Worried about personal security on your next trip? There's no need for paranoia, but investing a small amount of money in your safety can't be a bad idea.
From motion detectors to door jammers, encrypted USB sticks to ear-splitting sirens and more, these five items will all help keep you safe and secure on your vacation.
01 of 05
No matter how much you're paying for your accommodation, security is always a concern. Whether it's a five dollar a night guesthouse in Vietnam or a five-star hotel in New York City, you never really know who else can get into your room.
Keys and key cards can be stolen or copied, and any number of staff members have master key access, at any time. It's fine for the cleaner to come in during the afternoon... but do you really want them to be able to come in while you're sleeping several hours later?
Take your room security into your own hands, with one of a number of different kinds of door jammer. The cheapest is a basic rubber wedge, which slides under the door and prevents it from being opened. It's good basic security but is less effective on hard surfaces. You can also get more advanced versions, with an alarm that sounds when they detect vibrations.
For something that works well on a wider range of surfaces, check out the Door Jammer. This device has a metal plate that fits under the door, and a screw-down foot that works on almost any floor, flat or on an incline.
When someone tries to open the door, their horizontal force is transformed into vertical pressure, simply pushing the jamming mechanism down harder. It only takes a few seconds to install, and less to remove, is TSA-friendly and weighs under a pound. Note that all of these devices only work with doors that open inward.
02 of 05
Portable Motion Sensor
Having your own door lock provides good peace of mind, but it's not always enough. If it doesn't work with the particular door in your room, or you're concerned about people getting in via a window or other means, consider packing a portable motion detector as well.
These devices are relatively small and light and can be set up anywhere in a room that shouldn't see any motion during the night. Exactly where you put it will depend on your hotel room layout, but in most cases, you should be able to find a spot that will detect anyone who isn't you moving around, up to several feet away.
Equipped with a loud alarm, some also include extras like a flashlight, and the siren can often be manually triggered by a button or cord in an emergency.
03 of 05
Wandering around after dark or in sketchy neighborhoods can be worrying enough when you're at home – but it's even more concerning when you're traveling. It's easy to take a wrong turn, stay out later than you'd planned or have a few more drinks than usual when you're on vacation.
As with many other things in life, a little preparedness goes a long way. While carrying chemicals like mace and pepper spray can be a problem for international travelers – they can't be stored in carry-on luggage, and many countries ban their use by civilians – there are other ways to dissuade an attacker.
Advertised as a “sound grenade”, the Robocopp is a small plastic device with a very big noise. Pull the pin from the top, and a 120db siren immediately sounds and continues for half an hour unless the pin is replaced. I tested one both in an apartment and outside in a park and can confirm it's extremely loud.
Designed to deter both animal and human attackers, the Robcopp weighs under an ounce and can be hung from a backpack strap, keyring or any other loop for easy access.
Buy from the company, or check prices on Amazon.
04 of 05
Kingston Digital Data Traveler
Storing your essential travel information on a little USB key is a great way of ensuring you've got everything to hand in an emergency. Save your flight bookings, hotel details, travel insurance policy information, details for your credit card company, scans of your passport – basically, whatever you need to get your trip back on track if your luggage, phone and everything else goes missing or gets destroyed.
Unfortunately, normal USB sticks won't cut it. If you lose the stick or have it stolen, the last thing you want is for your personal information to be easily accessible to others. Instead, opt for something like the Kingston Data Traveler.
Costing little more than a standard thumb drive, the durable metal Data Traveler encrypts your data and protects it with a password of your choice. The software you need for Mac and Windows is built in, so you can access it from most computers – but if the wrong password is entered ten times, the drive automatically formats itself, rendering your data unusable and safe from prying eyes.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Clothing with Hidden Pockets
If the worst happens and you get pick-pocketed or robbed despite your preparations, it can completely ruin your vacation (as well as being very frightening). With the right kind of clothing, however, you can at least hide and secure your most valuable possessions, to ensure you don't lose absolutely everything.
Rather than using a fanny pack or money belt, both of which are easily spotted, consider wearing clothing with hidden pockets instead. There are all kinds of varieties, including underwear, t-shirts, shirts and even socks, but the basic idea is the same: a small, internal pocket that's unnoticeable from all but the closest inspections.
While not all pockets will be large enough to store a passport, you'll always have room for cards, cash, your room key, and even the secure USB stick mentioned above. As long as you don't over-stuff them, there'll be no visible bulge or other sign you're hiding your valuables on your person.
A pickpocket will have no idea the pocket is there, and even if you're held up, you've got a good chance of retaining some of your most important items.