5 Easy Ways to Stop a Pickpocket While Traveling August 05 2015
It’s finally vacation time! August is the peak vacation month in both the USA and Europe, and many people will be visiting foreign cities. As a traveler, the last thing you want to experience is being pickpocketed. Luckily there are a few ways to safeguard yourself against such a situation.
The following is a list of 5 easy ways to stop a pickpocket:
- Wear a money belt! This should be a mandatory item on everyone’s packing list. Most money belts are very slim, have zipper closures, and can fit your passport, credit cards, and cash without any visible evidence that you are wearing one. A good example is this slim money belt by LL Bean. For a money belt to be effective, you must wear it under your clothing; preferably around your stomach region underneath your shirt. I recommend using a money belt to carry extra cash, a spare credit card, and your passport, as you should not access it in public. It’s best to go into a stall in a restroom to take out the extra items when needed.
- Bring a Small Front Pocket Wallet. When I am not travelling, I usually carry cards and cash in my bi-fold wallet, and keep it in my back pocket. This is a huge no-no when traveling in foreign cities. Your back pocket is one of the easiest places for a pickpocket to steal your wallet. Instead, bring a small supplemental wallet that you can transfer some credit cards and cash into when you arrive at your hotel room (The Avallone Slim Card Carrier, Money Clip, or Front Pocket Wallet work perfectly in this scenario). Keep your regular wallet in the hotel room safe, and put your small front pocket wallet in your front pocket for easy access while shopping. If you get into a crowded area or an uncomfortable situation put your hand in your pocket and hold your wallet in a casual, non-obvious way.
- Don’t take anything valuable with you that you can’t keep in your money belt or your front pocket with your wallet. Most native residents can spot a foreign traveler very easily, especially if they are targeting someone for a robbery. A foreign traveler wearing a shoulder bag, or backpack while touring a city for the day becomes a target. While I was in Naples, Italy (a city with a very high pickpocket rate), I wore my money belt, and carried a front pocket wallet with my digital camera, in my front right pocket. If I felt like I was in a situation where I could be pickpocketed, I just put my right hand in my pocket and held my valuables (just like Daniel Craig below).
- When in non-crowded situations, don’t let strangers get too close to you. When pickpockets operate, they try to get very close in order to gain access to your pockets. They do this by edging closer and closer to you, so that they are less than an arm’s length in distance from your body. If you notice someone invading your personal space like this, whether in a line or on the street, move away immediately. Don’t try to ignore it and chalk it up to local culture, as they are most likely trying to rob you. If you are also following the previous advice regarding the money belt and front pocket hand trick, they will not be able to pickpocket you, should you not notice they are getting too close to you.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. Keep your eyes and ears open for anything suspicious or unusual, and trust your gut instinct if something doesn’t feel right. This applies not just to pickpockets, but to your general safety and wellbeing while travelling. Also keep in mind that most criminals will stalk the person they intend to harm first. If you notice someone following you, get help immediately from the nearest public venue such as a restaurant, store, or if you’re lucky, a police man or police station. Do not, under any circumstances, continue walking into an uncrowded area or back alley.
As long as you follow these guidelines while traveling, you can feel confident that you will not be a target of the common pickpocket or thief. Enjoy your vacation and stay safe!
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- Written By Avallone Founder & CEO Christopher Avallon