One of the best ways to ruin an otherwise great vacation is by falling victim to theft. When you’re traveling in a foreign city, you need to be mindful of your valuables to protect yourself from pickpockets. Otherwise, you may find yourself in a precarious position without money or identification.
We all know to protect our valuables, including identification and credit cards, while we’re on vacation. The reality is that in many world cities, tourists are especially vulnerable to having their possessions taken from them. In fact, it is estimated that 33% of all travel insurance claims are for lost or stolen possessions. The good news is that there are some tricks you can use to reduce the odds that you’ll fall victim to theft while traveling abroad. Try these simple strategies to protect yourself from pickpockets and enjoy the benefits of having some peace of mind while you’re on vacation.
Always store valuables in your front pocket
Don’t pull out your wallet
If you shuffle through your wallet while standing in a busy urban area, you’re making yourself more vulnerable to having your money and ID snatched out of your hands. This may seem far-fetched, but an expert pickpocket doesn’t need much time to do their dirty work.
Shorten your purse strap
Do you have a long purse or messenger bag? While it may not win you any fashion points, reducing the length of the strap will let you keep your purse and it openings under your arm—allowing you to protect yourself from pickpockets.
Secure your bag
Another simple way to protect your purse from potential thieves is by holding onto your bag in front of you so that it is always within eyesight. If you’re planning to fall asleep on a train or plane, loop a strap around your arm or leg and you’ll protect yourself from pickpockets stealing your bags while your sleeping.
Only take what you need
Put your money in multiple places
By carrying small sums of money at a time, you are less likely to be targeted and even if you are, it won’t significantly affect the enjoyment of your vacation. This may seem obvious, but when we withdraw money, we often forget how much we’re keeping in our wallet. Also remember to always keep track of how much money you’re carrying at any given time.
Wear a money belt
This one is a classic way to protect yourself from pickpockets. While it may be less than stylish, wearing a money belt is one of the most secure ways to carry valuables like cash, credit cards and passports. Just be careful—many tourists make the mistake of wearing their money belt like a wallet. Instead, it should be worn under your clothes in order to make it incredibly difficult to access.
Keep your phones off the table
While it may be common for us to place our cell phones down on the table while we’re at a restaurant or a bar, doing so while you’re traveling makes it easy for thieves to come up and take it. This also means those who have wallet phone cases should not leave their credits cards or any ID in the slots of their cases.
Maintain situational awareness
You don’t have to be a secret agent to be one step ahead of a potential threat. There are some strategies you can use to make yourself more alert and aware of your surroundings. Enhancing your situational awareness will not only help you detect potential thieves, but will also help you become more present and mindful in your everyday life.
Don’t be too flashy
One of the best ways to protect yourself from pickpockets by dressing down. If you look like someone who would have lots of money on hand, you’ll be more likely to draw attention from would-be pickpockets. In other words: leave that Rolex or pearl necklace at home.
Wear backpacks with hidden pockets
While it may seem unnecessary to walk around Paris with a hiking backpack, many day packs contain hidden dark pockets unaware to the naked eye. These secret pockets make for inconspicuous places to store any valuables, identification or cash.
Walk with purpose
If you walk quickly and know where you’re going, you’re less likely to be targeted by pickpockets. Pickpockets can spot the confused looks of lost tourists, so it’s best to keep moving when you’re walking around busy public areas. Even if you don’t have any idea of where you are, walking with purpose will make a potential pickpocket think twice before approaching you.