Personal Security Tips While Traveling Abroad

~ Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 9:39 AM ~

My brother in-law travels often and every now and then will be sharing his experiences good and bad. In this article, I'll be sharing his personal security tips while traveling abroad. He has given his blessings for me to copy his tips and share his article out, I'm only touching up a wee bit of typo and using freestock pictures, otherwise I'm crediting this article to his name.

Let's read and learn together, shall we?

Take just enough cash for the day spending

(Image credit)

In Spain, we pre-researched that we might need EUR30 per day per person for lunch, refreshment, dinner, shopping & admission fees. So I took 3 notes of 10 EUR, and separated them into 2-3 pockets (pants, shirt) and only 1 credit card. No wallet, No handbag, No carrybag, No belt punch. I only have a compact knapsack to store water, snacks, a woollen jumper, mobile phone, and medicine. The rest of the holiday cash and passports are in the hotel room safe or hotel main safety box.

Watch for people watching you – scan your surroundings

Generally, in developed countries, the locals do not have a habit of staring or looking at you, it is impolite – even if you are dressed outrageously. Whenever we are descending into a train station or bus station, we scan the surroundings – to see who is looking at us.

(Image credit)

In Barcelona (we pre-learned) how to recognise professional pick pockets – they are usually the ones looking at other people and their belongings; they don’t seemed to be waiting for trains or looking at the train notice board, and they ain’t reading anything – not even their mobile phone (this is a dead give-away). We saw a few – and we avoided them. In Barcelona, a pickpocket if caught is not charged unless you can prove that they stole more than EUR 300.

What if the hotel is budget type and storing in room doesn’t feel safe

We put all cash, cards and passports into a thick envelop, close it, doing these inside our room before going down to the counter. And at the counter, we store it into the hotel counter safety box - each box usually have a dual-key system. We do not give our things to the person on the counter to keep it into the box – we do it together in our presence.

What if the hotel is so budget that even the room safety box or counter safety box looks iffy

First, not worth to stay in such a hotel. Secondly, paying slightly more is for some measure of security. But in the event you don’t have choices, and you must take your valuables out with you on your body, make sure the (example of) 30 EUR (3 notes in 3 pockets); the rest, tightly packed into the deepest section of your knapsack firmly against your body.

Knapsack, Knapsack, Knapsack – just 1

Knapsack, Knapsack, Knapsack – and hug it in your front

Buy a very inconspicous uncomplicated boring but firm knapsack, with 2-3 deep sections preferably with inner zip. And always all the time, especially in crowded areas, specifically: airports, train stations, taxi & bus stations, lifts, elevators, street markets, inside trains & buses – HUG your knapsack in the FRONT of your body.

Honeymooning couples are usually bodily glued to each other everywhere they go, with knapsacks behind them, and bags all over the place – they are a thief and pickpocket heaven on earth. We do not carry more than 1 bag per body (maybe, max max 2 – 1 roller suitecase, 1 knapsack – for long holidays.)

If you’re carrying a knapsack, handbag, iPad, shopping bags, camera bag, waist pouch, pants wallet – you stand out like a "Come-Rob-Me-Please" beacon begging them. Robbing just you would help meet the thieves’ daily quota, or even weekly.

Do NOT count on numbers

Just because you are surrounded by family members, friends, colleagues, male members of the travelling entourage – Number is NOT safety. Do not count on others to watch your valuables. In 2 separate incidences, a male colleague was in the check-out queue of a 5 star hotel with other male colleagues, and the cctv later picked up a well-suit bespectabled bearded man casually walked up along him and lifted his notebook bag – with all the whole week site reports in there (!). A neighbour lost her notebook in a spanking new airport which she had transited so many times, this time surrounded by her family members.

Number is not safety.

It is like a stalking tiger deciding which gazelle it wants to pounce upon out of the many grazing gazelles mistaking security in numbers.

Jewelleries, Handbags, Wallets, Watches, Necklaces

Whenever I’m the group leader, I conditioned that all members must leave all burdensome & valuables things at home – we don’t need them to impress people or travelling companions to the places we’re heading. Specifically : branded handbags (or all handbags in general), all jewelleries (from every bodyparts except those already nailed onto the body) with exception of one’s wedding ring (of which the wife would be very unhappy not to see it on her husband’s finger) – on the otherhand, tai tai should abandon their 36 carats diamond ring at home – and no need to bring along to impress. You'll always end up paying more to the very people you’re trying to impress.

(Image credit)

Try driving a Mercedes to the durian seller – you’ll be charged more. And men, expensive watches – leave it at home. Needless to say, necklace is so easy to grab. I once was waiting at a traffic light, on a bright sunny day, I saw something shiny flew across my windscreen ... it's so surreal like slow-mo movie... it fell on the road kerb, the owner a toughie ganster looking type picked up his thick gleaming gold chain ..and started to chase the 2 motorcycled snatch thieves.

Things You Can Leave at Home

Driving licence (unless you will be renting a car) and National Identity Card. Your passport** and visa are the only document you’ll need – for entry at Customs, hotel, car rental, etc. Pants wallet especially those bulging with cards and cash makes pick pocketers glee with joy and praising their patron god. So, I seldom use or keep valuables in a pant-wallet.

**before the trip, we photocopy all our passports, and credit cards .. and leave the photocopy inside our hotel safe in case anyone loses their passport or card - and we hv this copy to refer or make report.

Remember, when travelling in groups – especially if everyone are close friends or family members : if one member exposed themselves to be robbed and pickpocketed, or lose their travelling document or money – it clouds the entire holiday mood for everyone (remember my own Brussels-London trip?) So, in taking precautions and freeing ourselves from being robbed – we are actually preserving the happy mood of travelling together.

Go light, go easy, go safe.

Teaching & Learning Moment - Vocabulary Power Flip Book

~ Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 5:27 AM ~

I have this vocabulary power flip book which was bought a couple of years back. I put it in our study room, just regularly flip to new words whenever we were in the study room.

Once in a while, I will point out the word and asked our eldest kiddo to pronounce it and then I will explain to the rest of our kiddos what the word meant. My plan is to leave it there, subtly mentioned to kiddos whenever we are in the study room. Once, I forgot all about the flip book and our eldest kiddo suddenly asked me what the word on the flip book meant. Oh wow, paying attention huh?

So I continued as per normal, teaching when the opportunity presents itself, no pressure, not too subtle hahaha...

Vocabulary Power Flip Book

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost everyday) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity. 

I'm a full-time mummy

Product Review - Josh & Cherie Books

~ Posted on Monday, February 6, 2017 at 6:55 AM ~

I have been cutting down on doing product reviews towards the last quarter of year 2016 to prepare for our coming 4th kiddo who was born in early November 2016 and I am now slowly resuming doing product reviews but prioritizing those that can fit into our family dynamics (especially books on parenting or homeschooling stuff, family products, something along those genre)

However, as busy as I am with 4 kiddos, home cooking, taking care of hubby's administration site of the business and swamped up with managing my FB page and blog, I just can't say no to reviewing good books, what more one as unique as this! Reading is my passion and coupled with books that are of parenting, children, family or religion or educational genre, all the more I gotta say yes! 

I think the concept of monthly subscription boxes is picking up in Malaysia though it is quite a norm in overseas with all sorts of things that you can subscribe to monthly - books, arts and crafts stuff, cosmetic products, snacks and so on!

Extreme Colouring- Amazing World

Josh and Cherie Books

Description from the company:

"Josh & Cherie Books is a Singapore-based premium children book subscription for ages 0-7. Every month, we handpick 2-3 books (depending on your child's age group), gift-wrap it, and deliver it to your doorstep. We make reading exciting for children, convenient for parents, and affordable for everyone. "

I'm a full-time mummy

Soon after letting Cheryl (one of the founders) know about our kiddos age range, we received this gorgeous box, nicely packed, so exciting!!! It's like Christmas all over again! Love the cute note written inside the box! Special touch!

Josh and Cherie Books

We opened the box and found 3 books along with a cute little LED torch light to be used together with one of the books.

Josh and Cherie Books

Let's have a look at the books we received, shall we? We started off with the "On the Construction Site (Shine-A Light Books)" armed with the cute little LED torch light. Kiddos were all excited with this new concept of reading book hahahah!

Now to be honest, I wouldn't have known such book exist had we not have the opportunity to try out this book subscription. What a cool and fun way to get the kiddos interested! They each get a chance to hold the torchlight and shine it from the back of the pages and see what the shadow reveals. Very cool indeed!

Josh and Cherie Books

Even our almost 8-year-old boy got excited as well as he quickly answers my questions on what could be behind some pages. Rocks and stones underneath the ground, cabling behind the walls and more! Our girls (age 3 and 5) also look in awe as they admire the cablings behind the walls.

Josh and Cherie Books

I like that there are some pages explaining the different types of machinery shown in the book and our kiddos get to learn about them as well!

The next book we reviewed is 'Pandora' by the Victoria Turnbull. I personally love the cover of the book. Soft satin material and the illustrations is captivating as well as the beautiful storyline. The book is meant for children from age 4 to 7 but our 3 kiddos seem to enjoy the book and feeling sad and happy as we flipped through the book from beginning to end.

Josh and Cherie Books

The final book is meant for our littlest kiddo but he is a bit too young to fully appreciate this book yet, hence I will keep it until he is ready for it in a few months' time. The "Red Truck" board book by Kersten Hamilton is about the story of Red Truck saving a school bus from a mud puddle.

But seriously, I did try to let our almost 3 months old boy have a look. He was indeed captivated with the book, most probably because of the bright interesting colors hahaha...

Josh and Cherie Books

Overall, I think the idea of monthly book subscription is really nice.

Imagine feeling Christmas-sy every month, getting new books (without the headaches of picking and choosing suitable ones) and feeling the excitement and surprises as you opened your monthly box!

I am also impressed on the way the books are selected. Picture below is taken from Josh & Cherie Books website. You can clearly feel that they understand the type of books that suit children, right?

I also think this would also make a wonderful present to gift to your loved ones, imagine every month your loved ones are reminded of your blessings as they received their subscription box. Isn't it wonderful? A gift that keeps on giving :)

I'm a full-time mummy

You can find out more from

I'm a full-time mummy

I received no monetary compensation for this review, I was provided with a subscription box in order to facilitate my review. All opinions expressed in this post are my own. Please do your own research when purchasing products, as your opinions may differ from mine. And if you'd like to read my previous book reviews, you can do so by reading this post of mine called "My Book Reviews"

** Note: I have disabled the commenting feature on my blog engine thanks to all the spammers who happily spam my blog every day. If you wish to ask me any questions, you can find me at my Facebook page (I'm there almost every day) or just drop me an email if you wish to maintain some anonymity.
I'm a full-time mummy