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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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It would be nice to ramble through the world without a thought to safety and security, but these days travel safety, and the travel security gear you use to stay safe, should be top of mind. That’s not to say travel is unsafe and that you should forsake traveling – in fact just the opposite because of all you can learn along the way. What travel safety means is that you simply need to remain vigilant when it comes to travel security for both digital and physical possessions.

Over our years of traveling in a wide variety of cultures and political climates, we have come to rely on certain brands for what they offer in safety and security. Check these out when it comes time to do a little shopping – for yourself or others.

Pacsafe

Pacsafe is really the king of travel safety, with its entire product line based on keeping your possessions and information secure. We have used a lot of the company’s travel security gear, including camera bags, suitcases, backpacks and portable safes, not to mention cables and locks. In our gear reviews, you can find real world, real people testing from our travels, for example, of the Venturesafe X30 daypack, the Travelsafe X15 portable safe, the Camsafe Z16 camera and laptop backpack, and the compact Camsafe Toploader bag – all of which we still use. We also swear by the Pouchsafe PX15, which is a stuffable daypack that still incorporates a small RFID blocking pocket for your identification and credit cards.

Most recently we tried the Toursafe Exp29 wheeled gear bag and were utterly impressed at its versatility and durability on an Argentina trip with seven flights, and a week of banging around the high-plateau Puna in a 4WD too. The 29-inch suitcase held a lot and comes equipped with two compression straps on each side so you can yank it flatter when you have less stuff. It incorporates all of the best features Pacsafe offers, including cut-proof steel mesh, steel cables to lash it to a secure object, and the truly fantastic interlocking zipper pulls that slide over a locking anchor.


Sea to Summit

An outdoor-oriented company that originated in Australia, and has expanded well beyond  dry bags and cookware to travel gear. Check out the new Travelling Light RFID collection. We recently used both the RFID Card Holder and the RFID Travel Wallet – and we know we have friends for life. The wallet is so superbly designed with an exterior pocket for business cards or metro tickets and a zipper-secure wallet with plenty of storage for bills, coins and cards. Yet the whole thing is compact enough for small spaces and travel. The flat Card Holder will keep anybody happy who just wants a small safe place for multiple cards or folded cash – travel security gear at its finest.

HITT Tip: RFID is an acronym for “radio frequency identification” (pronounced R-F-I-D and not “are-fid,” please). It encodes digital data on, for example, passports and driver’s licenses where they can be read, digitally. But what this means is the bad guys can literally steal your personal information by simply standing near you with an RFID reader. Blockers keep such readers from peeking at your digital information. Read our story, “Digital security when traveling: 10 must-do tips,” to find out more.



Nite Ize

Another company founded in the ‘80s by a passionate entrepreneur and tinkerer, Nite Ize offers a variety of goods, from lights and cell phone accessories. If you do not have safety luggage with zipper pulls that lock, then for increased travel safety and security, you need to lock them yourself. We like the smaller S-Biner Slidelocks to lasso shut zippers on daypacks and briefcases. The beauty of these little gadgets is how they lock down (compared to normal carabiners) so light fingers on a metro or wherever can’t just slip open a zipper and quietly remove any valuables. We have a wardrobe of sizes for all needs and always pack 1-2 extra along on trips, too. A small item with a small price tag that could make a great stocking stuffer too!

HITT Tip: Basic steel twist-close cables are indispensable for lashing closed zippers but also for security on suitcases or making sure your ID Tags don’t get ripped off by the monsters working the evil conveyer belts.



Eagle Creek

Founded in 1975 by two passionate (married) travelers, Eagle Creek is still one of the stalwarts for great travel gear, from basic daypacks to accessories to travel safety and security items. Of course there is a selection of wallets and organizers that offer RFID blocking security (a must in today’s world), but the durability of the regular suitcases and gear is also a big plus for safety. In our reviews, you can find the Gear Warrior AWD suitcase and the Load Warrior Wheeled Duffle (updated version available). We also SWEAR by the Eagle Creek packing cubes, particularly the lightweight “Specter” ones, which serve to organize suitcases and packs, but can also work as a small tote or purse when at your destination.

Most recently we have used and used the Cargo Hauler 90L duffle that is a sturdy beast that also turns into a backpack for short hauls or around-town use.


All-Ett thin wallets

Wallets and passport carriers – with RFID protection – are now a must for travel security when traveling, but who wants to add bulky gear and weight? All-Ett has always specialized in keeping wallets slim, and we have used its passport holders for their protection too. Its wallets are understated and slightly refined.

HITT Tip: There are always a variety of passport sleeves to consider if you just want basic travel security gear for your business and holiday travel. Some are not much more than paper-like sleeves and you may find they start tearing a bit after some use. But at least you’ll have some protection!


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