One of the foremost security worries in the minds of most travelers is pickpockets. Gone are the days when pickpockets would bump into you and make off with your valuables. These days, they’ve become so resourceful that you don’t see them coming.
Today, with the role of technology, pickpockets have gone digital. Imagine being on holiday and suddenly realizing that your data has been hijacked. It happened to a friend of mine.
His passport data was stolen and used in committing a crime. It was a nightmare. He couldn’t leave the country until the police determined that it was truly identity theft.
Losing your cash and cards while abroad is one of the worst things that could happen to anyone. And if your personal data is stolen and used for fraud, try talking your way out of that one; especially if this happens in a country with a corrupt law enforcement system.
Thankfully, there are things that you can do to avoid getting your data or valuables stolen by thieves.
- Take Special Care Before You Leave on Your Trip
No matter how careful you are or how attentive you are to security advice, you will need to take certain steps to keep your property safe.
Make copies of your itinerary, visa, passport, credit cards, debit cards, and vaccination cards. Store the data in a cloud storage space or with a friend back at home. If you do lose any of these documents, it’ll be easy to get access to your cloud storage and retrieve the documents. With copies available, it’ll be easier to get some institutions to help you.
Another thing you can do to stay safe is to take out insurance against theft or loss of valuables. Most travelers never see the point in taking out insurance, but this is necessary as it will save you a lot of money if you experience a loss. The cost of travel insurance is so much lower than what it’ll cost you to replace any lost valuables or the inconvenience that the experience will cost you.
Take photos of all your expensive gear. Some insurance companies will ask for pictures in order to settle a claim. Also, a photo of your valuables might come in handy when you report them missing.
- Keep Your Cards and Cash in Different Locations
I know that some people will disagree with this tip, but keeping your cash separate from your cards is a great way to stay safe just in case. If a pickpocket strikes, you won’t be totally stranded.
- Beware of Crowded Places
Places like stations, restaurants, large public areas, etc., are all high-risk locations. These are the kinds of places that pickpockets love to operate. When you are in public, be careful.
Carry a daypack or purse with a flap and zipper. This is safer because pickpockets cannot easily remove the flap and unzip your carrier. You should also place your wallet in front and not behind.
- Beware of Pickpocket Warning Signs
In some places, you will come across signs letting you know of the possibility of pickpockets. If you see such signs, don’t try to reach for your valuables.
It’s sort of like a reverse psychology. Pickpockets hang around watching people panic at the sight of the sign – and when people panic, the first thing they do is reach for their valuables. This shows the pickpocket exactly where your valuables are located, making it easier for you to become a victim.
- Travel with an RFID Blocking Wallet
An RFID is a device that’s embedded in all credit cards and passports. RFID devices are now used by digital thieves to capture your personal data. But if you travel with an RFID blocking wallet, purse, or pack, this will be impossible. A brand called Kinzd produces the RFID slim wallets that can meet your need.
- Keep Your Valuables to a Minimum When You Travel
When you’re on-the-go, it is common practice to check if you’ve got everything together. This is bad practice because pickpockets are always around. Keep the number of valuable items you carry to a minimum while you’re in public. Personally, I limit mine to a phone and wallet. If you must carry a tablet or iPad, keep it safe in your backpack.
- Look Around and Be Aware
I’m not asking you to become a detective or to become suspicious of everybody around you. It is important, however, to be aware of your surroundings. You may be surprised to spot a pickpocket who has followed you for a few blocks.
Whenever you take a break for coffee or a sandwich, look out for your valuables and make sure they are intact before leaving.
- Anchor Your Bag or Backpack
Most times, travelers lose their purses and packs because they are not secured properly. When you sit down at a restaurant, place your carrier securely with an extra loop. This way, it’ll be harder to pull off the chair.
- Wear Pickpocket-Proof Clothing
I bet you think that there’s no such thing as pickpocket-proof clothing, but you’re wrong. Wear pants or trousers with zippers, underwear with slots, etc. The thing to remember is that your apparel must be comfortable and easily accessible. You should be able to reach your EDC while on the go. Items like your wallet and your credit cards should be inside a zipped jacket pocket within reach.
- Use a Money Belt or Neck Wallet
These come in really handy sometimes. A lot of people find them to be very uncomfortable, however, a neck wallet will keep your valuables safe. Most importantly, it will be hard for a pickpocket to reach these safety storage areas. Also, you can place your RFID protection wallet inside your money belt or neck wallet.
- Keep Spare Cash at Your Hotel
This tip is completely different from storing your card and cash in different places. For this tip, you just need to keep some cash in your hotel just in case you get stuck outside. A few bills will do just fine and you can rest assured that if you do get stranded, you can simply take a cab back to your hotel.