5 Tips to Avoid Pickpockets on Your Next Travel
Travelling brings us unforgettable experiences of all kinds. We always hope that it would be positive memorable trips, however, it can't be helped that such mishaps happen.
Now, just imagine you're busy taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, when suddenly you someone 'accidentally' bumps into you. Not really giving it a second thought, you shrug it off and continue taking pictures before heading your way back to the hotel. Once you get to your room, just as you try to reach for your wallet in your back pocket, you realize it's gone. Before you realize what's happened, the damage has been done. You have just been a victim of a tourist pickpocket in the most romantic city.
Unlike what most people think, pickpockets are not just generally numerous in poverty-stricken countries. Actually, if you google it, you'll find out that most tips would be referring to places in Europe where there is an increasing number of pickpockets just because of amount of unsuspecting tourists that visit every year.
So how can you avoid being one of these victims? Here are top 5 tips to help you make sure that no one but you, pulls your wallet our of that pocket.
1. Stay Vigilant. Remember that no matter how beautiful a place is, you still have to keep in mind that you are surrounded by strangers. Some of these strangers may just be waiting to catch people off-guard. Tourists are too trusting since they have no choice but to do so. However, if your instincts tell you that something is off, then don't hesitate look around and give a look that you are aware of what's going on, also if you notice something wrong, speak up about it. Don't stay quiet and just let things happen.
2. Keep your belongings close to you and where you can SEE them. Carrying purses is very trendy among ladies nowadays. However during travelling, it may not always be the best as you cannot always see the other side of the purse. So to make sure, pull it in front of you always. Make sure that when you get something out of it that you close the zipper again. Sure keeping it open makes it easy for you to access your things such as cameras to capture those quick fun moments, but this also makes it easy for others with bad intention to slide their hand inside. It's also advisable to opt for bags with strap that can go across the body because it's easy to just keep it in front of you and harder to grab (especially if you shorten the strap, like the ones made for men). For backpacks, try to wear it on your front.
For men who are used to having their wallets in their back pockets, it would be best that you don't do that as most pickpockets usually start of mastering techniques in targeting those areas. Keep it somewhere hidden and never let it be seen.
3. Steer clear of crowds as much as possible. In our excitement to actually view the most picturesque places that we've only seen in pictures, we brave the crowds. However, pickpockets actually work best during these times because you're so inattentive, just trying to get through the sea of people. If you must be caught up in one, then try to stay on the sides and keep hug your things tightly. Don't put any valuables in your pockets or anywhere you can't see. Also avoid wearing things that can be grabbed easily, like jewelry because once a commotion takes up your attention, it'll be gone before you know it.
4. Avoid continuously touching your valuables or count money in public. This reason for this is very obvious. By doing this, you're letting pickpockets know where you're valuables are and how much you have. If you need to take out money, try to excuse yourself and go to the restroom and get your money there.
If you're dining in a restaurant and eating in one of the tables outside, don't just leave the money laying with the bill, hold on to it until the waiter comes to get it from your hands. This lessens the possibility of also your money getting snatched.
5. Carry only the amount you think you will need. When travelling, it's not advisable to carry ALL of your money. If the hotel you are staying in has a vault (which will most likely have), leave it there. A lot of people are scared of losing valuables in a hotel, but truth of matter is that tourists lose more while out and about that in hotel rooms. Carrying all your money would not be a smart move when you plan to be out for 8-9 hours, walking and going through crowds. Also it bulks up your wallet which will call attention. If you need to bring more than you need, then try to distribute the amount in different secret parts of your outfit. One of my cousins, used to slide a few hundreds in his shoes and some women try to hide money in their bras. It may sound silly, but if you think about it, pickpockets wouldn't bother removing your shoes or risk putting their hands in some woman's shirt just to get some cash.
**BONUS TIP** Most veteran travelers use MONEY BELTS (just like our Shacke Pocket Vault - Hidden Travel Belt Wallet w/ RFID Blocker). Actually if you read a number of articles on how to avoid pickpockets, at some point a money belt would be mentioned. A money belt is a small, zippered fabric pouch on an elastic strap that fastens around your waist, under your pants or skirt. Nowadays, pickpockets not only get your money, but some of them can even steal your identity. They can have RFID readers that will copy information from your passport to your credit card. What makes our Shacke Pocket Vault is that it has a blocker for this technology. So not only will it keep you money safe and hidden but your identity secure as well.