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One of the things that travelers worry about most is pickpockets and we recently heard from a reader who was the victim of one.
She had her money and credit cards stolen while traveling. It was not a happy scenario but she managed to get things straightened away and move on with her trip.
None of us need this type of problem.
Fortunately there are things you can do to protect yourself and your valuables from pickpockets. Here they are.
Tops Tips to Protect Yourself from Pickpockets
- Take precautions before you leave. Just in case, despite all the tips below, you still fall prey to a pickpocket make sure that you have:
- Copies of your travel itinerary, passport, visa, vaccination documents, credit cards, debit cards and bank information on you, with a friend at home and in the cloud.
- Have insurance against theft should it be your phone or other item that goes missing. Read Going Alone? Travel Insurance is a Must.
- Take a photo of your expensive gear before you leave in case you need to make a claim.
- Stash your cash in multiple places. Make sure that you carry your money in multiple safe places on your person. One might be in an belt that holds money.
- Beware of crowded places. Markets, train stations, large public events… these are the types of places that pickpockets love. Your purse should have a flap and a zipper. If you carry a daypack, wear it on your front rather than your back in these places. If you insist on carrying a wallet in your pocket, it should be a front pocket not in the back.
- Be careful around warning signs about pickpockets. If you see a sign in a public place warning you about pickpockets DO NOT touch your pocket to check on your valuables. Pickpockets hang out in such places waiting for innocent people to point out where their wallet is.
- Keep your priority items to a minimum. I check for my most important items every time I stand up to move on. These are my wallet, phone and passport. That's it. If I forget something else it's not that important.
- Always look back. Whenever you've paused for a coffee, in a restaurant, on a park bench… I always look back at where you were seated before moving on. This can save you a lot of worry and backtracking looking for forgotten items.
- Anchor your purse or pack. Many tourists have lost a pack or purse off the back of a restaurant chair. Loop a strap through the leg of the chair, keep it on your lap or squeezed between you and a companion, whatever will keep it safe.
- Use an RFID blocking wallet. I hardly use cash now when I travel. I put as much as I can on my credit card. Ah but what about identity theft. That's where an RFID blocking wallet is useful. RFID skimming is where, with the right technology, a person near you can gather data from your credit cards without your knowledge. There's a bit of a debate about them but there's no harm erring on the side of safety. Such wallets are available in hard-shell card holders and leather wallets.
- Wear pickpocket-proof clothing. Pants with zippered pockets inside of pockets, bras with stash pockets for credit cards, jackets with inside pockets are all great places to keep cash. Here's a link to Amazon's many pickpocket proof items.
- Use a money belt or neck stash. I use these sometimes but certainly not always. However, it does keep your valuables out of site and hard to get at. Again, RFID protection is a good idea. Here are a money belt and a neck stash to consider.
- Keep spare cash where no one would suspect to find it. This is a tip from Journeywoman. Roll a few bills and put them in an almost empty pill jar so that the bottle still makes a noise when shaken. If anyone ever rifles through your things they won't think that you have money there.