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overseas travel safe secure pickpocket theft safety abroad europe

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#1 Paige Johnson

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 06:56 PM

So I'm travelling overseas and I keep hearing all these nasty stories about pickpockets robbing people blind. Any experienced travelers want to share what their average overseas EDC consists of that keeps their wallet, passport, etc. safe?

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#2 coldwater


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Posted 17 March 2015 - 07:04 PM

Keep everything in your front pocket, keep your eyes open, keep your cash separated. Short term spending money in one pocket so when you pull it out to pay, you only have a a little cash in hand. Travelers checks are king, but keep them in the safe and only cash in a few at a time. Avoid credit cards and ATM's. 

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#3 Mikey Bautista

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 07:30 PM

Pacsafe is a brand you should look into. Most commuters here in the PH swear by it, myself included, and it's helped prevent a few robberies to people I know, my wife included (in broad daylight in a crowded area).

#4 Stupendous Walrus

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Posted 17 March 2015 - 07:54 PM

Spibelt make great products. http://www.spibelt.com
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#5 Dave


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Posted 17 March 2015 - 07:58 PM

This article does a good job of summarizing

what not to do when traveling. Pickpockets can often

be the least of your worries, as there are a lot more scams

that will typically go unnoticed by travelers.


As for pickpockets, as coldwater was saying,

keep valuable items and cash in your front pockets.

Try not to carry excess cash on you, try to not look like

a tourist, and definitely do not pull a wad of cash out

whenever you want to pay; only take what you need for the day.

Stay aware of your surroundings, sometimes pickpockets

create diversions like these to catch you off guard.

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#6 Dom


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Posted 17 March 2015 - 08:19 PM

Try to look like a foreigner or tourist as little as possible. No flashy stuff to draw attention. Keep jewelry and expensive items to a minimum.

Depends where you're going overseas...but try not to look too American. Americans are the only people who wear running shoes or sneakers to walk around. Wear regular shoes. Otherwise it's a telltale sign you're a tourist/foreigner.

For money, carry some cash that is quick and easy to grab. I do not recommend travelers checks...nothing says tourist like those. And if they're lost, you're out of luck. Credit cards are useful; you get a favorable exchange rate, and will be accepted almost everywhere. If a card is lost or stolen, you can cancel immediately and even get a new one sent to you.

As always, be aware of your surroundings. Go with your gut. People are people everywhere in the world, so if you get the "hair on the back of your neck" feeling, follow that instinct.

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#7 Renegade Pilgrim

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Posted 18 March 2015 - 10:03 PM

Travelers checks are king, but keep them in the safe and only cash in a few at a time. Avoid credit cards and ATM's. 


No one travels anywhere with traveler's checks anymore.  You get a better exchange rate when you use an ATM.  When I travel, I hit the first ATM I see at the airport and take out the max amount of currency I think I will need for the next few days.  Be sure to let your bank know you are traveling and to what countries so they know it's you and that your card has not been stolen.  This works very well in Europe, especially, but I have done this in other countries in Asia and the Middle East.  It would be helpful to know where you are going to give more concrete advice.  I travel international a few times a year, and domestically about once a month.   


For credit cards, if you have good credit get a Charles Schwab card or look into cards that do not charge ATM fees.  You can also google "Travel Hacking" to learn how to use credit cards to your advantage with accruing miles and whatnot.

Clothing Arts makes pickpocket proof pants you might want to look into.  Basically have situational awareness and always listen to your gut.  Feel free to PM me if you want more travel tips.

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#8 Chris Szaroleta

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Posted 19 March 2015 - 09:50 AM

Whenever I travel, I like to keep my minimal amount of cash, as well as my cards, on my person, but hidden.  


Historically, I've used this product from REI.  They no longer offer it, but plenty of other companies have similar items.  


Keep it hidden, but keep a little something in your front pockets just in case someone attempts to be more bold than a pickpocket.

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#9 Rob Hamilton

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Posted 27 May 2015 - 05:06 AM

Yup, travellers cheques are just a huge hassle. Plastic and cash is the way to go (with the usual caveat about looking out for dodgy ATMs), but it's usually possible to find better exchange rates than at the airport, where they often exploit having a captive market IME.  As others have said it's an advantage not to offer up too good or easy a target for pickpockets - an obviously expensive handbag or camera on shoulder strap, fat wallet in back pocket, flashing a large amount of cash, etc - and to minimise the potential for the whole trip to be ruined if something does get stolen. So passport/ID stays in the hotel safe (with tickets, house keys, back-up credit card and so on) and a photocopy does the daily sight-seeing with you (which you'll probably never need to show anyway, but is usually fine for non-financial purposes). Cash and cards in small wallet go in a deep front trouser pocket. My compact camera lives in a belt pouch which closes with zip and velcro. Advice on not looking too obviously like a tourist is spot-on but not always easy to follow. I do recommend avoiding the stereotype Tilley hat/zip-off cargo pants look, though. 


All that said, be sensible but go and have a great time rather than anticipating all the things that might go wrong. Chances are nothing will happen. Happy trails.

#10 T Shrapnel-Carruthers

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Posted 17 June 2015 - 10:22 AM

Despite travelling a lot internationally I have only been pick-pocketed once, and that was 30 years' ago in my home country of the UK.


I am not conscious of doing anything special but I probably look like I know what I am doing/where I am going, which may help. My wallet is in my front left pocket and keys in the right, phone is also on the right but usually on a belt clip. Normally I have a briefcase on my shoulder and in a crowd I will swing it in front of me. Advice on keep money in two places is sensible; normally I keep what I don't need in in-room safe at my hotel but when that's not possible, e.g. on way to/from hotel, I rarely follow this advice myself :rolleyes:.


A few years' ago I switched to an RFID shielded wallet, previously I had one from Pacsafe but have just acquired one from Slimfold. There are elements of the former that I miss but the new one has really reduced the thickness of what I carry.


Recently I also bought a new camera rucksack from Pacsafe. This is designed to accommodate a camera and lens in the bottom half, leaving the top compartment for other stuff. Several of the mainstream camera bag suppliers have similar designs but Pacsafe have made the padding in the bottom section removable, great for flexibility of use, plus there are loads of their usual security features built in.

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