when you are travelling out of country anywhere, even to the USA. At the least talk to your insurance company to see if you need additional coverage. If you think nothing can happen, think again. Friends of ours recently went travelling to Mexico for a 2 week holiday after celebrating their first wedding anniversary. They actually got married in Cuba but thought travelling to different destination spots every time they vacationed made more sense.
I don’t blame them because the last thing I’d want to do is travel to the same resort or country over and over unless I wasn’t finished with the original trip. In most cases you may have more tourist spots that you want to explore that you hadn’t the first time around. For the most part I don’t go back a second time because the world is just too big and I knew that if I didn’t travel then I may not get much of an opportunity as I got older.
Our friend Sheila (not her real name) was mortified when she realized that she had lost her wedding ring somewhere on the resort. She really couldn’t remember if she had left the ring on the bathroom counter or somewhere in the bedroom. Needless to say there was no case of theft but she made the biggest mistake of all, bringing expensive jewellery while travelling.
Since she couldn’t remember where she left or potentially lost the ring she had to fly home without her wedding ring and wedding band. Travelling can be overwhelming for anyone especially those who are first time travel virgins because there is so much to take in.
Although her travellers insurance covered the replacement cost of her wedding ring the situation turned out fine. I’m sure she will always feel that her new wedding ring is not the same as the one that her husband put on her left finger at the altar but also learned a valuable lesson about travelling with jewellery. Some people think that using a room safe is the best way to protect valuables but that’s not always the case.
Recently a couple from Regina, Kelly Morrison, her husband Steve and two children recently had a nightmare of a time at the Memories resort in Cayo Santa Maria, Cuba when it was discovered that their valuables were missing from their room safe. It was supposed to be their dream vacation for 2016 but it all went wrong.
You can pay extra at a resort for the room safe to protect your passports which are HOT on the black market and any other valuables and cash that you want to lock up instead of walking around with it. Upon returning to their room the couple quickly realized that their safe was broken into so they spoke to the resort staff to try and sort the matter out. This turned into a long, frustrating holiday for the family.
On the morning of Jan. 30, Morrison opened their hotel room safe and found her wedding rings and money was nowhere to be found. She said about $170 Cdn. and 130 Cuban convertible pesos (worth slightly less than $200 Cdn.) was missing.- Yahoo News
Who had access to that hotel room and stole their cash and valuables? By the sounds of it they were either not believed and then asked to keep it quiet from the media which did not happen.
Right away I thought, oh no you used the room safe which is supposed to be secure, but not always. My wife went on vacation to the Dominican many years ago and found their room safe wide open but nothing was taken from it. There was no money in the safe only a couple of expensive articles of clothing and reading material. She doesn’t know if someone heard them coming and they rushed off before locking the safe or they simply didn’t care. One thing was for sure, someone with a key opened it up or at least some sort of superpowers.
Truth is just because you lock your money away in a private safe or hide it under a mattress at home, a thief will likely find it and remove it if possible. A safe is not always safe. A friend of ours earns extra-money selling items she finds good deals on second-hand and stashes cash in a safe locked in the house. She says that she doesn’t want to put all of her cash in the bank and would like to keep some at home for a rainy day. That could turn out very wrong if her house was to be burglarized. At least in most resort hotels you can’t run off with the room safe typically kept in the closet.
When I was doing a majority of my travelling I left almost all of my jewellery at home. I love to wear bracelets and necklaces but not once did I take them off. I was too frugal to pay money for a safe but our hotel room did not have one available. I didn’t really care because I always enjoy travelling with the least amount of valuables.
This may seem harsh but when you are travelling, “Guard everything”. One other thing I did was not bring my most expensive clothes and technology such as a laptop or Iphone. I never owned a cell phone until I bought my second house at age 21 because it was cheaper than owning a home phone.
The pay-as-you-go cell phone worked brilliant because I’d put $100 credit on it and what I didn’t use rolled over into the next year. Sadly, this doesn’t happen in Canada so I refuse to own a cellphone until prices come down or they change the way pay-as-you-go is run.
I’m sure you or someone you know may have some travelling nightmares to share but like the Morrison’s they will likely never see their jewellery and cash back again. It’s a pity because it would have been nice for them to fly home only to find it was a misunderstanding and not a room theft.
Before going on any holiday and before I list any of my tips below, always tell someone you trust where you are going, when you will be back, contact information and flight information just in case something were to happen. Below is what I’ve learned throughout my travelling years that I want to share with you.
Always get the best travel insurance you can get in your budget range. Talk to your homeowner insurance or renters insurance company to see if they cover anything while you are travelling, mainly theft and illness. You may even have coverage through your employer for travelling so ask Human Resources or you manager to look into this for you.
The first place you can lose your stuff is at the airport when you go through security. If you are asked to empty your purse, put all your jewellery and wallets in the scanning tray you could forget something. I was often pulled over for a strip search or asked to take off my shoes and socks which can make for a stressful situation when all you want to do is start travelling to enjoy your holidays. I was always sure it was because of my long hair and goatee mixed with my surfer dude look. I don’t know but it did become a pain taking my clothes on and off every time I travelled although I understand they are doing their job.
Jewellery and Valuables
Never ever take expensive jewellery, laptops, cellphones on any tourist destination spots unless you plan to be glued to them at all times or you are required to. In the event you ignore this warning be a smart tech owner and back up your stuff and add passwords to your cellphone and activate the track my phone app. Nothing is worse than losing all the photos and data you have saved on your computer or phone.
If a resort has an room safe available it may make you wonder why you need to lock your stuff up in the first place. That’s not common practice for us in Canada when we stay at local hotels unless of course you secure something valuable with the front desk. I’d still be skeptical to do this but I’m not that posh I’m afraid.
Many hotels I’ve been in don’t have safes in the rooms which makes me feel comfortable about my holiday. A safe in my room tells me that I MUST protect my belongings on the resort. You shouldn’t have to feel this way when spending thousands of dollars to enjoy time away from your everyday life. The more you flaunt “bling” the more you will be a target for theft. If you aren’t a celebrity with tonnes of cash no one cares who you are. To them you are just another tourist coming to spend money and to keep them employed so leave the bling at home.
Photocopy important documents
Always bring copies of your passport, credit card and photo ID just in case something happens but keep it close to you as this is material someone could easily go after. The last thing you want is to have to call the embassy and figure out how you are going to get your butt back home. You can’t fly without a passport!
Lock it up
I never left my luggage and rucksack unlocked or not strapped up in my hotel or resort room when I was travelling no matter how much trust I had. My wife and I still lock and secured our luggage when we were travelling around the UK staying in hotels while I was giving her the grand tour. I purposely had straps put on my bag and locked it with a zipper lock to deter anyone from muddling through my stuff.
Tell them what you’ve got
When I was entering an establishment or club that required me to take off my jacket or hoodie I would always say out loud to the person manning the door what I had so they knew that I knew of every item I was surrendering over to them. The best thing to do is not bring anything valuable at all or switch it out.
You can easily purchase cheap costume wedding bands to wear on your finger from the Dollar Store, shopping mall kiosks or just about any clothing store if you are worried about wearing your wedding rings. If someone tells you to hand over your valuables give them the fake stuff and let them run off peacefully with their worthless score.
Keep an eye over your shoulder
Never leave valuables lying around and always watch your back when walking the streets or around a resort. For the most part the locals are always very friendly and helpful but don’t underestimate when you are going to a third-world country or somewhere the poverty level is very bad. There will always be someone who will do just about anything to survive, then again stuff like this happens at home in Toronto. You can never be too safe with your valuables so I’m sure that anyone travelling to Canada or the USA would do the same and protect what they own.
Never go alone or go to places that are hidden away or you are not familiar with. Understanding or speaking a bit of the local language may also help you out. I studied basic conversation for every country that I travelled to which the locals appreciated. I thought it was pretty cool too because I felt at ease knowing that I could communicate without using a translator all of the time. A cheap translator or book is always nice to bring along so you know what you are agreeing to when someone is talking to you. Not everyone speaks English.
Research your destination
I loved to mingle with the locals but I quickly learned it was smart of me to do research about where I was going so I was well-informed and didn’t look like a tourist who could be taken advantage of. If you know a local living where you are travelling plan to meet up with them and ask them some tips for keeping safe and what you should and should not do while visiting.
Fake it up
Take that sucker!!
In the event you are cornered or ordered to hand over your wallet and belongings if you have fake rings and a second wallet on you with expired cards and business cards and few dollars in cash. You can even get a cheapo flip phone that is light to carry in the same pocket or bag to deter them from thinking you have an expensive Iphone 6 that you’d probably not rather lose. Think like a thief and protect yourself.
Give your belongings an identity
Just in case your luggage goes missing always leave information about who owns the luggage and how to contact you if the luggage is found with no travelling destination or name in sight. I’d add a reward too because that makes the return a bit more enticing.
Drinking, Drugs, Partying and Sex
This may be tough for some vacationers but protect yourself or stay in groups when you are drinking or doing drugs (it happens) because you may find you lose everything you own and maybe more. Always hold your drink to make sure no one drops anything into it. Never smoke something that you didn’t bring or roll yourself.Be aware.
Another thing, be skeptical of the people who are being extra-nice and if you plan on having sex with strangers you just met…watch your back and your valuables. You don’t want to wake up drunk after a fun night in the sack or partying on the beach only to find you no longer own any valuables.
Don’t leave the room without this
If you wear expensive or sentimental jewellery such as watches, rings and earrings always keep it on your body. This includes cash too because once it’s gone, it’s gone. No amount of media coverage will bring it back but it certainly will bring awareness to others who are travelling and may have to find out the hard way when their stuff has gone missing like the Morrison’s.
Stash the cash
Never ever keep your money all in one spot. What I did was I chose about 3 spots to keep cash just in case I was robbed, beaten or a theft occurred. It may sound like I was being overprotective but you never know what can happen when you’re travelling to a foreign country.
Go for the hard stuff
Most thieves want easy access to your belongings which means they favour zipper access. Avoid being a target and buy the hard shell luggage. My wife has luggage like this and she told me why she choose it over a zipper bag which I never gave much thought to but now it makes sense to me.
Caution use of the in-room safe
Never ever leave your passport lying around and if you trust the safe, stick it in there but don’t be upset if it does go missing. Make sure you have copies of all your important documents hidden in a separate spot.
Have fun and enjoy your vacation
Travelling always brings new challenges and risks especially if you are not familiar with a country and what the locals are like. Even the kindest faces can be sly so never let your guard down while travelling. Most of all don’t let these tips scare you away from enjoying your holiday. The worst thing is being uninformed about what you could face while travelling to a new country.
What other tips could you add to protect your valuables while travelling to this list? Comment below and if I’ve missed some I’ll add them in above and quote you!!
CBB Week At A Glance
This week has been jam-packed and I’ve hardly been able to get much done around the house. Early on in the week we attended a birthday party for our 4 year-old nephew at Chuck E. Cheese which was a first experience for the wife, our son and I. Meh, it was overpriced and the pizza sucked not to mention the horrible birthday cake they provided with the package! Other than that our son had fun playing some of the games.
Tomorrow after I’m done work we will continue with a second birthday bash for him with a massive pig roast with all the fixings, sweets, party trays of veg, cheese, meat, lasagna, salads, meatballs and I’m running out of breath thinking about it. I may end up undoing the pants for this one… heavy-duty eating, ha!! That’s my kind of partying.
Other than that we took our little guy to the gym to have a run around with his mates which is always successful and worth every penny. We took a trip to Costco the other day too which was eventful as I learned a bit more about the popular bulk store. Find out in an upcoming blog post my thoughts and whether we plan to buy a Costco membership.
On the work front I’ve been putting in extra hours with my team because when an emergency calls I’m the guy that always seems to fix the problems so I stay.
How was your week?
Awesome posts published this week
Just in case you’ve missed any of my blog posts this week I will share them all below. If you are looking for past Saturday Weekend Review posts scroll down to the bottom of this post where I will list up to 5 previous weeks for you to read.
If you have a question that you would like to ask Mr.CBB fill out the Contact Mr.CBB form on the blog home page and I’ll do my best to reply to each one. If you want to share a story via a Fan Question please ensure that there is minimum 500 words and lots of details…we love details! I’m more than happy to chat via email to bring your story to life.
New: If your story submission gets chosen and published you will be entered into a yearly draw for a $25 Gift Card or $25CDN via PayPal if you are from the USA.
Right now CBB is posting Tuesday (Grocery Game Challenge), Thursday (Personal Finance Post), Saturday (Personal Finance and Weekly Wrap-Up and a Frugal Recipe on Sunday!
- Twenty Year Old Father Taught Me About Financial Responsibility In 30 Minutes
- 5 Ways To Slash Binge Shopping From Your Grocery Budget
- Homemade Taco Seasoning
Popular Post this week: A must-read > How much should my grocery budget be?
Submit your Deal or Brag:
Saving money while grocery shopping is essential in the CBB family and that’s why we share our grocery shops every week in The Grocery Game Challenge .
Join the Budget Brag Challenge 2016 and WIN!!!
What I love the most is when my fans share their amazing shops with me whether it be groceries or other deals they find at a garage sale, online or freebies! In 2016 if you send your Budget Brag you will automatically get entered into a yearly draw for a surprise gift card.
If your Budget Brag gets chosen you get an extra ballot! So start sending in your brags with a photo and write-up telling me about your deals. If you are from the USA and win I will PayPal you the money in CDN dollars. Open to Canada and USA only.
If you have a brag that you want me to share email me at canadianbudgetbinder@yahoo.(ca) < remove brackets) or fill out my contact form by Friday each week to have your brag considered for the Saturday post.
There were no brags this week but by the sounds of it my fans will be sending me some in the next week or they will be going to the naughty corner (inside joke). I really want to motivate the fans to share their little and big successes which end up helping them save money in the budget. I love hearing about savings!
Making A Difference (MAD)
Welcome to the 2016 Making A Difference series!
If you are a personal finance blogger (anywhere around the world) and would like your blog to be MAD featured simply drop me an email and I’ll explain the process to you. I’m currently booking for February 2016!
This is my way of giving back to the personal finance community through networking and sharing knowledge with my fans. Today it is my pleasure to share with you Luke from the personal finance blog Financially Fitz.
Hello CBB family!
My name is Luke Fitzgerald and I’m the creator of FinanciallyFitz.com. I jumped into the blogosphere shortly after finishing the CPA Exams and having our first child as a way to hold myself and family accountable with money, as well as putting my (often times) contrarian views regarding money management on paper.
My financial story actually starts at 0. That’s how much debt I’ve paid off. That’s my credit score. That’s how many credit cards I’ll tell my son to apply for. That’s how many flips I give about a new (financed) BMW. FinanciallyFitz chronicles my debt-free financial journey using the same advice, guidance and support I was given in hopes to pay it forward for anyone in need.
I look at all the same issues that every other blogger and personal financial professional look at – How do we save more? How do we become financially independent? How do we spend more of our time living and less time worrying about money?
But instead of focusing on what people should do, I look instead at what people (myself included) actually do. And why do they do it? Using principles of Behavioral Economics I try to explain how and why we manage money the way we do using unusual metaphors: Why should President Obama smoke more cigarettes? What do fat prisoners teach us about money? Coupons can COST us money for the same reason, Prius owners are terrible drivers. Terrorism, shark attacks and a looming stock market crash?
I’ve always thought personal finance came with good news and bad news. The good news is that it’s almost exclusively common sense. One of the paramount principles of properly managing money is spending less than you earn. How hard could it be?
The bad news is that personal finance is almost exclusively common sense. And if there’s one thing about common sense, it would be our reluctance to pay attention to it. Because we are so smart and sophisticated, common-sensical information is usually perceived as a waste of time. At some point we all realize, after squandering a lot of money, time and opportunities that it’s not the waste of time we had originally thought. For some reason, things don’t “just work themselves out” – you work them out.
Our problem is not that we just don’t know. Nobody walks into Krispy Kreme and says, “My God, where’s all the broccoli??” The problem is that we don’t do. And that’s what I’m focused on: How do we take common sense and make it common action? How to we become financially fit?
I hope you’ll join me in my quest to focus less on money and more on our behavior with money; to design environments in which it’s easy to succeed and hard to fail; to make the right choices without making any choices at all.
Food and grocery shopping is a BIG part of CBB because food is a large part of the budget which people struggle the most with. If you are someone who would rather buy convenience meals or products consider cooking homemade meals or baking from scratch. Not only will you save money but you will be proud of what you’ve accomplished and you’ll see that from the smiles on those you feed.
For the past 2 years I’ve had a second Facebook page called The Free Recipe Depot where I exclusively share recipes from Food Bloggers around the world. I also share recipes on the blog on Sunday either made by home cook and mom Nicola Don or myself.
This week our Top Recipe Pick goes to a blog called “Cookies and Cups” for this amazing looking cake called “The Best Banana Cake” and I can see why. Now, I must make it and taste it for myself. Check it out!!!
Top DIY Project
Today I found a very cool Valentine’s Day Kids Craft project that you can take on with products you likely have in your kitchen pantry. I thought this was a brilliant idea that would WOW the kids or even their classmates. Check out the cool video on how easy it is to make these Juice Box Robots from J.E Memorial Public Library.
Every week I will pick a blog post of the week from around the web that I found interesting and want to share with all of you. Please head on over and give the post a read and let them know that Mr. CBB sent you if you comment. Thanks.
Editor’s pick (That’s me Mr.CBB) this week goes to Personal Finance Expert: Preet Banerjee with this informative post “Time and Rate of Return Have a Big Impact on Your Savings” when it comes to how much you want to have saved for retirement. He gives a detailed breakdown of how much you need to save in order to achieve $100,000 by age 65 for different age groups.
Just recently friends of ours who are much younger gave us the financial rundown of how they are preparing for their future. You can read about it the blog post I wrote earlier this week but I found what Preet said to be interesting because I was doing my best to explain how important it is to invest early if you can because it gets harder as the years go on.
How readers find CBB
Every week I get thousands of people visit Canadian Budget Binder because they did a search online and found my blog. Any spelling errors below are because I share with you the exact way they typed their search engine query to land on my blog. Some of them are serious and others are meant to have a laugh.
Source: Hilarious For Sale by Owner Sign Calls Out Neighour– Huffington Post
- Neighbour sabotages our open house– You would think if they don’t like you that much they would motivate anyone to buy the house to get rid of you. Then again maybe they don’t give a rats and would rather see you suffer.
- Are my groceries proportional? – Haha.. I dunno measure them and find out.
- Average grocery bill for 1 Canada– Hmm, since there is only 1 Canada I’d presume that number would be very LARGE. Ha!!
- Husband won’t talk about money– He will when there is none and he’s sleeping on the streets I bet.
- What to do when your wife spends too much money?– Call the lawyer, Ha!! Talk to her of course.
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- The Saturday Weekend Review #155: Do Customers Expect Too Many Freebies from Businesses?
- The Saturday Weekend Review #156: My Neighbour Made Me Richer Over One Beer
- The Saturday Weekend Review #157: Sexy Photo Fun Could End Up A Nightmare of Revenge Porn