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This question is asked about travel in India as there may be useful specifics I can learn. It will probably also be useful elsewhere. Notes at the end explain my general circumstances.

I intend to travel in India for several weeks, using long distance public services (train, bus, aeroplane) on a number of occasions. On a number of occasions I will be staying in relatively downmarket accommodation - usually single rooms in cheaper hotels. Probably not dorms but this is possible.

  • Indian rail suggests that the property lockers in AC class compartments will keep my goods secure. I've heard otherwise. Any advice?

  • How liable are goods in low cost hotel rooms to be at risk? What degree of security is needed for reasonable peace of mind?

  • I read that luggage lockers are provided at major railway stations. Are these reliably secure?

  • If I need to sleep in a publicly accessible area (eg dorm or room of uncertain security) I'd planned to have a highly intrusion resistant main bag (mesh or kevlar) attached to me with sensible sized stainless wire. How necessary is this or how substantial do I need such precautions to be?

  • Security could be inobtrusive or purposefully obvious. (eg stainless wire grid inside bag or outside. "Protected by ..." labels or none. Inobvious systems may be attacked with some damage even if unsuccessful. Obvious systems advertise valuable contents.


Notes:

I will be alone and be carrying about 15kg of equipment - backpack and possibly a lightweight 2 wheeled trolley which I can "tow" with a belt attachment - looks silly but allows less body loading, far better hand access to camera etc. This can be secured in use against opportunist theft (thin stainless link with QR coupling) and converts to a carried load in seconds when required.

I'll have one main bag, about 15kg of gear. Main valuables apart from passport & money etc are laptop, camera system (batteries, memory, backup, lenses).

VERY large bolt cutter will defeat any cable I'm liable to want to use. (I've seen what doesn't work for bicycles in Amsterdam!). If unattended and noise is not an issue an angle grinder will make short work of almost any padlock and cable system.

I'm well travelled generally and used to pickpockets and keeping attached to my pack - but from what I read India can be challenging. Any long distance land travel that I've done (e.g. China) security of bag has not been a major issue, and I'm used to hotels where I am fairly sure my goods are safe. (I have a tamper-evident storage system that I use in uncertain hotel situations. This gives me confidence that goods have not been tampered with and dissuades "investigations" by cleaning staff. It will not stop anyone who wishes to look through my gear and does not care that I know that they have done so.

I'm contemplating an electronic alarm and COULD even carry a motion detect camera system with hidden camera BUT time and weight and sense suggests this may not happen).

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3  
This might be better as separate questions... –  Karlson Feb 23 at 5:22
    
You've asked multiple questions in one - it'd likely be more beneficial to you and future viewers to split it out into separate ones, if possible... –  Mark Mayo Feb 25 at 0:59

3 Answers 3

Indian rail suggests that the property lockers in AC class compartments will keep my goods secure. I've heard otherwise. Any advice?

Train travel is usually safe, while traveling in AC compartments. I'd still suggest you to be alert. They don't have lockers per say, but you can use a cable to tie your luggage. Use big locks too. That should be fine for train travel. Always lock your luggage regardless of which transport mode you use. Volvo buses (A.C. buses) and plane - both are safe.

How liable are goods in low cost hotel rooms to be at risk? What degree of security is needed for reasonable peace of mind?

Not too reliable. But, again, this depends on the city you are in. Accommodation isn't dear in India. Try and stay in not so low-cost hotels, if you can. But, if money is a major constraint, carry your valuable goods with you when you go out. Keep your luggage locked in the room, just in case.

I read that luggage lockers are provided at major railway stations. Are these reliably secure?

Yes.

On a side note - are you carrying lots of expensive stuff apart from your camera? India, like any other touristy Asian country, is both safe and unsafe. It all depends on how alert you are. But, don't worry too much. I have traveled extensively in India (never locked my luggage), have traveled by plane, train and bus, and I have never had an issue. Enjoy that beautiful country.

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Security is really about accepting risk. You can never remove it all, even with all your preparations.

In India I'm willing to accept more risk, but I try to lower it by not bringing so many expensive things, maybe only a tripod, my old camera and consumer grade lenses with an old laptop for image editing. I try to keep things that I can't easily replace close to me at all times, even in bed when I sleep. My main luggage can mostly be replaced easily so I just relay new delhi shopping malls, travel insurance and my regular alertness.

I have traveled in India many times. I however always stay at places that are respectable (I quickly check the bad reviews on tripadvisor), and I will walk immediately out of any hotel that I don't like. I often walk around and check 2-5 hotels before I decide. Be alert when you are around typically tutor places like transport stations and tourists attractions, but other places my impression is that India is a very safe place, and people are both honest and respectable. Enjoy your trip and accept a little more risk!

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2  
"tutor places"? What does that mean? –  Faheem Mitha Mar 30 at 8:53

If I need to sleep in a publicly accessible area (eg dorm or room of uncertain security) I'd planned to have a highly intrusion resistant main bag (mesh or kevlar) attached to me with sensible sized stainless wire. How necessary is this or how substantial do I need such precautions to be?

Security could be inobtrusive or purposefully obvious. (eg stainless wire grid inside bag or outside. "Protected by ..." labels or none. Inobvious systems may be attacked with some damage even if unsuccessful. Obvious systems advertise valuable contents.

If someone wanted to steal your stuff they would very likely just lift the whole bag and deal with the security later. Organised theft is generally unlikely in India except in certain areas. Mostly it is more opportunistic or relatively unorganized, so if you keep your belongings closed to you and stay alert, you should be okay.

If you have a laptop, I would suggest you install Prey security software beforehand.

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Could you describe this security software that you give a link of? "security software" is a very very vague description. –  Vince Mar 12 at 15:13
1  
Sorry, I was travelling and didnt see your post. Essentially it is installed on your computer. If the laptop happens to be stolen, you can accordingly create a "warning" on you online prey account. If the thief logs into the computer and connects to the net, the software on your system will immediately detect the warning and send out its location, a photo (if you have a webcam) etc. –  regstuff Mar 17 at 10:17

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