Help! I am sooo irresponsible! How do I not get pickpocketed?
As you may or may not know, I lose my phone all the time, leave my purse on the backs of chairs at restaurants, and can’t find my car keys on a daily basis. That being said, I have spent almost two years total living in Europe, and I have only been attempted pickpocketed twice. Well, there was also that time in Dublin, Ireland, for St. Patrick’s Day where I left my phone in a jacket pocket at a bar and it was stolen. That doesn’t count though because that was just pure stupidity. Nevertheless, pickpocketing is rampant in many locales; but, I am here to tell you that even if you are terrible about keeping track of your belongings in everyday life, there are ways to help prevent you from being a victim of a thief. Here are 10 suggestions I have used to avoid having my “pocket picked.”
1. Wear a money belt to and from the airport and once you get to the hotel, immediately lock your passport in a safe. Most hostels hold your passport as a sort of room deposit, which is actually quite nice because then you don’t have to worry about losing it yourself. You can continue to wear a money belt throughout your trip if you like. Personally, however, I don’t like having to lift my shirt up in public every time I need to pay for something.
2. Hopefully you have a credit card with no foreign transaction fees that you can use for the majority of purchases on your trip. If not, only bring a small cash amount that is enough to get you through the day. Leave the rest of the cash in a safe. If you are in a hostel, buy a lock before you leave home and lock your cash in your backpack in your locker.
3. Personally, I like to use a small crossbody bag that can fit a phone, camera, map, cards, and cash. I put one hand on top of the zippered portion of the bag and one hand on the strap at all times so that there is less possibility for the strap to get cut. I promise that this stance becomes habit after a few hours. Be careful of using backpacks. If you are in a crowded area, wear the backpack backwards so its in front of you and make sure there is nothing too valuable inside.
4. Don’t leave your stuff by the beach while you go in the water! Make sure someone is watching your belongings at all times. Also, don’t leave anything in your jacket pocket and put your jacket down somewhere. Pickpockets steal jackets too and they get an extra bonus with whatever belongings you have inside!
5. Guys should not keep their wallet in their back pocket because they are very visible. Therefore, I would suggest that you try keeping your wallet in your front pocket; it is much more difficult and invasive for the pickpocketer to reach. I wouldn’t recommend carrying your passport around with you everyday; instead, you can keep a copy of your passport in your wallet and in your suitcase.
6. In wintertime, zip up your jackets over your purse. You may look like you have gained a few pounds, but you can enjoy your time sightseeing without having to worry that some “tourist” in the museum isn’t more interested in what state your driver’s license is from than the Mona Lisa.
7. On that note, don’t bring your driver’s license with you or any extra credit/debit cards that you don’t need! We have tons of IDs and credit cards that we use in our home country that are useless on a trip. Why bring these with you when there is an opportunity for them to be stolen? Leave them at home or if you forget before your trip…add them to your safe collection.
8. Don’t walk with your phone attached to your hand down a busy thoroughfare. Crowds are the ultimate place to get pickpocketed! If you have both a phone and a camera to take pictures, I would suggest using a camera for taking pictures in more touristy areas. As much as it would hurt to lose all your pictures, losing a cell phone is much bigger of a deal as it holds so much personal information.
9. Wear your crossbody bag backwards with the zipper facing you. It is nearly impossible for someone to reach into your bag and grab something if there is no zippered compartment for them to reach into. Make sure you are keeping everything out of your pockets.
10. Be aware of your surroundings. If you are in a crowded metro, try to forge some personal space for yourself. If you feel someone get too close to you, make sure you are holding tight to your belongings. If you are on a crowded street, speed up or slow down if you see someone walking suspiciously. I know you are seeing incredible sights and its so easy to become distracted but remain vigilant at all times!
What other tips do you have to avoid getting pickpocketed?
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