How to Avoid Thieves When Traveling

Traveling to a foreign city or country can be glamorous, exciting, thrilling… But terrifying? Yes, there may be some butterflies in your stomach from the excitement of going to foreign lands, and that might even feel like terror sometimes, but you might feel a different kind of terror if you are not careful about thieves and pickpockets. The problem with these savvy stealers is that they thrive on people like you, tourists who have no choice but to trust the people around them in a strange city. Looking even slightly like a tourist will make alarms go off in their heads; you might as well be wearing a gigantic neon sign that says, “STEAL ALL MY THINGS!” Knowing what to expect and who to suspect around you will be invaluable information as you prepare to travel to somewhere farther away than the cities that surround your hometown.

You should know that the common stereotype of a pickpocket, the bum on the side of the road, is actually a far cry from what a pickpocket looks like these days. You might assume the offender will be male, but it is safe to say that you should suspect women and children as equally as men when it comes to foreign thievery. They are also very likely to be incredibly skilled at what they do, which is why you must be on your watch at all times. Even if you think you know what to look for, you may still end up being stolen from, and you might end up feeling like it is your fault.

Many pickpockets are smart enough to know that you would suspect anyone foreign, so they dress as tourists with cameras and guidebooks, looking for all the world like they are just like you. Of course, you should not travel with fear in your heart at all times, but do make sure you are very self-aware. Make sure you walk with a purpose. If you keep moving, it will be difficult for a pickpocket to remove something from your bag without you noticing the bag being jostled. You must especially walk quickly if you are in a popular tourist spot. Standing still to take in the sights will make you stick out like a sore thumb, and you will be easily targeted.

If you tend to carry your wallet in your back pocket, don’t! You make yourself an easy target when you carry anything in your back pocket, most especially a wallet. Stash your wallet in your front pocket, where it will be much more noticeable to you if a pickpocket attempts to steal something from your front pocket.

You may want to share your pride in your country by displaying a flag on your backpack or t-shirt, but this singles you out as a tourist so fast you won’t know what happened. Leave the flags at home, as well as anything else that proves you are a tourist. Also, fumbling with foreign money in the middle of the street is one of the worst ideas possible. Get familiar with the foreign currency in your hotel room, or better yet, before you even take your trip.