Airports, train and bus stations, and any other place where travelers congregate in close quarters are where pickpockets love to operate. There are many dos and don’ts to avoid becoming a victim when you travel on vacation, most of which are common sense. Here are some of them.
Do not wear expensive jewelry, even expensive looking costume jewelry or an expensive looking watch as that is just an invitation to be robbed.
Wear a money belt under you shirt or blouse to help foil pickpockets or muggers. It is a good idea to put your things in a Ziploc bag and then put the bag in your money belt. The reason for this is that the money belt and the items in it will get soaked from your perspiration, especially in hot climates, and this will keep them dry. Do not open up your money belt in public to take out cash, travelers checks, or credit cards.
Before you leave on vacation, it might be worth it to sew a few pockets on the inside of your slacks, skirts, or underclothing where you can carry some spare cash when you are out and about for the day. If you are carrying cash, travelers checks, or credit cards on your person, you should divide them up and put them in different pockets. That way if a pickpocket is successful, he or she won’t get everything. It also makes sense to use a safety pin to make each pocket opening smaller so that a pickpocket will have difficulty pulling anything out of your pockets without you being aware of it.
If a number of children gather around you in the street and cause a commotion, you are likely being targeted by pickpockets who are using the children to distract you. If a couple of locals start a yelling and shoving match near you, they could be a distraction for pickpockets. Another method of distraction is to have someone collapse and fall down in front of you. When you bend over to help them, the pickpocket goes into action. A variation involves two thieves working together, one gently dropping some ice cream, ketchup or mustard on one of your shoulders and then distracting you by pointing to the mess and helping to wipe it off. The other pickpocket will then go into action.
Pickpockets prefer to target men with their wallets invitingly exposed in their back pockets, and obese people because they are less likely to feel their pockets being picked. You must be especially vigilant in airports, bus and train stations and watch your luggage, camera, and laptop like a hawk as they can disappear in an instant. Keep in mind that pickpockets love tourists, especially when they are in crowds.
Be vigilant when you are wearing a backpack. Thieves may slash the bottom of it, spilling all the contents onto the street where he and his accomplices grab your possessions and run away in different directions.
Usually muggings occur at night and not in a busy, bustling part of the city. If you are accosted by an armed robber, do not argue or resist. Give them what they want and be thankful that you don’t get hurt. Whatever they take from you can be replaced and is not worth risking your life over.
After we read Bob Arno’s book on how people can avoid cons, thefts, and street scams, we felt that it would be a valuable book for anyone who goes on vacation, or travels for business, to also read. It is chuck full of information and photos that show you how many scams work. There is no limit as to what criminals can conspire to think of to rip-off and steal from unsuspecting tourists.
Bob is one of the world’s foremost experts on street crime, scams, and identity theft. If you are interested in learning how to protect yourself when on holidays as well as at home, you may want to read his book, “Travel Advisory! How to Avoid Thefts, Cons, and Street Scams While Traveling“. It may be available at your local library. If not, it is available through his website, BobArno.com, or Amazon.com.
He has been interviewed on CNN, MSNBC, ABC’s 20/20, The Travel Channel, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel, and has had articles written about him in USA Today, National Geographic Traveler, Fortune Magazine, The New York Times, and Time Magazine.
His book is full of humor, true stories, as well as many photos of pickpockets and street scam artists in action. In our opinion, his book is worth its weight in gold, and is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn how to protect themselves and their family when traveling, and even in their own home town.
Dorothy Yamich has a passion for travel. She has lived and traveled extensively throughout Europe as well as traveled in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. She is a travel consultant and specializes in luxury cruises as well as vacation packages. If you are looking for information on cheap airfares, fabulous discounted luxury cruises and great holiday deals, visit: http://www.traveltipsguide.com