Essential Tips on How to Outsmart Pickpockets & Thieves

No place is safe for travelers these days. With just a blink of an eye, you’ll be surprised that your purse has been stolen, or your phone has suddenly disappeared from your pocket. Snatching and pickpocketing are rampant especially in places where tourists are skimped into one place.

Thieves/pickpockets usually target people with jobs since their bags are filled with valuable and expensive stuff. Not paying close attention to your belongings and sooner or later your wallet is gone, and the last thing you’ll find is yourself being indignant for the thing that already happened. You’ll be pissed that you have to buy another phone or camera because you’re not being careful in the first place.

Keep in mind that this type of crime is harmless and completely avoidable. Just relax, have fun, and double your guard the next time you travel. Here are a few important tips to help you out.


  • Always Be Prepared

  • Before you fly, there are some things that you should do to minimize the chances of losing your items. Create photocopies of your important documents. Such documents include passports, rail pass, itinerary, prescriptions, and among others. Give backups of these copies to your loved ones at home just in case you lose your own copy while you’re away.
  • Make sure that your gadgets have theft insurance. Such of these include a camera, tablet, smartphones, smartwatches, and more. Take a picture of all of your gadgets and leave them at home just in case the insurance center will ask for one. While traveling, don’t forget to backup all your pics and vids by using cloud services such as Google Drive or OneDrive.
  • Be Cautious

  • Instead of traveling fearfully, how about traveling carefully? Stay alert to your surroundings and make sure that your belongings are secured. Here’s some important advice for you:
  • Instead of putting your money inside your bag, put them inside a money belt that you can wear around your waist. Not just your cash, you can also put your other important belongings here as well.
  • All your expensive gear must be left inside your hotel room. Don’t expose them outside where thieves can easily see and snatch them. Some hotels also have a safe in their rooms if you want extra protection.
  • Whenever you travel, you must always be mindful of your things. Some travelers tend to lose their items more frequently instead of being stolen. So every time you go outside even for just a short walk, take your time to check your belongings. When you unpack your things, don’t put them into odd places inside the room. If you’re inside a diner or a café, don’t put your phone or laptop on the table as it can be easily snatched. Make it a habit to be careful about your important belongings.
  • Your bag is like a thief’s treasure chest so you must secure it wherever you go. If you’re outside, loop a strap to your bag around your arm, leg, or chair leg when sitting down. If you’re sleeping inside the bus, train, or anywhere in public, clip or fasten your bag to the seat or even yourself. Some bags came with zip lockers which can come in useful for extra security. If your bag doesn’t have one, you can use a twist-tie or paper clip to keep your bag zipped tight.
  • If ever you’re caught up in a crowd or commotion, always find a way to stay clear out of it. Situations like these are perfect spots for pickpockets and thieves to steal from you. In train stations, be alert especially upon arrival. Keep your luggage always on hand and don’t leave your bag unattended when you fall in line. All your valuables must be kept inside your money belt for extra protection. When you’re inside the train, be alert whenever there are stops. Thieves can easily steal from you especially when people are rushing towards the exit. Other places where thieves and pickpockets can hunt are subways or bus stops. Whenever you stumble upon these places, always keep physical contact with your bag by wearing it around your chest. Be careful when entering turnstiles, a thief might sneak behind you and run off with your bag, leaving you stuck behind the turnstile which gives them a chance to run away. These types of scenarios aren’t meant to scare you, but to make you prepared and be alert to prevent your belongings from being stolen.

About the author: Virginia J. Waller

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