Travel and living

Protecting Yourself from Theft While Traveling

luggageHeading off to visit new locations can be very exciting. Unfortunately, travelers often become targets for theft. Criminals in urban locations know that tourists make easy marks because they generally carry a certain amount of cash and gadgets on them at any given moment. As a tourist, you generally stand out because you clothing, mannerisms, and language use are different from the people in your area. You can reduce the risk of having your valuables stolen while traveling by following these four tips.

Leave Valuables at Home

While you pack your bags, stop and consider, “Do I really need this?” before you bring a valuable along with you. Will you actually need to use it during your vacation, or is it extraneous? For example, travelers generally don’t need to bring expensive jewelry with them on vacation. Lock expensive items up in your safety deposit box if you’re not comfortable leaving them in an unattended home. Just bring travel essentials.

Thieves abroad aren’t the only ones you have to worry about. Unfortunately, the rise in social media sharing can put people’s valuables at risk. Avoid posting about your vacation in advance on social media, since this can make your home a target to would-be robbers. Even just a slight mention that you’ll be out of the home can be viewed by ill-intentioned strangers. But don’t worry, you can still post about your vacation once you get back and share the fun with your network! If you need to tell a friend or family member about your upcoming trip, let them know privately.

Zippered Pockets

Pickpockets are looking for crimes of opportunity. They examine pedestrians to see who’s carrying their valuables in pants with baggy pockets or purses that are gaping open. These are their prime targets, since they can just slip a hand into these containers and remove valuables. Even if you feel someone removing your belongings, it can be very difficult to identify them if you are in an extremely crowded public place. If you plan on walking through a crowded environment, store your valuables in pockets that have zippered closures. Alternatively, wear a jacket that has zippered pockets. These can be extremely difficult for someone to open with you becoming aware of them.

Avoid Flashy Gear

There are certain fashion cues that cause thieves to target certain tourists. Those wearing large cameras around their necks or people carrying pricey designer laptop bags can be prime theft victims, since criminals know they are carrying expensive gear. Certain fashion accessories can also draw unwanted attention your way, if you have glitzy rings, watches, or other jewelry on. If you plan on bringing your technology with you on a trip, carry it inside of inconspicuous containers. For example, bring an old, beat up backpack to carry your computer instead of a glitzy laptop tote.

Use Gadgets Sparingly

The Departmental Management division of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) warns travelers to keep their technology inconspicuous and away from strangers by packing devices like laptops in your carry-on luggage. If you plan to drive with your gadgets, store them out of sight in the trunk. Pickpockets and other thieves often target tourists who look completely lost and distracted by their surroundings. If you stand around holding your smartphone or tablet out in a crowded area, someone might be tempted to swipe it. Keep gadgets stowed safely in your bag, and only take these gadgets out when you need to use them.

Many people rely on their technology while traveling. Devices like a new smartphone can provide you with crucial GPS directions as you explore new areas. Keep your valuables safe from theft by securing them in zippered pockets and avoid displaying expensive gear.

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