• Avoiding theft when traveling abroad

    2013-09-24

    When you're traveling in a foreign country, you are likely focused on the many wonders surrounding you. However, you should always keep an eye on your personal belongings, because pickpockets often seek out tourists when looking for their next victim. Having your belongings pilfered can put a damper on any vacation, so here are a few tips to make sure you don't become a victim of theft while traveling:

    Look the part
    Pickpockets know that tourists often carry large amounts of money on them, which is why they seek out people who look like they are visiting. If you walk around with a map out, a large fanny pack strapped to your waist and your "I Love New York" t-shirt on, you're bound to draw unwanted attention from thieves. Instead, try to dress like the locals you see walking the streets of the city you are visiting. If you need to use a map or count your money, step inside a cafe or hotel where you will have a bit more privacy.

    Be wary of distractions
    One of the classic ways that thieves steal from tourists is to use the art of distraction. They may bump into you on a crowded train, and while they're apologizing for their rudeness, secretly reach into your back pocket for your wallet. If you are worried that you may have been a victim of this form of theft, immediately check your pockets to make sure all your belongings are in place. If they aren't, report the incident to the authorities as soon as possible.

    Have the right gear
    You can purchase some traveler's gear that will make it harder for thieves to rob you. Instead of carrying a wallet or a purse, look for passport holders that can loop around your neck or tuck under your shirt. This will present a challenge to any thieves who try to grab your personal items and dash off.

    Avoid high-risk situations
    Do a little research before your leave to see what parts of the city you'll be visiting are dangerous. Make sure you avoid these areas, and if you plan on being out at night, stick to well-lit streets with lots of people around. When you walk around, do so with your head held high - thieves are much less likely to target people who look confident and know where they are going.

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