Traveling should always be a fun experience. As travelers we are very vulnerable to thieves and pickpockets in any place in the world. And thieves and pickpockets love to prey on the unsuspecting tourist. Whether you are in Manila or enjoying the sights in Europe always make sure that you get yourself protected and employ all necessary precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. Remember, just a small incident is enough to ruin any trip that is why it is important that you cover yourself to avoid any mishaps from happening. Following are some tips that you can employ to avoid being victimized and as a result maximize your enjoyment while traveling.
- When out sightseeing always be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on the people around you. You’ll never know; the person beside you might be a pickpocket. Thieves do not always look shabby. More often than not, they would be smartly dressed to blend in with the crowd.
- Keep a low profile and avoid ostentatious display of your things. Pickpockets and thieves are also very good at sizing up people and they know a vulnerable tourist when they see one. Keep your wallets in your pockets or bags and make sure that these are not exposed or can easily be picked. Do not flash your cash in public and avoid wearing flashy jewellery. Keep your cameras close to your body. A camera is one of the hot items for thieves.
- If you have to bring jewellery and other valuables with you, do not bring these with you when you go sightseeing. Better to leave these in your room safe.
- Remember pickpockets are experts at distraction and deception. They oftentimes employ diversionary tactics to lure your attention away from your belongings. Thieves sometimes act in pairs with one assigned to distract you and the other to move in to rob you. Always be on the alert. You may find yourself easily distracted that you don’t notice your pockets or bags are already being picked.
- Be wary of people being overly nice to you. Thieves and pickpockets are very good at deception and know an easy prey when they see one. And guys, be extra careful with girls who are overly flirting with you. These may be just deception tactics to attract you and soften you up to make it easier to rob you. Remember thievery is not exclusive to the male gender; today even females are such experts at this.
- Do not accept any food or drinks from people that you do not know. Some thieves drug their target victims to make it easier to rob them.
- Keep your cash in separate wallets or pouches. My husband and I always distribute our cash among us and we separate the cash we each have. I would usually have cash in my purse and some cash in a pouch in my pocket and my husband keeps his cash in his wallet and in a belt bag. This way, if one set of cash gets lost we still have remaining cash to go on. It is going to be very difficult to find yourself without any cash at all in a foreign land.
- Be careful when using your ATM or debit card abroad. Just as the case is in Manila, ATM skimming is prevalent in other countries too. Skimming is illegally acquiring information from your debit or ATM card and using these information to steal from your account. This is usually done by attaching a card reader to the ATM machine that grabs data from your card as you swipe or insert your card into the machine. A hidden camera is usually installed where the number pad can be viewed to enable the thieves to get your PIN. To protect yourselves it is important that you cover your hands while entering your PIN. Also, before using the ATM machine, check for obvious signs of tampering like portions of the machine having a different color, words and numbers not aligned, the machine that appears different from an adjacent machine or just anything that doesn’t look right.
- Credit card fraud is also prevalent so you need to protect yourself against it. Subscribe to credit card transaction text message alert if you credit card company offers this service. Our credit card company offers this automatically as you sign up with them and we always get alerts on our phone whenever we use our card. This alert will also enable you to know when you are victimized by credit card fraud as it happens so that early on you can report this to your credit card company.
- Bring only the cards that you plan to use and leave the others behind. This way you reduce your risk of losing your cards. A card or two should be enough for a trip. Also this way it will be easier for you to track transactions because you have less cards to monitor.
- Always get yourself covered by travel insurance. And make sure that your insurance does not only cover health but your luggage and belongings as well. This way, even if you get victimized and lose your things, you can still collect and recover the value of your items.
Always travel safely everyone!