Crime is everywhere and you should never let your guard down – even when you travel. A lot of people are in the mindset that when they’re on vacation they’re invincible from crime – but not so much.
Recently when we were in Barcelona to catch a cruise ship, a couple took the public transportation from the airport to the cruise pier. When they got the cruise pier, they noticed they were both robbed blind with both of their wallets stolen. This couple embarked on a nine-night cruise with 2,000 euro less than they started with. While this story is upsetting, it could have been avoided.
This isn’t just limited to Europe though, I’ve seen pickpockets in Central America, the Caribbean and even here in North America.
Here are 6 ways to avoid pickpocketing:
1. Pack early. It all starts before your trip even starts. Give yourself plenty of time to pack and don’t wait last minute. Waiting last minute will cause you to be rushed and you can forget some of your essential gear.
2. Don’t be flashy. Keep your Rolex and your big wedding rock at the house. Dress for comfort, not to impress. The more attention you lure to yourself, the more prone you are to be a victim of pickpockets.
3. Invest in gear. There are pickpocket proof pants, the Spibelt, money cases and slash proof bags. Look at all the gear available and remember that a little investment could save you big bucks in the long run.
Tip: Also consider investing in a guidebook about the location you’re going to be visiting. They are very good at telling you what to expect, what scams are running and what areas to be extra careful.
4. Stay away from commotion. Steer away from anything that screams commotion or crowd. A big pickpocket tactic is to get everyone together and rob them blind. The first sign you see of overcrowding, slowly back off.
Tip: Pickpocketers come in every shape and size. Don’t just assume because it’s a little old lady or young kid that you’re safe. In Central America they aren’t limited to one type of person, nor should they be anywhere.
5. Distribute currency. Don’t keep all your currency in one place. If two of you are traveling, consider keeping half and half. Better yet, if you have the pickpocket proof pants or backpack, consider distributing evenly between your person and the gear. If trouble strikes, you won’t be out as much.
6. Take only what you need. When you are going out and about only take what you need for your night out. Leave all important travel documents, credit cards, jewelry and some cash in the safe back in the room.
7. Get trip insurance. According to CEO Dan Skilken of TripInsurance.com, “Most travel insurance policies offer partial coverage for baggage and personal belongings. Most policies have coverage limits that will provide secondary coverage if a common carrier loses your bag. Check your homeowner’s policy because it will often provide you additional coverage for your personal effects if they are stolen on the road. Many policies sold on TripInsurance.com will cover the cost of replacing your travel documents if they are stolen. Our 24/7 travel support hotline can help you replace travel documents if you do lose them.”
I didn’t write this to scare you out of traveling, but to be safe. As long as you have your bases covered and stay alert to your surroundings you’ll be fine.
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