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We’ve run a few tips about road trip safety lately and one of them prompted a reader to write in with his tip. Below, Bill P. shares what he and his family do when taking a road trip:

“My wife and our four young children (at the time) were fortunate enough to take a couple of five-week driving trips around Europe in the 1980s. I’d previously spent a year in Europe before our marriage and have been many times so my family has generally profited from my past mistakes.

Here is a tip that works for us. With six of us traveling, typically from point to point with tourist stops on the way, we have a lot of luggage. So, we bring a black sheet and cover all of our baggage in the “way back” of our rented van or station wagon. If done right, it is very difficult for bad guys to see what is inside. If nothing else, it slows them down.

We take a black sheet with us wherever driving is part of the venture, whether from Newport Beach to Carmel, or anywhere in the world by car. The only time we forgot the black sheet on a trip to Costa Rica, my son’s backpack was left visible in the sedan back seat while all our other bags were stuffed in the trunk. He is a photographer, and simply forgot to put it in the trunk and none of the rest of us caught it. He lost expensive camera gear, laptop, etc. Fortunately, homeowner insurance covered it later, but he was SOL on the trip.

For the really cautious, I had a fishing tackle store rig a stainless steel leader with riveted loops at both ends; ours was about 6’ long. Then I loop the leader through the luggage handles with a lock to tie them together in a loop. Crooks can certainly get through it, but even bolt cutters have a tough time with stainless leaders and it’s really all about slowing them down. Most want a quick smash and grab and don’t want to hang around the crime scene. But with the black sheet, they’ve never gotten far enough for the stainless leader to fumble them up.”

Thanks for sharing this with all of us, Bill! This is a really great idea and you can buy black sheets on Amazon here.

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3 Comments On "How to Protect Your Belongings on a Road Trip"
  1. Dennis Kamoen|

    This is a worthwhile read for excellent tips on travel by car no matter where in the world you are and at any point in time. We have all, or at least know someone, that has experienced a car break in and theft. Thank you to your reader and to you Johnny Jet!

  2. Janet|

    Similar tip we used on a driving trip through Italy a few years ago, 5 people. It was a bicycle lock cable we looped through the luggage handles. Thieves are unlikely to carry 6 bags strung together and can’t cut the cable or handles easily.

  3. mike C|

    If traveling by car, have a motion detector with loud alarm that can be turned on/off with a remote. Place it in a place where motion will be detected (dash or attached to top of seatback) and turn on after locking the car. This may not stop everyone, but a loud alarm usually will cause attention and result in thieves fleeing. (just remember to turn off before re-entering car)

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