How to pack with pickpockets in mind

Rolling carry on luggage makes travel easier; money belts, security belts, travel pouches, neck wallets, security wallets etc. make travel safer.

On September 14th TripAdvisor pointed out the 10 worst places for pickpockets. I’ve experience with pickpockets in only one of them, Rome, Italy. While taking a train from the Colosseum back to the main train station – standing room only – hanging on to one of the straps installed for that purpose, just before the final stop, someone swiped my cousin’s wallet from his back pocket. He noticed it immediately, but the culprit had already disappeared in the crowd leaving the train. My cousin was not well prepared for such an occurrence. Had he planned ahead, he could have saved himself a lot of grief. As it was, we spent hours at the police station, all documents in his wallet had to be replaced and his money was gone.

How do you plan for such an event? Actually you should consider two questions:

 How do I try to prevent it from happening in the first place?
 How can I make it the least troublesome, if it should happen?

Here are my suggestions:

1) Leave everything you cannot bear to lose at home. This will also help you keep your luggage to a minimum.

2) Before you leave home, make copies of all important documents, which you will have with you. Leave one copy with a trusted person at home, and take another copy with you, stored separately from other documents.

3) Bring a set of extra passport photos with you, just in case you do need to replace important documents, and don’t forget to bring emergency contact numbers.

4) Divide your valuables. Don’t keep cash and credit cards together. If you keep your cash safely pinned in one pocket or money belt and credit cards in another, chances are you won’t lose everything at once. Speaking of pinning items inside pockets, take along an extra set of safety pins.

5) Pack as few things as possible. You will not have to carry more than you can handle, and it is easier to keep an eye on your belongings.

6) Try not to look like a tourist. The more you fit in with the locals, the smaller the chance that you’ll be targeted. Buy something in a local grocery store or drug store and use their bag to carry some items.

7) Never keep your wallet in your rear pocket. Never pay by showing a wad of cash.

8) Avoid getting into confrontations with anyone. Stay in areas that are populated and well lit. Don’t take shortcuts down alleyways.

9) Don’t listen to sob stories. Even people who seem to be no threat can be scam artists. That includes women with babies, children alone, even other tourists.

10) Watch out for tag team distractions. Always have your guard up when someone asks directions, accidentally spills something on you or other such diversions, while a partner steals from you or cuts your purse straps.

Following the above advice will protect you from having your holiday spoiled by events, which can leave you stranded in foreign surroundings.
Finally, there are products on the market, which are an added protection against theft: Money belts, security belts, travel pouches, neck wallets, security wallets etc. Consider that you may occasionally fall asleep. Therefore, never forget the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared.
And just in case you’d like to know the 10 worst cities for pickpockets, here they are in order:

1) Barcelona, Spain
2) Rome, Italy
3) Prague, Czech Republic
4) Madrid, Spain
5) Paris, France
6) Florence, Italy
7) Buenos Aires, Argentina
8) Amsterdam, Netherlands
9) Athens, Greece
10) Hanoi, Vietnam

No comments:

Post a Comment

More wished for products in travel accessories