Essential Tips to Avoid Pickpocketing While Traveling

While most tourist destinations are safe in general, they do have mishaps like pickpocketing, phone snatching, and other scams that target clueless visitors. So, learning basic tips and some tricks to avoid pickpockets while traveling is a must.

Tourist counting several money bills, an easy target for pickpockets
The first rule to avoid pickpockets while traveling is not to show off your money and valuables items around, just take what’s necessary and do it discreetly. Remember, luxury things lure pickpockets.

How to Avoid Pickpockets While Traveling

Pickpockets are one of the most common issues travelers have to face, especially in places that are known as gathering places for tourists, like major attractions. Thieves and scammers target tourists because, let’s face it, most of them stand out a lot. Stumbling around in a new and strange place, carrying a ton of valuables, and wallets, and sometimes jet-lagged! That screams easy target!

To help you avoid becoming a victim of pickpocketing, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings, use common sense, and take safety precautions while traveling. You can also, get travel insurance at

Here are some advice to avoid getting pickpocketed:

Make Copies of Important Documents

The first thing you need to do, before traveling is get your vacation packing list done, that way you’ll get the second most important thing done: getting copies of all the important documents.

Sometimes theft will be inevitable, and taking a few steps to mitigate any potential damage or loss. So, in case anything happens, make sure to have copies of all your important documents.

Here’s a small list of documents you need a copy of, but feel free to add anything you want:

  • Passports
  • ID’s, Driver’s License
  • Boarding Pass
  • Hotel Reservation
  • Bank and Emergency Contacts
  • Medical Prescriptions

Tip: Also, it is a good idea to take pictures of all the documents and upload them in your cloud, online.

Researching destinations known for pickpockets

While being conscious, aware of your surroundings, and exercising common sense is always a must-do, researching hotspots known for pickpockets can help you stay later in certain areas and more relaxed in others.

For example, Paris is a well-known tourist destination often romanticized a lot (it’s stunning), but what most non-regular travelers know is that the Paris Metro is a hotspot for pickpocketing. So, depending on your destination, do your research, there may be areas you’ll want to avoid.

Woman wearing a pink sweater walking a crowded place
Crowded places are a magnet for thieves pickpocketing, those areas are the perfect hunting ground for them and one of high alert for you. Keep your belongings close and visible all the time.

Use a Money Belt or Money Bras

Choosing the right travel gear to avoid getting pickpocketed is always a good idea. A money belt is a pouch that comes in different sizes, it has an elastic band you get around the belly, or on a leg, under your shorts. It’s meant to be used to put money and keep it safe, but you can up anything important or anything you don’t want to get stolen.

Getting a money bra if you’re a girl is another good option, just like regular bras but with different pockets spread around.

Leave expensive valuables in the hotel

Do you need to take your laptop to a crowded local market? Think about it, leave any expensive item you won’t need while exploring in a safe at your hotel. It will be a lot safer than carrying around in a backpack.

While lost goods and theft in hotels happen, it’s usually a rare situation and most hotels nowadays have safes inside the room, but in case they don’t, ask the manager about it.

A good practice is to leave important documents in the hotel’s safe and bring them with you the copies.

Securing your items before leaving

Getting everything done before leaving is a must, take some simple steps to make sure the items you’re carrying are safe.

Pickpockets want to do their thing as quickly as possible, so having any form of impediment can be effective to avoid getting rid of something valuable. For example, if you’re carrying a backpack make sure to lock the zippers, it doesn’t need to be a heavy-duty lock, even a clip or twist tie or small shoelace will get the job done.

The thing is to make the bag a bit harder to open, there’s not a single theft that wants to spend 5 minutes behind you trying to untie a knot.

A wallet and money clip, a lure for pickpockets
Wallets and money clips are among the most stolen items by pickpockets, make sure to keep them in a safe place or a money belt. Also, NEVER put all your money in a single place.

Secure your belongings when you’re out

Following the rule mentioned before, any kind of obstacle is good enough, make sure to follow good practices while you’re out exploring.

A good example is, if you’re in a restaurant eating, or you sit to rest a bit, make sure to keep your backpack hanging on your arm or one shoulder. Another good practice is placing one backpack strap around the chair leg.

Now, avoid getting swiped, and don’t leave any valuable items on the table. It’s common for smartphones lying down on the table to get snatched fast. Keep your phone and other valuables like cameras around your neck, pockets, or backpack.

If you get inside to a building, like a bar to refresh and use your phone, please, don’t leave it on the counter table, put it inside your pocket and then put it in your backpack before leaving. Also, don’t walk around using your phone, in many places, thieves can snatch it from your hands in plain sight.

Don’t reveal your hiding places

Exercising discretion is important, be careful with your money/bra belt or any other hiding place. Pickpockets may be watching and studying their targets before taking any action.

That’s why if you need to use your phone, and it’s hidden in a place, don’t reach it in plain sight. The same applies to money or any other valuable item that’s not in a money belt.

Last Updated on October 13, 2023

One thought on “Essential Tips to Avoid Pickpocketing While Traveling”

  1. I was recently in London and decided to apply your advice so that my pocket money did not disappear. Also, I rented a car, which helped me get to many beautiful cities. I always had money with me, I don’t know if your advice worked or because I was in the car most of the time

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