Traveling is wonderful! You meet new people, see new places, and gain a view of the world that is new and refreshing.
Many people, however, have a bad experience while traveling because someone steals their stuff. Unfortunately, popular tourist spots are also popular spots for pickpockets, not all hotel workers are completely honest, and sometimes the joy of travel makes us a little less vigilant than we ought to be.
Here are a few trips that have served me well over the years:
- Use the safe in your hotel for any valuables (passport, iPads, phones, cameras, jewelry, cash, and so on).
- Never carry your passport around unless you definitely need it.
- Make a copy of the most important pages of your passport and store it on line. (It’s much easier to get your passport replaced with that information.)
- Never carry around more cash than you really need. Use credit cards whenever you can.
- Ask your bank for a chip-enabled credit card. (In most countries, this makes it easy to complete any transaction at your table in a restaurant so that you are never separated from your card.)
- Keep your wallet as close to your body as you possibly can. (Don’t use back pockets or outer pockets.)
- Carry a fake wallet with a very small amount of money and old, expired credit cards. If you have to, throw it for an assailant to pick up while running and shouting.
- Be especially wary in crowds. Keep your hand on your wallet on a crowded train if possible.
- Use TSA-approved locks for your baggage. I know anyone can break them, but a thief is going to choose the unlocked bag before the locked one. (The TSA-approved combination locks can be opened with a key by TSA officials.)
- Remember that theft happens much more often at the end of your vacation. Experts think it’s because people are relaxed, and they let their guard down!
There are all sorts of tricks and scams played by people who seem to appear out of nowhere to help you. I was once vacationing with some friends in Barcelona. Suddenly, it seemed as though a bird had dropped its mess onto his jacket. (I wasn’t around at the time.) Someone started to help him clean up. He took off his jacket and this person helped him wipe the disgusting mess off his jacket. When he put his jacket back on, his wallet had disappeared. So had his new and helpful friend!
Other helpful people appear out of nowhere when you are trying to use an ATM or you’re buying a public transportation ticket from a vending machine. Quite often, they are up to no good. Watch out!