Travel Tip: Protect yourself from those pesky pick pockets while in Europe.
Why it’s important: Spoiler alert – if you choose to travel in any major European city, you are going to have to take proper precautions to avoid being a victim of a petty crime. The good news is, you really don’t have to worry too much about your personal safety. The bad news is that you do need to take a few steps to protect yourself from those pesky fingers that love to sneak into your pockets and handbags.
Last July, I was so, so excited to go to Paris, the number one place in Europe I wanted to visit. That is, until I started reading about the rampant petty theft that had gotten so bad officials once shut down the Louvre because so many people were being targeted. And then I started to freak myself out. Apparently, John had been reading the same things because he too was concerned about the pick-pockets. As amazing as Paris seemed, I didn’t want to have to deal with the loss of money, or a credit card, or worse – a passport.
So, after researching what ways thieves targeted tourists, I researched ways to deter them. I carried my purse like a messenger bag instead of the shoulder strap purse that could be ripped off my arm by a passing thief and I carried it in front of me. My purse had a zipper instead of strap that I kept closed at all times. My passport sat in the hotel safe with an extra credit card just in case something should happen to my debit card, and John had a money belt tucked safely around his waist and kept his wallet out of his back pocket. These are just a few of the possible ways to protect yourself and the ones I found least intrusive to our travel styles. I wanted to de-motivate the thieves but not go overboard.
Thieves are apparently quite crafty and come up with some interesting ways to get in your pockets. When we rode the metro, we stayed away from the doors to avoid the notorious tactic of the thieves jumping off the train with your personal items as the doors closed and we knew better than to stop and talk to anyone offering a rose, or some other “free” item for which you will inevitably pay.
We were ready for any and all possible scam situations. And just like that – nothing happened. In fact, the worry spell we were under broke while we admired the Arc de Triomphe and one scam artist tried to pull the ring trick, where he “finds” a so-called gold ring and offers to sell it to you for a low price. We actually watched the guy throw it on the ground, and were given dirty looks when he saw us watching and laughing.
Once I was there – I worried not at all. I stayed alert in the tourist-heavy areas and the large crowds that thieves prey on but didn’t let it interfere with our enjoyment. We left Paris with all of our belongings and a great introduction weekend in the City of Light.
So, prepare yourself for the possibility and do what you can to avoid making yourself an obvious target – that way, you can enjoy a petty crime-free vacation!