Travel Tip: Discount Double Check

You are more likely to lose your valuable things than have them stolen.


When I was 21 years old I traveled abroad for the first time.  Like many first time American travelers, I was terrified that someone would rob me of my valuable things.  To protect my credit cards, passport, and cash, I wore a money belt that went under my clothes and rested on my belly.  


This created more problems than it solved.  I had concentrated all of my valuable things in one place.  And I created a major worrying point during a time that I should have been relaxing. I was constantly worried that someone was going to steal my money belt and I would be stuck with no credit cards, cash, or passport in a foreign country.  It was uncomfortable to sleep while wearing it but I felt vulnerable when not wearing it. I didn’t know what to do with it when I slept.  In my mind, thieves always strike when you are sleeping. I settled for stashing it in a predictable hiding place: in between the mattress and box springs.


During the day, the money belt got sweaty and hot in the humid weather.  One day while visiting a net-cafe to email friends and family(this was circa 2002), I took the money belt off and laid it on the counter next to the keyboard. I predictably left the cafe without my money belt, and a couple of hours later proceeded to frantically backtrack all of my steps to find it.  Luckily the people at the net-cafe were honest workers and they held the money belt until I returned for it.  


I learned an important lesson that day: You are more likely to lose your valuable things than have them stolen. We have seen it countless times.  People leaving things behind in a hotel room, restaurant, taxi, or bar.  This may not apply to you, you might be the most organized and responsible traveler around.  But probably not.  Also, we understand that theft happens when traveling.  If you are smart and careful though, you can minimize the risk.  We always suggest traveling smart, not showing large amounts of cash in public, not walking down unlit streets at night, and not turning your back on your bag when setting it down.  But there is one important thing you can do to make sure your valuable things make it back with you when you step onto the plane to fly home. We call it the Discount Double Check.


Here is how you practice the Discount Double Check: every time you are leaving one location for the next, at the last second before you leave, look back and make sure you have everything.  This may sound overly simple and easy, but this one small action every time you leave can save you days worth of headaches and worry. If you want the Discount Double Check to work, you have to get in the habit of doing it every time you leave someplace.


You should practice the discount double check every chance you get but there are a few places that travelers are especially prone to losing things.  Taxis are a black hole for cell phones.  Something about the angle of the seats coaxes your prized smartphone out of our pocket and onto the seat.  When getting out of a taxi or Uber, make sure you look back onto the seat and floor to make sure nothing fell out of our pocket and that you have all your bags.


When I  travel with my family, we have someone call out “Discount Double Check” as we leave, reminding all travelers in our party to take a last look back to make sure they got everything.  It is a great habit to get into.  After doing it enough times, the other members of our party get into the habit, ensuring that someone is always thinking about the Discount Double Check as we leave one location for the next.


When leaving a restaurant, cafe, or bar, use the discount double check as you leave to grab any items left on the table or seat.


When checking out of a hotel, when you have all your bags and are at the door and ready to leave, use the discount double check to quickly look over the room to find anything you are about to leave behind.  Make sure to look under the bed, in the closet, in the safe deposit box, and in the bathroom.


Staying alert about possible theft is a great way to protect your valuables while on vacation.  But by utilizing the Discount Double Check you do even more to protect your valuables.  All it takes is one forgotten phone or wallet to ruin your day or holiday. So next time you are out traveling, make it a habit to double check that you have all of your things everytime you leave a location.   

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