5 Tips for Avoiding Pickpockets
It may not be possible for tourists and travellers to entirely avoid pickpockets, but if you follow these tips, you can make their job a lot harder.
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I’m sure most travellers would agree that being robbed could definitely put a damper on your trip. It happens to the best of us, though. And while there is no way to avoid pickpockets entirely, you can help eliminate the chances of your most prized possessions being stolen from right under your nose by following these tips.
1. Don’t Ignore Your Surroundings
Travellers can get robbed in any city around the world, but some places have higher crime rates. Before heading to Bogota, I was warned repeatedly that I would be robbed. I never was—and perhaps this is because I assessed the situation, knowing there was a higher-than-average risk. I listened to my gut and left my expensive camera at home.
2. Understand the Risks
I recently met another travel blogger who offered a different perspective about theft on the road. I asked him if he was ever nervous about losing his camera equipment. He said that when he made the investment, he knew there was a high probability of it being stolen. This is a realistic perspective to keep in mind.
3. Try to Blend In
When travelling to certain destinations, passing for a local may not be entirely possible, but you can at least control how you dress. Avoiding stereotypical tourist clothing and opting for purses that wrap across your body are good starting points. Zipping your pickets won’t stop pickpockets, but it may discourage them.
4. When in Rome…
When I travel, I tend to take cues from the locals around me—and that doesn’t just apply to what people are wearing. For example, if nobody is talking on the train, I also stay quiet. A lot of times, the most obvious signals are right in front of us, but for whatever reason, we choose to ignore them. It’s best to follow the old slogan, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” to avoid unwanted attention and stay out of harm’s way. If you do see suspicious behaviour, calmly remove yourself from the situation as fast as you can.
5. Think Like a Thief
Perhaps the most effective way to avoid being pickpocketed is to think like a thief. It’s easier to steal a wallet if it’s placed loosely in the back pocket of your jeans than if it’s inside your purse or jacket. Grabbing your wallet from a backpack is easier than stealing it from the front of your body. A purse hanging casually over the back of a chair is like a red flag to a bull. Think about what makes something easy to steal, and foil a would-be pickpocket before he or she gets a chance.
Here’s more (light-hearted) insight into pickpockets:
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