Life is always going to be full of risk and it’s easy to equate travel to risk, especially when it comes to being safe. The world seems like it is a huge and scary place, but it doesn’t have to be! It can be a place where you feel as safe as you do in your living room. Nevertheless, things happen that we cannot control or see coming. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use tricks to prevent them in the first place.
One of the scariest threats on the road is the one you can’t see coming – or feel for that matter. Pickpockets are masters of stealing wallets and other valuables that we carry. Many of them work in teams to distract potential prey and they only go for the easiest targets. Here is how you can avoid them by making sure that you’re not the easiest tourist to steal from!
1. Using locks on your bag/full mesh cover
I’m obsessed with keeping my items as safe as possible on the road. Due to my obsession, I went out and bought some small locks that work perfectly for latching two zippers together on a bag pack. Another method I suggest for added safety, if you’re staying at a place where you cannot store you bag safely, is to buy a mesh cage from Pacsafe or other travel safety companies. The mesh cage wraps around the bag and locks to anything you can fit the cord around.
2. Turn your wallet so that the wide part is facing down
By laying the wide side of your wallet flat, it keeps the wallet pushed farther down inside of your pocket and looks less appetizing to a pickpocket than another nearby tourist who has their wallet long side down. The wallet is going to stick out less and make the pickpocket have to reach farther inside of your pocket to pull it out.
3. Have a button on your pocket
I always buy my pants with a button attached to the back pockets. This makes the pickpocket take another daring step to reach the gold and will help deter even the most skilled criminals.
4. Don’t wear flashy clothing
Unless you are going to a nice restaurant or a special event, anything more than a T-shirt is not required. Flashy clothing sticks out among the crowd and makes you look like you have more money on you than the rest of the crowd, making you a tasty target. Keep it simple and comfortable.
5. Always keep a little extra money hidden
In the case that you do get pick pocketed, or even in the case that your credit card stops working, it’s good to have some extra money somewhere. You can store this money in a hidden compartment in your bag, such as an inside flap, or back at the hotel. I have a pocket under the top of my 64 liter travel pack where I like to put my extra money and passport, since there is no way for the pickpocket to get to it discreetly while I’m walking through town.
6. Only put a little money in your wallet/purse and the rest elsewhere
This is a hard habit to form, but a good one and it ties nicely to the last tip. Try to keep only what you can afford to lose in your wallet at one time, this way if someone takes your wallet, you still have your extra cash that’s hidden and safe, to get you through your trip.
These are the travel safety tips I follow to avoid pick pockets while I’m on the road. You can never be too safe, and they will help keep your mind at ease and your wallet in place. Avoiding pick pockets is rather simple and as long as you’re not carrying anything expensive on your person or making yourself stand-out, you’ll be fine!