A trip abroad can be a truly magical experience; an opportunity to explore other cultures, try new foods and really kick back and relax – I love to travel! Whether I am popping over to France or travelling around the US, planning for my trip is all part of the fun, and I know many of you feel the same. But have you thought about how to keep your wallet and other personal effects safe from the grip of pickpockets and thieves?
While pickpockets operate around the UK, as a resident you may not feel this threat very acutely – after all, we tend to be pretty savvy when we are close to our own homes, as we know the customs and look confident and self assured. Thieves tend to target individuals who look lost, confused or overly engrossed in their surroundings, making tourists the perfect foils. You may not be a target in the UK, but the minute you step onto the streets of a foreign city your odds of having your wallet or purse nabbed increase exponentially.
Having your wallet or purse stolen can have wider implications than just the inconvenience of replacing your cards and mourning any lost cash. Identity theft is a very real threat, with thieves using your good name to commit fraud, resulting in a decimation of your credit rating. The legal ramifications can be devastating – you need to ensure that you taking steps in order to protect your credit.
Here are a few tips that I always use to help keep my purse safe whilst strolling around on holiday:
- Walk with purpose – Looking like you know where you are going is key; if you feel lost or confused you should duck into a shop or café in order to reorient yourself.
- Check maps in private – Unfurling a big paper map? Get off of the street whenever you want to consult your map.
- Assess risks – Some cities are more known than others for pickpockets. While you should always be alert, knowing which cities are more prone to theft can help you to plan your precautions.
- Use a money belt – Money belts of all shapes and designs are available from travel shops and online, and can help you to keep your cash and cards safe from thieves. That said, constantly accessing your ‘hidden’ cache of funds in public defeats the purpose – make sure you keep it safe from view.
- Keep small notes on hand – To prevent the need for revealing where your wallet or purse is located, keep plenty of small notes and coins in your pockets ready to pay for small items. If you do get pickpocketed of these funds it will not be that big a deal.
Remember, if you have ever had your wallet or purse stolen in the past (or if it happens to you in the future) it is of vital importance that you come home and check your credit at www.experian.co.uk to ensure that you haven’t been the victim of identity theft. While pickpockets are a sad reality of travel, you don’t have to leave yourself vulnerable. Bon voyage!