Pickpockets and other types of opportunists have found clever ways to rob travellers of their belongings and money. This is true in pretty much every country in the world. A friend of mine was once robbed by a group of 10-year old girls who distracted her and got away with $300. It is very important to keep yourself and your belongings safe when you are traveling. Tourists are hot targets. Here’s what you should do:
1. Don’t get distracted
A popular trick is to hold a piece of cardboard or paper up that obscures your belongings so they can take it. Be aware of this trick and make sure that you shove the paper or cardboard away. They also use other tricks like begging or shows and while you are paying attention to one person, one or more is busy stealing your stuff right off your body.
2. Protect your laptop
Many travellers depend on their laptops for work or for keeping contact with family and friends. It is a very valuable item especially if your work is on it. Put a laptop lock on it, make sure it is secure and possibly hidden if left in your hotel room and be careful with the type of bag you carry it in. If people don’t know it’s a laptop, they won’t want to steal it.
3. Keep your money safe
Whether you think it is fashionable or not, a travel wallet or money bag that straps to your body is the best option. You can keep them out of sight and reduce the chances of being robbed. In case you do get targeted, have your credit card numbers and telephone numbers to cancel them nearby so you can stop them before they can be used.
4. Avoid standing out
Tourists get targeted because the locals know they don’t know where they are or what to do if attacked. One of your best safety precautions is not looking like a tourist but blending in. Avoid wearing clothes that show that you are clearly ‘not from here’. Walking around with your nose in a map and having your camera around your neck is about as loud as you can yell ‘I’m a tourist, please rob me’.
Stick to these simple safety tips and you will greatly reduce your chance of being targeted.