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Expert Shopper Travel

8 essential safety gadgets for vacation

Vacation is a time to unwind, decompress and turn unique moments into lifelong memories. However, travelers are easy marks for pickpockets and others who take advantage of people distracted by the hustle and bustle of new, exciting places. Additionally, small cuts and bruises left untreated while traveling are prone to infection. Invest in these safety accessories to enjoy your time away with the knowledge that you and your belongings are secure.

Protect your belongings while traveling

From your laptop computer to your cash and identification, keep your personal property safe from criminals with locks and wearable safety gear.

Backpack and luggage locks

  • Cable locks make it easy to prevent your backpack, purse or laptop bag from being stolen. Similar to bike locks, they use a thick, metal cord to secure your property to a table, desk or chair. These locks, however, do not prevent people from opening your bag and getting into its contents.
  • Padlocks offer a traditional way to keep your luggage from being opened. Most are disengaged with a small key or combination. Some modern padlocks use fingerprint scanners.
  • Bag protectors are made out of metal netting that encloses your backpack or purse entirely. They are secured with a lock and make it difficult for anyone to open your bag’s pockets or walk away with it.

Wearable security for travelers

  • Money belts look just like normal ones, but they have discreet interior pouches for hiding cash.
  • Travel vests keep your belongings tucked away in hidden pockets and compartments. Most travel vests have a plain exterior with their storage spaces accessible only from the inside.
  • Anti-theft wallets, purses and backpacks are great for those who want to use familiar items with additional security features. Many of these options have materials that block RFID signals, preventing your personal information from being electronically stolen.

Protect yourself while traveling

While property theft is what most people think about when it comes to vacation security, it’s also important to look out for your personal safety and health. 

  • Emergency whistles are extremely loud and used to both call for help and discourage anyone who may do you harm. They are small and worn around your neck or wrist for quick access.
  • Travel first-aid kits are essential. They include bandages, ointments and other small items you can use to treat minor wounds and injuries. If you or your companions suffer from allergies you can keep emergency medication in your first aid kit as well.
  • Travel door locks are simple devices you can use to add additional security to your hotel room. Even if someone on the outside has a key, they won’t be able to open the door if you have one in place.
  • Pepper spray, while not available for all travelers due to state regulations, is an effective deterrent for people and wildlife alike. Popular with campers, powerful bear spray formulas can repel dangerous animals. 

Electronic security gadgets for travelers

You can use your electronic devices to further bolster your safety while you travel.

  • Electronic trackers that you slip into your wallet or purse let you see where the item is via an app on your phone or tablet. These can be used to locate your travel companions or stolen property.
  • Portable chargers let you keep your phone battery alive while you’re on the go. These are especially useful for traveling in a country that doesn’t use the same types of power outlets you have back home.
  • Portable sirens and alarms, often sold as keychains, emit a loud noise when activated. Their high-frequency beeping attracts attention, which is the last thing a criminal wants.

Best locks for vacation

Top luggage lock

Master Lock Luggage Lock

What you need to know: A classic choice for travel, this padlock from Master Lock is TSA approved.

What you’ll love: This powerful lock lets you choose your own combination. It’s available in five colors and its high contrast numbers make it easy to unlock in low light.

What you should consider: The color of the lock is selected at random.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top backpack lock

Pacsafe Backpack Protector

What you need to know: This accessory lets you encase your entire backpack in metal mesh. 

What you’ll love: Available in two sizes, this backpack protector makes it difficult to open your bag’s pockets. You can lock it to a desk or other heavy furniture to prevent the theft of your property. 

What you should consider: This protector won’t fit large backpacks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best wearable security items for vacation

Top money belt

Travel Security Money Belt

What you need to know: This belt has a hidden interior pocket for storing emergency cash.

What you’ll love: With its discreet look and tough buckle, this belt lets you keep some money on hand in the event that your wallet or purse gets stolen. It's available in black or brown.

What you should consider: This basic belt isn’t very fashionable, favoring utility over looks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top travel vest

Scottevest Travel Vest for Men

What you need to know: This travel vest has 26 concealed pockets and is offered in four colors. 

What you’ll love: Keep your belongings close with this travel vest that features hidden interior pockets and a pouch that protects your items from RFID signals. With its weight-distributing construction and breathable material, this vest is also comfortable.

What you should consider: Most of the pockets on this vest are very small and its zippers feel low quality.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best personal protection for travelers

Best emergency whistle

Noopel Emergency Whistle

What you need to know: Available in sets of two or four, these super loud emergency whistles come in four colors.

What you’ll love: These whistles include a lanyard so you can wear one around your neck at all times. Made out of strong aluminum, they won’t break and can be used in any weather conditions. 

What you should consider: Buyers have found the loudness of these whistles to vary, implying quality control issues.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best travel first-aid kit

General Medi Miniature First-Aid Kit

What you need to know: This tiny first-aid kit comes with 110 useful items.

What you’ll love: From scissors and tweezers to bandages and alcohol swabs, this first-aid kit has everything you need to treat and disinfect minor wounds. It comes in a bright red bag for easy identification and even includes an emergency blanket and CPR respirator. 

What you should consider: The included bag does not feature any organization pockets or dividers, so the items inside get messy.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best electronic security devices for travelers

Best portable charger for travelers

Dual USB Portable Chargers

What you need to know: You get two portable chargers for the price of one with this set.

What you’ll love: These portable battery packs come in four different color options. Each pack has multiple USB ports and is small enough to fit into a pocket. They can be used to power any device that charges with a USB cable.

What you should consider: Some users are disappointed by the power output of these battery packs and they get hot while charging.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best electronic tracker for travelers

Apple AirTags

What you need to know: These electronic trackers integrate seamlessly with your iPhone or iPad.

What you’ll love: These trackers emit a beacon via Bluetooth. Throw one of them in your backpack or suitcase to make finding your belongings as simple as looking at your phone. You can make them beep to locate them easily.

What you should consider: The trackers aren’t always accurate and some users report that they can be frustrating when they malfunction.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples


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Derek Walborn writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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