Last week, I wrote a review of the great solo time I had at the Monte Carlo pool. But what I didn’t mention was that I didn’t actually go in the water. Why not? Well, I had some things with me that I didn’t want to leave alone—my DSLR camera (to get photos of the pool area for this blog) and my cell phone. This has become an even bigger issue for me since I bought my tablet, since I now use that as a Kindle reader instead of bringing paper books with me. And of course, my primary reason for heading to the pool is to kick back, relax, and read.
Let’s face it, wherever tourists gather, the possibility exists that there are also opportunists who would like to relieve said tourists of their valuables. Couples and groups of friends don’t really have to worry about this. They can take turns: While one person is swimming, the other watches their belongings. But you’re traveling solo. What can you do to keep your valuables safe?
The first and most obvious answer is: Don’t bring them with you.
Lock your valuables in your room safe when you go down to the pool. All you really need to bring with you to the pool area is your room key card. You can use it to charge food and beverages to your room (and tip the cocktail waitress), so you don’t need to carry cash to the pool. And it doesn’t have your room number on it, so there’s no benefit to anyone to steal it. This method works well if your only reasons for going to the pool are swimming and socializing.
But what if you have your cell phone with you or want to read your tablet or kindle while you’re at the pool? Last week, I asked the SoloFriendly community on Facebook what they would do to keep their valuables safe at the pool. Some of their answers were what I expected they might be, while others were a surprise. Here are our collective suggestions:
Pick a seat close to the pool and keep an eye on your belongings while you’re in the water.
Bury valuables deep within a bag or under a towel so there’s no visible temptation for thieves.
But by far the most popular answer was: Find someone sitting near you and ask if they’d mind keeping an eye on your belongings. (Wow. You all are much more trusting than I am. Apparently, it has worked out for you, though.)
Lois Schilberg Middleton offered up a variation/combination of two popular answers: “I would take it back to my room unless I could leave it with the outside bartender or other resort personnel.” That one threw me a bit. Asking the staff to watch my stuff never would have occurred to me.
Stay at a hotel that rents lockers out by the pools. Not all Vegas resorts do this, but Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand do, and the Cosmopolitan has lockers at the Marquee Day Club (though not at their Boulevard or Bamboo pools). This way you can read to your heart’s content, and when you’re ready to jump in the pool, secure your items in a locker first. If you want to know if a particular hotel offers lockers, contact them directly.
If pool time is something you spend a lot of time doing on your vacations, you might consider investing in some anti-theft gear. For instance, Witz makes waterproof sport cases that are small enough to wear on a lanyard around your neck and hold small items, such as ID, credit card and cash. If you’re a man, you can buy swim trunks that have waterproof pockets in them or buy a waterproof wallet for regular pockets. (I haven’t yet seen any women’s swimsuits that offer pockets of any kind, but if you know of any, please share.)
For larger valuables, such as a camera and tablet, you could also invest in a PacSafe TravelSafe 100, which is a foldable bag that acts as a portable safe that you could secure to your lounge chair or other solid, immoveable object. PacSafe products use a lightweight stainless steel mesh which prevents thieves from slashing them open. A simple string backpack tied to the lounge chair was also suggested as something people have successfully used in the past.
One last note: If your e-reader of choice does happen to be an Amazon Kindle and it gets pinched, Amazon will “lock” your Kindle if you let them know it’s gone missing. If it’s found, you can contact them again to unlock it. Good to know!
So there you have it, the collective wisdom of several solo travelers on how to keep your belongings safe so you can enjoy a dip in the pool. (To read their detailed suggestions, please head on over to my Facebook page.) The next time you feel like indulging in a little pool time in Las Vegas, don’t let a little insecurity stop you. I think I’ll be giving one or more of these ideas a try on my next trip!