VIDEO: How to Avoid Pickpockets, Especially on Vacation


Being pickpocketed can quickly spoil a vacation and traumatize the victim. A whopping 400,000 people are pickpocketed  around the world every day. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, as most incidents are reported as “lost property”, or not at all. Watch our video for some quick tips on how to avoid pickpockets while you’re traveling.

While some destinations are riskier than others, anywhere that draws large crowds of people in close proximity, offers fertile ground for thieving hands. One-third of travel insurance claims are for lost or stolen items. Thankfully, there is a lot you can do to prevent it. 

Safeguarding your belongings from pickpockets isn’t usually featured on most planning and packing lists, but there are some simple measures that anyone can take to avoid being a victim. What’s more, they require very little work and will go a long way to keeping you, your travel companions and belongings secure.

From keeping copies of important documents to simply wearing your shoulder bag on your front, here's a closer look at what you can do to minimize your risk of being pickpocketed - without having to constantly look over your shoulder.

Some cities are riskier than others. The most targeted cities for pickpocketing are:

  1. Barcelona, Spain
  2. Rome, Italy
  3. Prague, Czech Republic
  4. Madrid, Spain
  5. Paris, France
  6. Florence, Italy
  7. Buenos Aires, Argentina
  8. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  9. Athens, Greece
  10. Hanoi, Vietnam

How to Avoid Pickpockets

Don’t let pickpockets spoil your vacation by following these tips. 

1. Have a backup plan

First, make sure you always have a backup plan in case important things go missing during your trip. Keep a spare bankcard, copies of your passport and tickets in your hotel safe.

Also read: How to Replace a Lost or Stolen Passport on a Trip

pickpocket tip: keep a spare bankcard and copies of important documents

2. Don't’ flash cash, or your jewelry

pickpocket tip: don't flash cash or jewelry

3. Invest in pickpocket-proof gear

You should also use anti-pickpocketing gear on your trip, like pickpocket-proof pants, a money belt, bra pouch, pickpocket-proof backpack or purse, or slash-proof shoulder bag.

pickpocket tip: invest in anti-pickpocket gear

4. Carry your shoulder bag in front

Carry your shoulder bag in front of your body so it’s harder for a thief to get into your bag without noticing.

Also read: How to Keep Your Bags and Valuables Safe While Traveling

pickpocket tip: carry your shoulder bag in front

5. Carry minimal cash - use bankcards instead

Only carry the bare minimum of cash on you and use bank cards for the rest.

pickpocket tip: carry minimal cash and use cards instead

6. Don’t keep checking your belongings

Don’t keep checking on your belongings - it alerts pickpockets that you have something to protect.

pickpocket tip: don't keep checking your belongings

7. Don’t look lost

Don’t wander around looking lost (even if you are).  

Also read: 9 Best Travel Apps for Finding Things to Do on Vacation

pickpocket tip: don't look lost

8. Is someone invading your space?

Be suspicious if someone is invading your personal space.

pickpocket tip: is someone invading your space?

9. Look out for distracting behavior

Be alert when there’s distracting behavior around you, a couple suddenly starts arguing, or someone spills something. It only takes a few seconds of distraction for a pickpocket to take advantage of you.

pickpocket tip: look out for distracting behavior

Share these tips with your fellow travelers, so that you can bring back memories AND all your stuff!

What to do if you’re pickpocketed

Say you’ve taken all of the precautions but you still become the victim of a pickpocket. Don’t feel guilty or embarrassed. Some crooks have been running this racket for years and are really good at swiping passports and wallets from tourists.

Immediately inform your tour guide, train conductor, airline representative or other authority figure about your stolen items. The next move is to call the local police. You’ll need to verify the theft to recover the value of your stolen items if you’re insured.

Does travel insurance cover pickpocketing?

Travel insurance plans from Generali Global Assistance include Baggage coverage so you can be reimbursed if luggage, personal possessions or travel documents, such as a passport, are lost, damaged or stolen during your trip.

In addition, our 24-Hour Emergency Assistance Services include help to locate or replace lost or stolen items and can connect you with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the area you are visiting.

If a crucial travel document, like your passport, is stolen, our travel insurance plans offer Travel Delay and Trip Interruption coverages. This means you can receive coverage for expenses associated with rescheduling your travel while waiting for your passport replacement and even be reimbursed for fees related to getting a new passport.

The same plans also include Identity Theft Resolution Services that can help if your passport, credit card or other sensitive documents are stolen on your trip.


Get Travel Insurance with coverage for stolen property