Being pickpocketed is a sure way to spoil your day. But there are some simple tips and devices you can use to keep your valuables safe and sound.
Here we discuss some basic things you can do to stop pickpocketers and take a look at a few pickpocket-proof items that can help you out.
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How do you stop pickpockets?
Pickpockets are the bane of many a tourist and locals alike. But there are some practical ways you can at least attempt to stop them ruining your day, and holiday for that matter.
The best and simplest way is to not carry anything valuable on you if you can help it. If your passport, phone, credit cards, and cash aren't on your person, they can't be stolen.
But, of course, there are times when you need to carry things with you.
Some simple advice is as follows (credit to artofmanliness.com) : -
Don't keep anything valuable in your backpack.
Don't put anything in the back pocket.
Put locks on your zippers.
Wear the hip belt when you're walking.
Keep bags in front of you when on public transit.
How do you outsmart pickpockets?
As we have already seen, some of the best ways to outsmart pickpocketers are to not carry stuff with you. But, as you are on holiday, you will need spending money and you'll want to take pictures, etc.
There are various tools and devices you can buy to help you out, but ultimately they rely on you to ensure they are effective.
According to sites like ricksteves.com, there are some simple things you can do to help prevent pickpocketers from separating you from your valuables.
- Leave really valuable things in your hotel room safe - Not to labor the point too much, but stash your valuables in a secure place, like a safe, in your hotel room.
- Establish a "don't lose it" state of mind - Most holidaymakers simply lose or forget stuff rather than having it stolen. Leaving passports under pillows or leaving a camera in a taxi are common events. Try to get into the habit of checking places you've stayed for stuff you might have left behind.
- Keep your bag secure - "Thieves want to quickly and unobtrusively separate you from your valuables, so even a minor obstacle can be an effective deterrent. If you’re sitting down to eat or rest, loop a strap of your daypack around your arm, leg, or chair leg. "
- Stay vigilant and stay away from big crowds and commotion - Whenever you hear commotion when out and about, chances are it's intended to be a smokescreen to distract you. Steer clear of them, and large crowds for that matter, if at all possible.
Just make sure you are fully aware of your surroundings and trust your gut.
How do I stop pickpocketing in Europe?
"Europe is safe when it comes to violent crime. But it’s very “dangerous” in terms of petty theft: Purse-snatching and pickpocketing are rampant in places where tourists gather. Thieves target Americans — not because they’re mean, but because they’re smart. Americans have all the good stuff in their bags and wallets. Loaded down with valuables, jetlagged, and bumbling around in a strange new environment, we stick out like jeweled thumbs. If I were a European street thief, I’d specialize in Americans — my card would say 'Yanks R Us.'" - ricksteves.com.
By following any of the plethoras of advice online, and here in our article, you will at least have some chance of avoiding being pickpocketed in Europe.
The main takeaway should be to make sure you are prepared before you go. Whilst on holiday stay alert when out and about and keep your valuables on you at all times.
5 essential items pickpocket-proof items
Here are 5 examples of items and devices you might want to consider getting yourself before traveling. Of course, these are just suggestions and this list is not exhaustive nor comprehensive.
1. Consider using pocket clips
In order to prevent pickpocketers from taking your valuable items, you might want to consider getting some trouser/pants with zipper pockets and pocket clips. These clips can either be inside or outside each pocket, and they should have a small internal plastic, or metal, D-ring that you can attach another item too.
You can clip pretty much anything to these but should prioritize your wallet, phone, and other valuables. If you can't find any to buy you might want to "modify" some of your old clothes to provide the same anti-pickpocketer solution.
Or you could hang some other ones of the trouser belt loops.
2. How about hiding stuff in your socks?
Another effective anti-pickpocket item is zippered socks. With these, you can stash your cash in the last place they might think of looking.
One good example is the Zip-It Everyday Travel Socks which are actually pretty comfortable to wear too, by all accounts. Each pair of these socks comes with fairly big pocket large enough to carry cash and some plastic cards.
"The pocket is high enough that the contents don’t come in contact with the ankle joint or interfere with the movement of my foot. The elasticized band is effective at keeping things in place. " - packinglighttravel.com.
3. Track your stolen stuff should the worst happen
With all the will in the world, you may still find you become a victim of theft. To at least try to recover your valuable items you might want to consider fitting bags and other large items with a tracking device.
One example is the Lugloc Tracking device that offers worldwide tracking of lost or stolen bags and luggage. The device is Bluetooth equipped and can integrate with your smartphone via an app.
This clever little device is actually TSA approved and its batteries can last for an amazing 2 weeks.
4. Hide your money in plain sight with a belt wallet
Sadly pickpocketers are pretty quick to pick up on new anti-theft devices, but they may not expect this one. For carrying around a small amount of cash on holidays safely, you could consider getting yourself a belt-wallet.
One prime example comes from PacSafe Cashsafe Travel Belt and it is a completely metal-free belt. This means you can easily walk through metal detectors without having to remove it - especially at airports, etc.
It looks pretty neat and comes with an in-built, tamperproof money packet on the inside of the belt.
5. Why not get yourself an anti-theft bag
There is a wide range of anti-theft bags on the market. But they all have some common features.
A good one will tend to have tamperproof zippers on the outside and will usually have cross-body straps. Some of them are also slash-resistant to prevent would-be pickpockets bypassing any security features, and just cutting the bag open instead.
Higher-end models also come with RFID blocking compartments so you can safely stow your cards or passport.