Photo: Don't forget your passport.

Unfortunately theft is a growing problem in Asia, but by using a bit of common sense you'll most likely be able to avoid any problems.

Money belts are the most popular way to protect valuables like passports, travellers cheques and credit cards.

In looking for a money belt (they're mostly worn around the waist) look for one made of lightweight material (silk is good) that will not sweat up in the Asian heat and humidity. Also make sure the clasp is sturdy. Multiple zipper-sealed pockets are handy. Lastly, make sure that the money belt is reasonably easy for you to access -- there's nothing worse than a belt that needs to be taken off to be opened!

Money belts can also be purchased in a pouch style that is worn around the neck. While equally popular, we'd lean towards recommeneding a waist belt as they are more secure, if slightly less comfortable.

Security gear

Good items to have are combination locks (no need to worry about lost keys -- just don't forget the combination) to lock as many of the backpack zippers as possible.

Pacsafe is an increasingly popular product made of a thin wire mesh webbing that totally covers your backpack and allows it to be padlocked to something secure. While it won't totally stop prying hands, it is a great way to secure your pack more than others. You can read more about Pacsafe here.

General security

A general word on bag security. Don't ever, ever, ever pack items of value in your pack then store the bag out of sight (eg on the roof or in the cargo hold of a bus). Theft from stowed bags has become an endemic problem in Thailand -- particularly on the buses running from Khao San Road to Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao. The easiest way to avoid this is to not take buses from Khao San Road and instead head to the government bus station where it is far less of a problem. But if you insist on using the Khao San buses, don't store anything of value in the luggage compartment.

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 Be sure to have adequate insurance cover before you travel. We recommend World Nomads


Further reading

Planning well is an integral part of getting the most out of your trip. Be it picking the right backpack, the right vaccinations or the right country, the simple decisions are often the most important.


Getting started

Put your hand up if you just have no idea what you're doing. No idea where to go, when to go or even how to go. Should you be travelling independently, or is an organised tour the better way to go. Where are some of our favourites? Read on.


How to plan

You know when you're going and you know when you're coming back. In between there is a big gap. How do you fill it? Here are some quick pointers.


Insurance

Please let us make this very clear. If you can't afford adequate insurance cover, you can't afford to travel. Period. Read on to find out why.


Health & safety

Despite all the thought that goes into packing, one of the most common things forgotten is common sense. Here are some pointers to keep in mind if you'd like to stay healthy during your trip.


Money & costs

So what is this trip actually going to cost you? More then the bus to the airport and the flight ticket, that's for sure. Read on for some handy budgeting tips.


Travel with kids

People travel with children? Really? Are you one of them? Are you mad?


Accommodation

When someone tells you the accommodation is a bit basic, what does that actually mean?


Food & drink

Useful for staying alive. Also delicious and occasionally sickening. Read on for the skinny.


Transport

Southeast Asia has planes, trains and automobiles. It also has ojeks, xe-oms, songtheaws and horse carts.


Volunteering & work

Volunteering and paid employment may well be a bit more complicated than back home, and, especially with volunteering, may not be as helpful as you thought.


What to pack & gear advice

Packing is like an all you can eat buffet. You may want to eat it all, but that is rarely a good idea.


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