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how to avoid pickpockets while travelling

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How do you prevent pickpocketing?

It’s not uncommon for pickpockets to cause a commotion on purpose — some even going so far as to throw you their baby to hold while they pick your pockets. The best way to avoid becoming the victim of this is to utilize the above anti pickpocketing clothing mentioned so your valuables are out of sight and zipped up tight!

Are pickpockets watching you when you travel?

Pickpockets are watching and will notice you before you notice them. There’s no need to be paranoid, but use common sense anytime you are traveling. Be aware of your valuables, yourself, and your surroundings.

How to protect your wallet from pickpockets?

Your solution is to carry your wallet in your front pocket or use a travel bag constructed with hidden anti-slash material. Use a Money Belt to Stop Pickpockets This is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to lower the impact of a pickpocket. Use a money belt to keep your passport, extra credit cards and cash safe and out of sight.

What are some examples of pickpocketing?

For example, if you’re in a crowded area like a train platform or on a bus, pickpockets might try to do the crush and grab, where they take advantage of your discomfort and grab something from your bag.

What to do after reading a pickpocket sign?

After reading a “Beware of Pickpockets” sign, it’s natural to check where your valuables are stored to be sure they’re safe. Don’t do this. Pickpockets are watching in these areas, and touching your pocket directs them to the exact spot you’re keeping your things.

Why do you put rubber bands around your wallet?

Wrap a rubberband around your wallet to cause some friction should a thief try to yank it from your pocket. This will buy you a little extra time to catch them in the act, or cause them to give up on robbing you entirely.

Why is the back pocket called the sucker pocket?

The back pocket is known as the “ sucker pocket ,” because anyone who keeps their goods there and thinks they won’t have it stolen is in for a rude awakening.

How to keep phone in purse?

At a restaurant, keep your purse in your lap and your phone in an interior bag or coat pocket to thwart sticky fingers. You can also loop the bag’s strap around the leg of your chair so it can’t be easily snatched. For extra security, use a retractable cable lock to secure the bag’s straps to your seat’s arm rest or to the luggage rack while you’re on a train (especially on overnight trips).

What to do if you don’t have a scanner?

If you don’t have a scanner, use an app like Genius Scan to scan your IDs and save them on your phone and in your cloud storage drive just in case. If either of your IDs are stolen, you may be delayed in getting home, but the process will be smoother if you have proof of the stolen documents on hand.

How to secure luggage on train?

For extra security, use a retractable cable lock to secure the bag’s straps to your seat’s arm rest or to the luggage rack while you’re on a train (especially on overnight trips). Promise yourself that you won’t lose anything. Make yourself a promise that you won’t lose anything on a vacation.

What to do before leaving for a trip?

Before you leave for a trip, email yourself your credit and debit card information and the international toll-free service numbers for each card to call in case you’re a victim of theft. You’ll be able to cancel the cards before a thief can do too much damage to your account.

How to keep out pickpockets?

If you are a woman , only travel with purses that close with a single, central zipper (single entry point) or travel security purse that has built-in security features that keep out the hands of pickpockets. Travel purses or handbags like these are great . If you carry a regular, not security travel purse make sure it is carried with the zipper facing front and directly under your arm where an eye can be kept on it. Mini backpacks or purses that are open on top? Targets. If you have a flap on your purse or messenger bag, make sure it’s close against your body and not facing outwards. If you do decide to carry a daypack, consider a security daypack such as one of these which have built-in security zippers so pickpocket can’t get into the rear zippered compartments when you wear it in a crowd.

Why do pickpockets call the back pocket of pants the suckers pocket?

Pickpockets call the back pocket of a man’s pants the “sucker pocket” for a reason – it is the easiest to get into and remove a wallet. When possible use your front pocket to hold your wallet, as possibly consider carrying a special wallet designed with a material that is hard to remove without your knowledge. If you have your heart set on keeping your wallet in your back pocket, you should understand how thieves remove wallets from them, then take a few countermeasures.

Why do people come out the other side lighter than they went in?

When walking through a crowd of people there will be lots of bumping and physical contact , you might come out the other side lighter than you went in. If you stop to watch a street performer be aware of your personal items because a large group of distracted people is like a buffet for pickpockets. If your wallet is in your front pocket then put your hand in there for additional security.

What does the flag on a backpack mean?

Many individuals, particularly those from the US, display the flag on their backpack, luggage, and even on their t-shirts. This tells them that you are visiting the city as a tourist. Do not get singled out in any way. Remember, the pickpockets are looking for these signals to identify their victims.

What to do if you suspect a pickpocket?

If you suspect you are being followed /targeted by a pickpocket, change directions, stop and go in a different direction. Enter into the nearest shop for a few minutes to collect yourself and perhaps to make them lose interest. Pickpockets love train stations, bus stations, and subways because people entering and exiting them are very concentrated on getting to their next destination, and their paths are obvious.

What do scruffy women do in Spain?

In Spain, scruffy women offer you sprigs of rosemary (a token of friendship), and then grab your hand, read your fortune, and demand payment. Don’t make eye contact, don’t accept a sprig, and say firmly but politely, “No, gracias .”

How to be alert when using a cash machine?

Whenever cash is involved, it pays to be alert. If someone offers to help you use a cash machine, politely refuse (the person wants your PIN code). If a cash machine eats your ATM card, check for a thin plastic insert with a little flap hanging out — crooks use tweezers to extract your card. Cashiers, and even bank tellers, thrive on the “slow count,” dealing out change with odd pauses in hopes that rushed tourists will gather up the money early and say “ Grazie .” Also, be careful when paying with large bills in restaurants and stores, and always inspect your change — in Italy, the old 500-lira coins (worth nothing) look like 2-euro coins (worth nearly $3).

2. Only Keep The Money You Need For The Day With You

One of the best ways to avoid pickpockets is to be one step ahead of the pickpocket. Have a plan and know what you are doing for the day. Know the exact amount of money you need for tickets, food, activities, and other expenses. Keep that amount of cash on you and nothing else. Also, NEVER carry a debit card on you.

4. When Carrying Cash, Keep Your Money In A Bag In The Front Of You That Has A Zipper

When you are carrying valuables with you, be very aware of what type of bags you are storing your belongings in. There are many different types of bags you can choose from like under-the-shirt pockets, fanny packs, or money belts. How to avoid pickpockets has a lot to do with the type of bag you choose to carry.

6. Be Cute, But NOT Flashy

The more you can blend in with your surroundings, the less targeted you will be from people who are looking to pickpocket tourists. If you are traveling somewhere that is known for pickpocketing, avoid flashy designer clothes or expensive jewelry.

7. Transport Your Valuables With You In Your Carry On

I have had things stolen out of my luggage many times and there is nothing more frustrating. One time I had a brand new coat and few clothes stolen right out of my checked luggage. But I learned my lesson: all the clothing items with tags were stolen. That same trip, my sister had brand new, unpackaged makeup stolen out of her luggage.

8. Street Scam Techniques

One of the best ways to avoid pickpockets is to understand street scam techniques. Street scammers can be very sneaky. When Cole and I were in Paris, a group of college age kids came up to us and asked us to sign a petition for starving children in Africa.

10. Be ATM Smart To Avoid Pickpockets

Try to withdraw and exchange your money BEFORE you leave on your trip – it tends to be a lot easier and a LOT cheaper. Do a quick google search for exchange rates and contact your local bank and exchange your money before you depart. But I get it, things come up when traveling and you may have to use an ATM while abroad.

11. Be Aware

Be aware of your surroundings! Know the sketchy areas of the place you are visiting and steer clear. Understand that you are at more of a risk of pickpocketing in touristy or busy areas. Listen to your gut if you feel threatened or uncomfortable and in those situations, don’t feel obligated to be nice.

How many pickpocket proof bags are there?

Good news: there is an entire line of over 60 backpacks, purses and other pickpocket proof bags made just for people wanting to keep their valuables safe from thieves. Personally, I’m a fan of their super comforable 25-liter daypack.

How to protect your jewelry from thieves?

Leave your valuables at home. My rule of thumb: if you’d be devestated you lost it, don’t pack it. The best way to ensure thieves don’t get their hands on your diamond engagement ring or grandma’s pearl earrings is to leave them home — not in the hotel room, but in your actual home — in a secure place.

What is a speakeasy travel supply?

In terms of accessories, Speakeasy Travel Supply makes gorgeous hand-made scarves with hidden pockets that even fit your passport.

What does Colombia say about papaya?

In Colombia, they have a saying: “Don’t give papaya.”

Can pickpockets cause commotion?

Be aware of “random” distractions. It’s not uncommon for pickpockets to cause a commotion on purpose — some even going so far as to throw you their baby to hold while they pick your pockets. The best way to avoid becoming the victim of this is to utilize the above anti pickpocketing clothing mentioned so your valuables are out of sight and zipped up tight!

Can you get pickpocketed anywhere?

Of course, you can get pickpocketed anywhere.

Where was the man who held a small tray of cigarettes and gum?

In Cartagena, there was a man who held a small tray of cigarettes and gum.

How to keep your wallet in a purse?

If you use a purse, never put your wallet in it. Instead, keep it in a pocket that’s buttoned or zippered, and make sure there’s no bulge. However, you still need to protect your purse and the valuables inside. Wear your purse strap diagonally, and if you’re using a handbag, position it at the front of your body.

How do pickpockets work?

One trick pickpockets use takes place in narrow locations, such as the entrances to escalators. One team member distracts you by starting to get on the escalator ahead of you, changes his mind, and bumps into you as he steps off the escalator or out of the line for the escalator. Meanwhile, the second team member picks your pocket. Outfox them by strategic placement of your valuables.

How to be aware of people watching you?

Of course, to be aware of people watching you, you must know your environment. If you’re entering an enclosed space, take in what’s around you — and who’s around you. Keep an eye out for people who appear to be overly interested in you.

How to be unpredictable?

If you believe someone is watching you with an eye to steal your valuables, turn to unpredictability. Go into a store for a break of a few minutes, reverse directions or move to the other side of the street. Of course, to be aware of people watching you, you must know your environment.

Where do pickpockets operate?

However, the reality is that pickpockets operate everywhere, including in the United States. They operate in Washington, D.C.,

Do pickpockets like zippered pockets?

Pickpockets don’t like buttoned or zippered pockets, particularly if they’re front trouser pockets, so those are good choices to stow your valuables. In any case, bring out only what you’re comfortable losing; leave everything else in your accommodations.

Do pickpockets use hugs?

However, the hug may not be as sweet as it appears; pickpockets often use hugs to rid you of a little weight. No one likes to be mean, but you want to keep your valuables. Step away if someone’s coming for you with a hug in mind.

Choose a good bag

When it comes to avoiding pickpocketing, some types of bags work in your favor more than others.

Organizing your bag

Having a good bag doesn’t entirely solve the problem, there’s also a knack to organizing your bag.

Split up your money

If you are traveling and will have a bit of cash on you, don’t hold it all in the one place.

Protect your personal space

This is kind of obvious, but pickpockets can only get your stuff if they can get close to you.

Why do women love purses?

Ladies, we love our purses because they make it easy to stash our favorite things away, but purses are the perfect items to be snatched by thieves. Adjust your purse so that it is in front of you, especially when in crowded areas. I often will keep my hand on my bag when surrounded by lots of other people.

What are some examples of scams?

Common scam examples: Someone approaches you with a wallet asking if it is yours because they found it. As you are searching for your wallet on yourself, someone nearby is watching to see where you’re keeping it. They will then pluck it off you later when you’re distracted or in a crowded area.

Why do people use bags when traveling?

These bags are designed to deter thieves and put the consumer at ease when traveling with valuables.

How to spot a tourist?

The easiest way to spot a tourist is to look for someone who doesn’t quite know where they’re going. They’re looking at their phone and their surroundings, confusion is strewn across their face, pickpockets know it’s probably someone who isn’t from the area.

Where to stash your wallet if you don’t have a bag?

If you don’t have a bag to stash your wallet, phone, or keys, keep them in your front pockets where they’re less likely to be stolen.

What to wear when you don’t want to be a tourist?

If you don’t want to risk looking like a tourist, try to dress like the locals. Wearing basketball shorts and a hoodie when everyone wears business casual wear is a sure way to be spotted as someone who just doesn’t belong.

Did thieves walk by in Barcelona?

In Barcelona, we were told not to have our phones sitting out on the table. Thieves were known to walk by and swipe them right in front of everyone.

How to secure your bag when traveling?

If you’re sitting down to eat or rest, loop your daypack strap around your arm, leg, or chair leg . If you plan to sleep on a train (or anywhere in public), clip or fasten your pack or suitcase to the seat, luggage rack, or yourself. Most zippers are lockable, and even a twist-tie, paper clip, or key ring is helpful to keep your bag zipped up tight. The point isn’t to make your bag impenetrable, but harder to get into than the next guy’s.

What is a money belt?

A money belt is a small, zippered fabric pouch on an elastic strap that fastens around your waist, under your pants or skirt. I never travel without one — it’s where I put anything I really, really don’t want to lose. Leave valuables in your hotel room.

How to minimize the risk of leaving something behind?

One way to minimize this risk is to keep valuable devices attached to you or your bag (this also reduces the chance of accidentally leaving something behind). For instance, make sure your camera strap is looped around your chest or wrist, even when snapping a photo. Or use a lanyard to attach gadgets to your daypack (if there’s no interior attachment point, feed straps through zipper pulls or a sturdy safety pin hooked to the inside of your bag).

How to keep valuables safe?

Be discreet with your hiding places. If you’re keeping valuables anywhere but a money belt or other secure pocket (I wouldn’t), be as circumspect as possible. Thieves can easily identify the easiest mark — most likely the guy whose back pocket bulges out or the woman who keeps patting her bag to check that her money is still there.

How to protect your hotel room from theft?

Leave valuables in your hotel room. Expensive gear, such as your laptop, is much safer in your room than with you in a day bag on the streets. While hotels often have safes in the room (or at the front desk), I’ve never bothered to use one, though many find them a source of great comfort. (Some travelers leave their passports secured in the room safe while out for the day.) Theft from hotel rooms happens, of course, but it’s relatively rare — hoteliers are quick to squelch a pattern of theft. That said, don’t tempt sticky-fingered staff by leaving a camera or tablet in plain view; tuck your enticing things well out of sight. You can also leave your room key at the front desk of many hotels while you’re off exploring, so it’s less likely to get lost or stolen.

What to do if you get ripped off?

If it happens to you, it’s best to get over it. You’re well-off enough to travel, and thieves aren’t. You let your guard down and they grabbed your camera. It ruins your day and you have to buy a new one, while they sell it for a week’s wages on their scale. If a thief has robbed you of your belongings, don’t let them rob you any further by allowing the loss to ruin your entire trip. (See my tips for handling the loss of critical items .)

Why do thieves target vacationers?

Thieves target vacationers — not because they’re mean, but because they’re smart. We’re the ones with all the good stuff in our bags and wallets. Loaded down with valuables, jetlagged, and bumbling around in a strange new environment, we stick out like jeweled thumbs. If I were a European street thief, I’d specialize in Americans — my card would say "Yanks R Us."