Pickpockets are the bane of many traveller’s existence, so it’s worth taking precautions to stop them ruining your trip.
If you’re travelling abroad this summer, then you need to protect yourself from pickpockets. More than 33% of travel insurance claims are for property that is stolen abroad, so it’s a common problem. However, with a little know-how and the right kind of protection, there’s no need for your holiday to be a lot more expensive than you imagined.
Know your destination
Before you travel, check if where you will be staying is a pickpocketing hotspot. Large cities with plenty of tourist destinations are the prime suspects, with Barcelona, Rome and Paris being some of the worst affected. However, pickpockets operate in smaller towns and cities too – so don’t assume that you’ll be safe if you’re holidaying off the beaten track. As a rule though, you’ll need to take more precautions the more popular your destination is.
Be aware of children and scams
You may think that you’ll be able to spot a pickpocket, but they come in many shapes and sizes – and use different tactics too. Most travellers think that thieves are all adults, but it’s often children who are doing the dirty work for their bosses.
Most of us let our guard down around children, so they’re the perfect criminals. Regardless of age though, most pickpockets use scams to get what they want. From asking you to look at a map or sign a petition, these tricks distract you for just enough time for them to swipe something.
Don’t carry everything with you
It’s a good idea to limit what you carry around with you. Leave your passport in your hotel room safe, as this is what most thieves are hoping to find in your bag. If you have bought a lot of cash with you, budget for each day and only take what you need with you. That way, you’ll only lose some of your money if you do find yourself a victim of pickpocketing.
Be careful in crowds
Being aware of yourself and your surroundings will help you to avoid being robbed. Most pickpockets operate in crowded areas and go for backpacks and unzipped handbags. These kind of bags are easy to rummage around in without you even noticing – ask someone to try it if you don’t believe us!
o when you’re travelling on public transport or queuing, hold your bag in front of you where you can see it clearly. Avoid keeping your phone or wallet in your back pocket too, as they’re much easier to swipe there than from a bag.
Invest in some specialist gear
It’s possible to buy pickpocket-proof clothes and bags. Items of clothing such as t-shirts with front pockets and underwear with hidden pockets (yes, really!) are good ways of keeping your possessions close and in places difficult for thieves to reach. As for bags, go for something slash-proof or with a padlock. These will dissuade thieves. It’s also a good idea to attach your wallet to your clothing or bag with a chain.
It’s simply essential to take out some cover for your trip. Single trip insurance will protect you if you are unfortunate enough to have something stolen. Chances are, if you’ve taken the right precautions and done your research, it won’t happen to you. Having the peace of mind that you’ll be looked after if you do though is invaluable.
Enjoy your trip!
Now that you’re clued up, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your holiday. Remember, there’s no such thing as being overcautious, and that it’s always best to trust your instincts if a situation doesn’t feel right. After all, you want to be coming home with all of your possessions intact and with some great memories – not the opposite.
Roxanne Seabourne is the Marketing Executive for Avanti Travelcare, who specialize in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.