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How to keep your valuables safe in a hostel

Traveling on a budget is great, as long as that six euro per night hostel in Rome doesn’t end up costing you a passport, ipod, and all of your socks (any backpacker knows the value of a clean pair of socks). Theft is likely on the road, and becomes almost inevitable when you add factors like:

1) Other poor travelers

2) Valuables

3) Little to no security (i.e. lockers or safes)

4) CREEPY PEOPLE

5) Heavy drinking

These factors and others will guarantee that your valuables will be stolen if you stay at a hostel unless you follow these five simple rules.

1) Trust NO ONE.

I work in a hostel. I am a nice guy. I am an exception. Seriously, if you are traveling alone and you are worried about your stuff – your passport for instance – getting stolen on your night on the town, don’t think that by giving it to the “staff” that you have covered yourself. Hostel staff are mostly people one step up from vagrants making terrible wages in order to live for free. I can’t count how many times a staff member has run off from the hostel in the middle of the night with hundreds of euros of valuables and cash. It happens all the time. After having seen some of the people here, the last thing I would ever do is give them my valuables. Do this long enough and you will have your passport, ipod, etc., sold. Count on it.

It’s like they say at the airport – don’t let someone else watch your bag. Odds are you’ll be fine, but eventually someone is going to put something in their and customs doesn’t care. Same thing with hostels. The people that work there can be just as sketchy if not more so than the guests.

2) Know where your stuff is. Always.

This sounds simple, and it should be, but most travelers I’ve seen don’t have a method to their packing madness. They simply wad up their KISS cover band and “I Heart Roma” t-shirts with their passports and cliche photos and chuck them into the main compartments of their bag. If you do this it is a guarantee that you will lose something. Backpacking, while supposedly relaxed and carefree demands a certain level of personal vigilance. People are constantly trying to take advantage of you, and if you’re not prepared they will. After all, it’s most people’s job to fleece the tourists. So, when it comes to organizing your stuff, it is vital that you keep all high profile items, passport, papers of importance, etc in specific locations, preferably on your person at all times. Simply knowing where your camera, phone, and wallet are will help