As you have probably heard, traveling internationally requires that you pay more attention to your belongings. Those who live on the naughtier side of life tend to be very light fingered and can swipe just about anything from right under your nose. When traveling abroad, knowing the general tricks to the thief trade can save you some headaches. Here are four examples and methods to thwart a thief.
The Table-Phone Snatcher
In America it's not uncommon to leave your phone sitting on a table in a public place as you work or while you enjoy a chat. You set it down without a second thought or worry that it may disappear. However, when traveling internationally, this is not a wise move. Imagine you're casually chatting with a friend and your phone is resting in its usual place on the table corner. Suddenly a confused looking man walks up to you with a map and asks for directions. Wanting to help, you start looking at the map that's conveniently hovering over your phone. When you finish innocently providing useless directions to the thief, he walks away and you likely won't notice that your phone has left with him. This is a simple and often successful trick that thieves use when given the opportunity. So, don't give them the opportunity. Keep your phone tucked away in a secure spot or hold it in your lap.
The Crowd Thief
Crowded areas are a thief's playground. We've all seen the movie where someone walking down the street gets bumped into and in that split second contact the light handed thief relieves them of their wallet, phone, watch, etc. That's just what a thief is capable of on the go, imagine what they are capable of in a crowded subway with victims standing still. The fastest way to get yourself robbed is to wear an unlocked, zip-up backpack on your back. If a thief is good enough he/she can literally take an entire laptop from your backpack without you ever knowing. The best way to prevent missing items is to wear your backpack in the front. In fact, whatever luggage or travel bags you have, keep them in front of you were you can keep a close eye on your belongings.
The Purse Cutter
Many ladies love their purses and bring them everywhere just causally slung over their shoulder. There are so many ways an over-the-shoulder bag is a bad idea when traveling abroad. Whether the purse has a long or short strap, it's very easy to take when there's not much but your reflexes to prevent a thief from pulling it off. Purse thieves have started carrying scissors and knives with the sole purpose of cutting purse straps and catching your purse when it falls. The best solution is to have a long-strap and wear it across your body. Though this is a solution, don't just sling it across your body and let it flop around freely. To successfully deter purse thieves, you must do two things: wear your purse across your body and keep a firm grip on it at all times.
Thieves are convincing and distracting actors. You will be approached by an adult or child who is deceptively convincing you that they are sweet, distressed, or trying to entertain you. If they play their role well enough, you'll likely stop and give them your attention. In this instance you should do one of two things. Either don't give them the time of day and continue on your way or stop and give them your attention, but don't play the fool. While you are distracted by the person in front of you, their buddy will come up behind you and sneakily grab your items. When you're approached out of the blue, immediately collect your items and hold them close throughout the interaction.
Traveling internationally can be a risky venture in terms of protecting your belongings, but that shouldn't dissuade you from going. There are thieves throughout the world who are good at what they do. No matter where you are, there's always a certain risk, but don't let that stop you. Always keep the what-ifs of life in mind when traveling, that way you are always prepared and protecting your items. There are more good people out there who have no ill intentions than those who do. So take precautionary measures and go enjoy your trip!