16 Tips to Outsmart Pickpockets
When we're thinking about traveling, our first thoughts revolve around tourist attractions and the thrill of exploring a new place. And that's what you should be thinking about when planning a trip overseas. But, when it comes to traveling, your safety and security should be the first thing on your mind.
As a tourist, you're a pickpockets dream target. For them, you're a rich tourist that doesn't know the city. If you want to prevent a pickpocket from ruining your trip, follow these tips to outsmart them.
You know where you're going, but do you really know where you're going? Before traveling to a new place, do some research and learn a bit about the city's layout and stats on petty theft. For example, places like Barcelona, Paris, and Rome are infamous for pickpockets. Knowing what areas to stay away from will help keep you out of harm's way.
Learn about the types of pickpocketing
When it comes to pickpockets, they're very crafty. Some will create dramatic scenarios to distract you, while others will simply slip their hand in your bag, take what they want a disappear. Do some research and learn the types of pickpocketing scams you may encounter.
Try not to look too touristy
It's not easy to not look like a tourist, especially when the local culture is entirely opposite to you. But, pulling out a giant map or standing stranded in the middle of a street will only make you more of a target. If you need directions, go into a local shop and ask, or take a seat at a cafe and gather your thoughts.
Use the hotel safe
There aren't many stories about people having their hotel safe broken into, but there are endless stories about people being pickpocketed on the street. The hotel safe is there for a reason; it provides you the extra protection you need for your valuables. Most people don't bother using their hotel safe, but maybe you should start.
Get yourself an anti-theft backpack
One of the best ways to prevent pickpockets is by getting yourself an anti-theft bag. You automatically block any attempts by pickpockets from getting into your bag. Anti-theft backpacks and bags are designed with either locks or hidden zippers, preventing easy access which deters pickpockets. You'll be able to elevate pressure knowing you have an anti-theft bag.
Check yourself before leaving a space
Before leaving any space, make sure you check the area. Many times a pickpocket didn't rob you; instead, you accidentally left your valuables behind. Before leaving a taxi cab or cafe, check around you and make sure you have everything. Once you've left, the odds of you coming back and finding your passport or credit card is slim.
RFID wallet to fight tech crime
Pickpockets are mostly known for swiping things out of your back pocket or backpack. But now, theft is going high-tech. Pickpockets are now scamming tourists by scanning your credit cards and passport numbers without even touching you. Use an RFID wallet; it'll protect your personal identity by blocking RFID technology.
Be alert at popular tourist attractions
Large crowds are literally the birthplace of pickpockets. Think about it: thousands of tourists all standing together, completely unaware of their surroundings while taking photos. Sounds like the perfect recipe because it is. Naturally, you shouldn't avoid seeing attractions, but you must be vigilant.
Be aware of distractions
Pickpockets aren't always shy and covert. Many times they're creating dramatic scenes to distract you. Pickpockets aren't always adults; they're also children. This doesn't mean you can't interact with the local culture; of course, you can and you should. But, be aware of your surroundings during these scenarios.
Avoid large crowds
That's not always easy to do, but if you can avoid standing in large crowds, do it. If there's a commotion, be wary; it could be a planned event by pickpockets. A messy scene is a great opportunity for pickpockets to get their hands in your backpack and pockets.
Remove valuables from tables
At cafes or restaurants are home, you're used to having your phone laying on the table, but when you're traveling, you can't do that. Many pickpockets have no problem swiping your phone right off of the table. Plus, if they run, you won't be able to catch them.
This may be tricky during the summer months, but if you're traveling in the spring, fall, or winter, layer up. Aside from keeping yourself toasty and warm, your layers will protect you. Pickpockets aren't able to sift their way through your layers without you noticing. Plus, it's harder for pickpockets to determine where your valuables are when you're wearing layers.
Always split your money
You can wear layers, place your money in an RFID wallet, but that doesn't mean you're safe. When traveling, make sure you split your money. Keep your credit card and cash in different areas of your body. Put most of your money in a money belt, and then keep a small amount of cash in your wallet.
Use a money belt
Though money belts may remind you of your grandma, there's a reason why she's never been robbed. Money belts are great in preventing your passport and money from being stolen. They're worn under your shirt and are a pickpocket's worst nightmare.
Trust no one
This sounds harsh and a tad anti-social, but when you're traveling, you always need to have your guard up. It's easy to get a feel for the local culture and start to relax, but that's when theft is most likely to occur. When it comes to your wallet and passport, always have your guard up.
Get travel insurance just in case
On top of everything, when traveling to a new country, it's best to get yourself travel insurance. Many people choose to travel without travel insurance, but it's very risky. Make sure you get yourself travel insurance before your trip. If you happen to be robbed, depending on your insurance, you may be able to get reimbursed for your loss.
Don't get too relaxed
Having fun on holiday is a must, but when it comes to your valuables, you can never be too relaxed. If you follow the above tips, you'll be able to reduce the pressure of keeping your valuables safe. But even then, never get too comfortable when traveling to new destinations.