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Don't Let Your Things Get Snatched

If one of the main points of taking a vacation is to get away from it all and relax, the last thing you want to deal with is theft.

We've all probably heard the stories about the couple in Europe who gets out of their rental car only to have their suitcases stolen, or the passenger who has her purse snatched while sleeping on a train.

How about the man whose wallet gets picked right out of his pocket?

But who really ever thinks it's going to happen to them?

Well, it can.

So Travelocity editor-at-large Amy Ziff tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith about some tips to keep safe while traveling.

The following are a few pre-trip precautionary measures to protect yourself:

Before You Leave On Your Trip:

Pare Down

  • Unpack your wallet or purse and leave behind all items you don't need on vacation, such as extra identification cards, gas cards and retail store charge cards.
  • Leave behind things that would be difficult to replace, such as family jewelry

Photocopy Important Documents
  • Photocopy your valuable documents and tickets (including travelers checks, driver's license and credit cards, front and back). You want to know exactly what you're carrying with you so that you can report and cancel everything immediately.
  • Travel with a paper list of emergency numbers. In case all of your electronics are stolen, you'll still know who you need to call to cancel credit cards, get emergency cash, replace important documents.
  • Make sure you have the address and telephone number of the American consulate or embassy when visiting a foreign country.
  • Make sure you have the 800 number(s) for the travel service(s) you used to book your trip.

Make Sure You're Covered
  • Find out if your homeowners or renters insurance cover you when traveling
  • Get travel insurance from a secure provider with worldwide customer service
  • Consider travelers checks as opposed to carrying large sums of cash

During Your Trip:

Secure Your Valuables

  • Vital documents like passports and tickets should be kept on your person at all times unless they are in a hotel safe.
  • For safe keeping, put your passport and excess cash or travelers checks in a neck pouch that can be tucked under your shirt while you are exploring or sleeping. (Avoid fanny-packs which clip from the back and can be easily swiped by a deft pick-pocket.)
  • Keep your wallet on your person at all times. Front pants pockets are harder for thieves to get.
  • Use a purse with a zipper pouch for your wallet and valuables that also has strong handles. Keep it on you, not loosely held in your hand or draped over a chair.
  • When driving, always keep your things in a locked trunk. Clever thieves open the rear doors of cars and snatch things like bags, laptops, or other valuables left in the backseat.
  • If traveling with a laptop computer, cell phone or other electronics, it's a good idea to keep a record of their make, model and serial number. Do not leave these out in the hotel room. Lock them in the hotel safe if the room safe isn't large enough.

Never Keep Room Key With ID
  • You don't want the thief to connect who you are and where you are staying.
  • Should your room key have your room number on it, consider leaving it with the front desk each time you leave. If thieves get a hold of both your room key and room number, they could clean you out before you even know your key is missing.

What to do after the fact:

Report It Immediately

  • If you're going to make an insurance claim you'll need to get a police report
  • Traveler's check thefts must be reported within 24 hours, but will be replaced
  • Contact your embassy or consulate that can assist in replacing lost or stolen passports
  • A local American Express agent can help you get emergency funds sent from home
  • Contact your credit card companies about your missing cards

Check Your Credit
  • Continually contact the credit bureau to make sure that no one is trying to fraudulently use your identity
  • Have a thorough search of your credit history conducted to make sure it is intact

Other tips:

Be alert at the airport:

  • Leave some cash in your pockets in case of an emergency where you're separated from your bags. (Traveling with an extra cash-stash is always a good idea on the road. Your sock can do the trick.)
  • Make a note of what part of the airport / terminal you entered through and be able to identify which gates you were at to help TSA track down lost or missing items
  • If you've left something on the plane - such as your wallet - find the checkpoint supervisor. You will need the air carrier person to allow you and even assist or escort you through the checkpoint if you have misplaced your wallet in the airport.
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