To begin with, you earned your travel. You worked the hours, it’s yours. Pickpockets love travelers. We’re prime targets because in many cases we are unfamiliar with our surroundings, distracted by the new sites, people watching and unfortunately, insist on carrying valuable items.
Here’s a few tips to even the odds of those who make it a career to let you work for their money:
1. Don’t look like a tourist: what are you wearing? Do you look like a tourist, a wealthy tourist at that? You should blend in and it’s not just how you dress, but the way you act. Don’t bury your nose in your phone while searching for where to go next, where is that street sign, how to get there. You obviously have no idea where you are or what you’re doing.
2. Carry a decoy wallet: if pickpockets are gonna pick, carry a second wallet in your back pockets, purse or bag that’s filled with just enough to make them think it’s your real wallet. Then safely hide your real wallet or at least your cash, credit cards and travel documents.
3. Invest in a money belt. There are some great stretch band money belts out now that are comfortable, come in colors to match your attire and they’re a great way to hide your cash, credit cards and travel documents where thieves cannot see them. Then wear a loose shirt or jacket covering your waist or hips wherever you choose to wear your belt.
4. Avoid walking through huge crowds of people. This isn’t always possible while traveling, but take a few extra steps around when possible, it’s an important consideration. Consider when you commute to attractions and visits sites and use low-traffic hours, or consider alternative (safe) routes. Groups and Tours can attract pickpocketers.
5. Men and women with wallets: put a rubber band around your wallet. It makes it more difficult to slip it out of pockets.
6. Don’t carry an open bag. Use a bag with zippers, lots of knots, buttons can be torn or cut off. Put straps over your head, over your wrists, connected as much as possible. A loose bag is an invitation.
7. Don’t carry all your money in one wallet. Spread it out, a small loss is better than everything lost. Use alternative areas to store a few bills here and there. Avoid carrying a lot of money whenever possible, but when you have to be smart, carry it in different locations.
8. Don’t flash your cash. I see this all the time. You have to sort through a roll of bills for the right change, all the while everyone around you is counting your bills too. Separate-separate, separate. Put 5’s together, 20’s together, keep one’s around the outsides. Try not to show what you have with you.
There are more tricks to traveling safely but start with these and remember you want to be the one who will spend your money, not a complete stranger.
by PJ, Director of Romance
Wild Side Destinations/Destination Weddings.Travel