Much to my husband's dismay, I tend to travel with a fully-loaded purse or backpack. He often muses about the weight of the bag in question – and yes, the necessity of its contents. But, as I've frequently explained to him (and others), I've always felt the need to have a travel bag at the ready – just in case, as I jokingly say, I have to make a quick getaway. Typically, the satchel is filled with items like ID cards, stamps, matches, keys, jump drives, sunglasses, driving glasses, excess pens and notebooks, granola bars, lip balm, lotion, gum, aspirin, varied currency, my iPhone and Sony eReader, a two-year calendar, and a multipurpose tool, among other useful things.
Of course, the trouble with stowing so many items in one place is that I'd be in quite a pickle if I ever lost or misplaced my purse or backpack. At such times, I'd no doubt appreciate having SCOTTEVEST's  brand-new Fleece 7.0, which, according to the press release that I just received, features 23 purposeful pockets that “are perfect for gadget lovers, travelers, and photographers on the move!”
For now, though, I'll just have to keep an eye on my bag-of-the-moment and make sure not to leave it unattended. For instance, I never stow it in a shopping cart (where thieves can easily grab it), I always wear the strap across my chest (like a seatbelt), and following an incident in Italy more than 13 years ago, when a friend of a friend lost her purse and everything in it (including her precious passport) to a fleeing thief in a restaurant, I rarely hang my bag on the back of a chair, especially when seated near an open doorway.
Sometimes, though, precautions aren't enough. Precious belongings can disappear from locked cars and hotel rooms, and as I mentioned in a post about the “Pickpocket King,”  pickpockets can strike anywhere.
Unfortunately, identity theft is a major concern these days, and for most of us, our wallets resemble a “miniature directory” of our identities. Though wallets (which come in all shapes and sizes) can be handy little things, storing your driver's license, credit and debit cards, medical insurance information, and other important numbers all in one place can, if it's lost or stolen, greatly increase your risk of identity theft.
To help you safeguard your identity, consider following the advice of ProtectMyID  (866/960-6943), a full-service provider of identity theft detection, identity protection, and fraud resolution services. In fact, the company offers nine helpful tips for safeguarding your identity, whether or not you're planning to travel during the upcoming holiday season.
Here are the first three tips:
ᴥ Keep a record: If your wallet and everything in it were suddenly missing, you'd need to know what you had lost. In a personal notebook you keep in a secure place at home, write down all of the information from the front and back of your credit, debit, driver's license, medical insurance, and other important cards. Be sure to update the list as needed. This will help you make the appropriate calls following a theft.
ᴥ Limit your cards: What you don't carry in your wallet is just as important as what you do carry. For preemptive protection, only carry what you need on a daily basis. If you have multiple credit cards, only carry the one you use most often. Don't write PINs or passwords on the back of your credit or debit cards or on pieces of paper you keep in your wallet.
ᴥ Protect your SSN: Your Social Security number shouldn't be on anything you regularly carry in your wallet. If any of your identification cards from a school, library, or gym use your SSN as your member number, ask the organization for a randomly selected number and a new card. Be sure to shred the old one. Carry your actual Social Security card as infrequently as possible. If you need it to confirm your identity, be sure to return it to its safe storage place as soon as you can.
I hope that you'll find this advice helpful on your next trip. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned for my next post , which features six more commonsensical tips for avoiding identity theft!
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below, contact me via laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com, or connect with me on Facebook  and Twitter .
Disclosure: While I occasionally accept free or discounted travel assistance when it coincides with my editorial goals, my opinion is never for sale, which means that everything written in my American Nomad blog and Moon travel guides is my unbiased reflection of the things that I see, do, and experience while traveling across the United States.
Photo / Text © 2012 Laura Martone