â€œHave you seen my iPad?!â€
Iâ€™m not sure if it was an accusation or just the shock of losing something quite valuable, but it certainly was a different way to say â€œhelloâ€ when you walk into a hostel dorm!
Iâ€™m in Cali, Colombia. My friend and I walk into an empty hostel room. The clothes littered about suggest that there are two girls staying here too. Having taken a long journey down from Medellin, food was the first order of business so we had out.
When we get back thereâ€™s two angry looking girls stalking about the hostel room, checking every corner and pulling items out of backpacks.
â€œHave you seen my iPad?!â€
â€œHi, to you too!â€
Sheâ€™s having that momentâ€¦
Itâ€™s that moment where youâ€™re wondering did I lock it away? Did I leave it out? Is it somewhere in my backpack. But no, it had vanished.
Hereâ€™s the kicker. It was locked away. There are signs around the hostel about keeping valuables locked away and the hostel isnâ€™t liable for items that arenâ€™t secure. But check this outâ€¦
This hostel, like so many others, had lockers in the base of the bunk bed. You can lock the front but just by lifting the mattress and wood, you can access the locker. ALL of them were like that!
Just because you put it in a locker doesnâ€™t mean itâ€™s always secure. Sometimes if you use a lock that isnâ€™t thick enough, with old lockers you can still tug and twist the latch open.
My advice is this; make sure what you are securing your device in is actually secure. I know from now on Iâ€™ll always check under the mattress to see that you canâ€™t access the locker below!
Hiding In Plain Sight
Another way to protect your device is to quite literally hide it in plain sight. I know some of you purists out there donâ€™t like to use a Kindle because it doesn’t â€˜feelâ€™ like you are reading a book. Try this on for size.
You take an old book and glue all the pages together. You cut a Kindle shaped hole in the pages and voila. You have a ragged old book with your Kindle hidden inside. You also get to feel like youâ€™re reading a book!
Get A Decent Case
Before I went on my second gap year I bought a cheap case. The corner clips broke and when I was getting my iPad out of my bag on a bus, it slipped out and hit the floor. I was lucky I didnâ€™t damage my iPad but I quickly decided that I needed to get something better.
I got myself a Snugg case. It protects the iPad front and back and thereâ€™s certainly no way my iPad is slipping out on to the floor! I know my possessions have taken a beating on my trips so a decent case will avoid damage. Donâ€™t skimp, make sure you get a decent case.
Just a final note on cases. Donâ€™t get a case that is conspicuous. It might be tempting to get a bright orange case but something simple like a black or brown one doesnâ€™t stand out as much and mixed in with your other belongings it can just look like a folder or journal. Snugg has them in many designs and colours. I opted for this executive black leather one. Sleek and inconspicuous. Exactly how I want it to look.
You can get your own case for things like tablets and smart phones to eReaders and laptops. Get a Snugg case on Amazon now.
Finally, you should already have gap year travel insurance but the other thing to check is whether your device will actually be covered. Look for the section that covers electrical goods and there will normally be a single article limit. Is that limit greater than the value of your device? The other thing to note is that you should have a receipt for your device and it must have been purchased before you took out your policy. If in doubt call up your insurance provider and check whether you are covered or not.