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Avoid Pickpockets: 7 Tips to Stay Safe While Traveling

By Edited Dec 29, 2015 0 0

 

Avoiding pickpockets is important when you travel. Being pick pocketed can ruin a vacation faster than anything! While nothing can guarantee the safety of your wallet, there are many steps that you can take to avoid getting pick pocketed.
1. Know Your Destination:
Knowing your destination (along with tip #7) is probably the single biggest thing that you can do to avoid pickpockets. Theft, particularly pickpocketing, tends to be more common in larger cities where there are lots of tourists. If you will be traveling in a place like this you will need to be more vigilant protecting yourself from pickpockets. Certain cities are known for pickpockets, and you should make sure you find out in advance if pickpocketing is common in your destination. Even if you are not traveling in a high theft area, it doesn't mean you can stop thinking about avoiding pick pocketing; always be aware of your surroundings and take appropriate steps. If you are unsure, ask your CouchSurfing host, or a local tourist information agent how much you need to worry avoiding pickpockets while traveling in different neighborhoods. They will also let you know how to avoid common tourist scams in your area.
Avoid pickpockets
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/j-cornelius/

 

2: Dress to Blend (Not to Impress):
Wearing clothing that fits in with the locals is one of the best ways to avoid pickpockets. Leave the jewelry at home, don't wear clothes that clearly mark you as a tourist. By lowering your profile you will make yourself less of a target and avoid getting pick pocketed. This also means that you shouldn't show your expensive camera, computer, smartphone or other luxury items in places where you need to avoid pickpockets. If you can avoid it, leaving these items at home will make you less of a target for pickpockets. Using a inconspicuous camera (there are great point-and-shoot cameras for travel) instead will help you avoid being pick pocketed

3: Pack Light and Locked:
The less stuff you have, the easier it is to watch and make sure you don't get pick pocketed! If you have more bags than you can carry you put yourself at a high risk of pickpocketing! Ideally you should have only one bag when you pack to travel the world, the smaller the better. If you have more and are traveling in a particularly high-risk area (remember #1, know your destination!) you might want to put any extra bags you have in front of you when you walk to make sure you avoid being pick pocketed! Investing in a good travel lock for your bag is not fail-safe, but it is a cheep way to stay safe from pickpockets.

4. Use A Money Belt:
A money belt is simply a belt designed to keep you safe from pickpockets. It is designed with a little zipper on the back side in which you can stash money. This makes you less likely to be pick-pocketed, even though it might seem like a bit of hassle. While int the past travel belts have gotten a bad rap for being unstylish, nowadays companies like Travelon make a wide range of attractive and inexpensive money belts

5. Don't Show Where You Keep Your Money:
Having a money belt or a wallet on a chain is a good start to avoiding pickpockets, but a savvy pickpocket will figure you out as soon as you go to pay for a meal at a street vendor. Before you leave your hostel or Couchsurfer's house, take whatever money you will need for the day and scatter it about your person. I often put half in my pocket, a quarter in my shoe, and the rest in a money belt or other pouch. When you go to pay for something, you will only revealing a small portion of your cash and really, most of it will be safe at home (in a safe if your hotel has one!) Never carry a wallet in your back pocket, this is a pickpocket’s dream!

6. Make Copies of Important Information:
When I travel I always make four copies of my passport, credit cards, and visas. If you are using traveler's checks (which I don't recommend) you should copy these too. On each of these copies I also write important information such as emergency contacts, the local embassy, and a number for my credit card company. I keep one in my wallet, one my backpack, one on my person not in my wallet, and one I leave with a trusted friend or family member back home. While not technically a way to stay safe from being pick pocketed, this will be vital if your stuff is stolen and you are stuck in a country without these essentials. You will thank me it later, I promise.

 

stay safe from pickpockets
Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stevendepolo/

 

7. BE AWARE!
Finally, and most importantly, BE AWARE of your surroundings to avoid getting pick pocketed! If people are acting suspicious, steer clear. If someone approaches you and it isn't immediately clear why, keep a hand on your belongings. Pickpockets are opportunistic, if you make yourself a difficult target, they will simply move on. Pay particularly close attention to potential pickpockets on subways, elevators, buses, and other spaces where many people are in close proximity. Protect yourself from pickpockets who take your wallet the instant before train doors close and jump off, leaving you stuck on the train.You should also vigilantly avoid pickpockets whenever you need to take out money from an ATM. Pickpockets watch these areas and are easily able to see where you put all that money! If possible, take out money and go directly into a private space such as a bathroom to stash your cash in order to avoid the eyes of pickpockets.
Good Luck!
Hopefully with these tips you will be able to to avoid pickpockets and have a safe, happy and cheap trip around the world! If you have been pick pocketed or have other tips on how to avoid pickpockets, please share and help fellow travelers!

 

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