With rivers, mountains quaint towns, and cafes, Europe is one of the most popular holiday destinations. Be it lovebirds going for a honeymoon or students going on a grad trip, Europe has always been on the radar. However, besides amazing views and experiences, Europe is also known for… pickpockets.
Falling victim to pickpockets on a holiday, especially when you’re travelling around a beautiful part of the world, can be a horrible experience. Before we dive into the best ways you can avoid becoming a victim of pickpockets, it’s probably wise to take note of where pickpocket hotspots are:
- Barcelona, Spain
- Rome, Italy
- Paris, France
- Lisbon, Portugal
- Florence, Italy
- London, England
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Madrid, Spain
- Athens, Greece
From this list of cities, you can tell those pickpocket hotspots are usually in areas where tourists abound. That being said, this doesn’t mean that you’re safe from pickpockets in small towns. It’s always good to be extra careful with your belongings so you don’t have to spend half of your holiday worrying over your stolen cards and cash!
Pre-holiday tip: Get the cheapest travel insurance here with instant claims at Changi Airport to get covered (included: loss of luggage and personal effects, personal money, personal documents and emergency phone charges).
Don’t stereotype how pickpockets look like
When we talk about the pickpockets, the first image that comes to mind is probably a sketchy man in his mid-40s. And because of that, fall prey to pickpockets who look nothing like how we’d imagine pickpockets to look like.
The truth is, pickpockets can be anyone. In fact, a good portion of pickpockets are actually youths or kids aged between 10 – 16 years old. When we see adolescents of that age, we easily let our guard down, only to have our wallets swiped from us unknowingly.
Know who their targets are
One of the best ways to be alert is to know how pickpockets choose their targets. A common group of tourists they like to target are Chinese or people of Asian heritage. Many Chinese from mainland China don’t have access to credit and debit cards, therefore, carry lots of cash with them. Even if you’re not one of these Chinese, it’s still important to realise that your Asian heritage might make you pickpockets’ top choice to target so be vigilant!
Be extra careful on public transport
On packed train stations, it’s difficult to tell when someone reaches in your coat pocket for your wallet or phone. This makes public transports one of the most common places for pickpockets to make their move.
In order to prevent your valuables from being stolen, you’ll need to be extra cautious. Make sure to hold on to your wallet and phone in your trouser pockets so you know they’re always with you. Additionally, it’s also a good idea to keep your backpack or sling bag in front of you so it won’t be slashed without your knowledge.
Stay extra alert (& avoid getting distracted)
Pickpockets often work in groups and they can easily target tourists through distraction. You might bump into someone trying to sell you a few things on the streets, or a representative of a charity holding a clipboard. While they’re trying to get your attention, you might let your guard down and unknowingly create an opportunity for your belongings to be stolen.
Never leave your smartphones on the table
You might look away for a few seconds and turn around to find your smartphone gone. Pickpockets are opportunists and can move really quickly. To keep your phones and wallets safe with you, make sure to never leave them lying around, even on the table you’re dining at.
Get yourself an anti-theft bag
These bags come with locks, hidden zippers and durable slash-proof material. There is a wide range of anti-theft bags to choose from, such as LocTote, PacSafe, Bobby, and Click Pack. These anti-theft bags can be a little costly, however, they’re definitely worth it especially when you’re going abroad. Knowing your belongings are safely kept in your bag will give you that peace of mind to enjoy your holiday to the fullest.
Keep your valuables in separate places
As they say, don’t put all your eggs in a basket. It’s good to separate your cash into a few wallets and keep them in different compartments. If having an anti-theft bag and being extra cautious isn’t enough, at least you know you still have some cash that’s still safe with you. That being said, it’s also important to keep track where you keep your different wallets – you don’t want to be fumbling around and give yourself a scare unnecessarily.
Worrying about attracting pickpockets during your trip can be a total buzzkill. However, if you’re prepared beforehand, you’ll be able to go on your holiday with a peace of mind. Being extra cautious and getting an anti-theft bag might require some effort but it will definitely be worth it! After all, you don’t want to spend a portion of your holiday cancelling cards and making trips to the police station, do you?
Ready to embark on your adventure?
Reserve your ChangiWiFi router for UNLIMITED internet 24-7, at as low as $5/day*. Beat the queue and book those attraction tickets and day tours with us—no frills, no fuss.
Read also about our favourite restaurants in London, the most popular museum in the world, and how this girl travels around 30 countries in 180 days.