Stop the Stealing

A big worry on my mind whenever I'm away is having my stuff stolen. Pick pocketing and mugging is a major problem all over the world in any tourist destination - even places such as Milan, Italy is full of pickpockets waiting for the ultimate opportunity - you. So what can you do about it? I've been to pickpocket hot spots all over the world now and have never had a problem - so here are some tips.

When using a handbag, try to have one that has a zip across. This prevents anyone from quickly putting their hand in your bag and grabbing that cash filled purse of yours before you even realise. I also make sure that the zipper side is to my front, and if the bag hangs low to  have it across my body with my hand resting over the zipper. Bum bags are great, but I agree they can be a little of a style killer. They can make you look a little tubby when hidden under clothes however, you can get some really cool ones from markets and those little indie shops that are always shrouded in incense. Make sure you always tuck the waist strap beneath your clothes too as it's easy for people to undo it, pull it off and run before you realise when on it's on show.

Hold your bag tight. I've seen people have bags ripped off them because it was draped over them oh so casually. While she looked so chic and relaxed for a moment, the minute that a guy came past on a motorbike and pulled it off her, she didn't look so cool when all her stuff was gone and they were driving away laughing.

Use the hotel safe and leave things you don't need in there when going out. Having an emptier bag will make you less of a target, and if anything does happen not everything is gone. When using the safe just double check it locks as some of them have a little knack to getting them shut tight, and don't use a generic code like 1234 to lock it - you're just being too obvious.

Don't take out too much cash at once. It's the typical faux pas to take out Β£100's at once and then shove it all in your bag. You're not only going to spend it too fast but if anyone sees you taking that much out of the ATM you are in trouble my friend.

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Keep it on you. I don't care if you want to swim when at the beach or the pool, if there's no-one you trust to look after it then don't leave it. The moment you turn around it'll be gone like the wind. Luckily, you can get waterproof pouches big enough for money, room key, phone and passport these days - you can even take pictures with your phone in them. Just test it before you go!

Don't put your bag on the floor in restaurant whenever you can help it. Even the nicest of places will have opportunists waiting to hit as a swanky restaurant is exactly where they will be able to steal the best stuff. If you rest it on your lap you're generally going to be ok, you'd notice if someone tried to get in there (I hope anyway)! Back on the chair is ok, you can see it but other people would notice someone rooting around in there. If it has to be on the floor then have it right between your legs and right under the table, someone would have to be pretty skilled to get under there without you seeing.

A very basic one but stay with a group when out at night. If you fly solo at night you're going to be a target for both pickpockets and muggings, especially if you wander down the wrong street. If you don't have a group or haven't made too many friends yet, just asked the concierge desk to book you something suitable nearby or arrange a taxi for you. They always know their stuff as they'll be locals, you'll get good food and a safe recommendation.  

On the whole, it's common sense that you need. If you couldn't live without it then keep it on you and keep it safe - keep it zipped up in your bag and generally be aware. Not everyone is out to get you or steal from you of course but  just be aware and have fun!

I'm sure I've missed a few on this list so please get in touch if there are any major items you think should be added or if you want any additional advice. Backpackers don't worry - I'll be doing a version for you guys soon too which includes keeping it safe in hostels.