Theft on the Road: Prevention

A few weeks ago we talked about minimizing the impact of theft while on a work trip. That’s definitely an important skill to have, but what’s even better? Avoiding theft in the first place! Here are a few of the ways in which I try to avoid being robbed while traveling for business. (Pictured: Kensington 64068F MicroSaver Notebook Lock and Security Cable, available for $17 at Amazon.)


  • I make sure my suitcase is easily identifiable. Right now, I have a pretty distinctive bag with my company’s logo on it, as well as a colorful name tag. That way no one can pretend they have “accidentally” walked off with my bag. (I also have my business card inside my suitcase, just in case it really is an accident.) This also helps on the few occasions I check my bag.
  • Keep all bag compartments zipped up. My purse is zipped at all times, any time I’m out in public. This way no one can stick their hand in and grab my wallet, passport, or laptop in passing.
  • Don’t put valuables in checked luggage, ever. A few years ago my mom started traveling frequently for work, and wanted to put her computer in her checked bag. I get it—it was a hefty laptop, and wouldn’t have been comfortable to carry on. But it would have been so easy to steal! Plus, what if the airline lost her bag? Then she would have been without her computer for who knows long. Not worth it! Same goes with valuable jewelry and other electronics.
  • Keep a hand or foot on your bag at all times. When you’re in a restaurant or just waiting for a plane, make sure your bags are in arm’s reach. I will keep my purse on the chair next to me or under my feet, and my suitcase as close to my feet as possible.
  • Put valuables in the hotel safe. If you have something valuable that you’re leaving in the hotel room, put it in the safe. Hotel staff people are in and out of your room all day, and it’s better to not leave anything tempting lying around.
  • Use a computer lock. If you have to leave your computer in your hotel room, it’s safest to use a lock like the one above.
  • Be wary of public wifi. Whenever you’re using public wifi, be careful of the information you transmit. Don’t do anything sensitive or confidential unless you are on a VPN.

The most important thing is to be aware of your surroundings, and to keep an eye on your belongings. When you’re traveling outside of the US, there are even more safety precautions to take. But that’s a topic for another day!!

Readers, how do you avoid theft while on business trips?


  1. To go one step further with keeping your foot or hand on your bag at all times, loosely wrapping the strap on the bag around your leg or arm can more effectively help be a deterrent to theft when traveling.

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