These are 5 smart tips from smart travelers to stay safe

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Written By DannyPalmer

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These are 5 smart tips from smart travelers to stay safe

I was standing on a crowded platform in Toulouse waiting for the train, and felt a pull at my jacket. I had just put my smartphone in my jacket pocket. I instinctively reached for my phone to check if it was still there. I panicked when my pocket was empty. The man behind me was clutching my bright pink case to his chest. I immediately hit him. I shouted at him to get my phone back. I realized he was getting caught so I grabbed the phone and ran in the opposite direction.

I was responsible for being pickpocketed in this situation. I was waiting in a line to board a train and distracted by my phone. After several months living in Toulouse, I felt more comfortable and less anxious, so I put my phone in a jacket pocket. My phone was quickly taken by a thief standing behind me. I would have boarded the train if I had not felt the tug on my jacket. A thief would then have taken my valuable iPhone.

It was fortunate that I didn’t feel the pickpocket, and I was able to get the phone back. However, this is not normal. Traveling requires you to be very aware of the surroundings and take extreme precautions. There is no need to feel afraid or be threatened. All you have to do is be aware and smart. You can ruin a trip faster than being robbed. Follow these five travel tips to stay safe. Rick Steves advises, “Don’t be afraid to travel, but plan carefully.”


Prepare for any loss or theft before you travel. You should print multiple sets of important documents. Also, ensure you have all necessary documents stored in the cloud for easy access abroad.

You should keep a list of serial numbers and makes for electronics. You might consider taking photos of your luggage to keep an eye on what’s inside and out. It was very difficult for me to remember what was in my suitcase when it was stolen. Don’t forget to upload photos and backup important files. You can replace a camera, but you cannot recover images from earlier trips. Keep valuables safe in your hotel room, as they will be more secure than being carried on the streets.


Travel scams are quite common in foreign countries. You will likely encounter scammers in any age group (men, women and children, as well as elderly people). They are often very good at what they do. Do not think they are smart enough to trick you. It’s happened several times to me and to some of my most seasoned travel companions. It’s possible for someone to make a scene and distract you, while their partner takes your wallet. Small children may ask for help, while their brother or sister takes your wallet. Thieves are always creative and come up with new tricks to fool unsuspecting travelers. There are several common scams you should be on the lookout for

  • Deaf women may ask you to sign fake petitions or to donate money. This is very common in Paris. Do not make eye contact, and continue walking.
  • A child approaching you to speak to you, or someone holding a baby. Be focused and watch out for your belongings.
  • A found ring: Someone approaches you and asks you if you have lost your ring. They might try to rob you, or distract you with their cheap ring.

If someone asks for your help, you will oblige. The common scheme is to attach a friendship bracelet to your arm. The scammer will either make you pay or have his partner pickpocket you.

Selling men who promise too much. If you think it sounds too good for it to be true, it probably is.

Someone pushes and you fall your bag. They might help you to get your belongings back and maybe even grab a few items. It is possible for someone to drop something, and then you will find your wallet missing.

Someone spills something on you (ketchup or fake pegasus poop are common) and then tries help you clean it up. One of my friends had mustard spray on his pants while he was in Brazil. The scammer (who had just sprayed it) played the role of a local helping him clean up. He was trying to steal his wallet, but he was distracted by all the mess. He was smart enough know it was an act.

  • Senior women might slip on the sidewalks or fall off an escalator. While it might seem cruel, let’s not be afraid to ask for help and protect our valuables.
  • You should never be too grateful to anyone who appears eager to help. They might have another goal.
  • Any game, including dice and magic tricks, that is played on the streets.

Assume that there are fights, arguments and chaos in the streets. They may be trying to draw attention to a distracted crowd that is full of easy targets.

There are many types of frauds. It’s okay to not be afraid or paranoid. Keep your head up. Keep in mind that not everything that sounds too good to true is, and try to avoid any interaction with strangers while on the streets or in tourist areas. Although most people are friendly and helpful, it is important to exercise caution when travelling in unfamiliar territory.


Be patient when you get off the bus or train. You don’t want to rush or lose your passport or bag. Do a final sweep of your hotel room before you check out.

Avoid darkened areas or those that aren’t well lit at night. If you don’t see anyone, there may be a reason.

Be present with your stuff whether you’re at a restaurant, in a park or on the train. You should always keep your purse or backpack close to your body. Clip the bag to your back or wrap it around your leg. This prevents others from grabbing the bag when you aren’t looking.

Keep your eyes open in crowds. The easiest escape route for thieves is to use crowds of public transit stations. You can be robbed, bumped into and suddenly you are on a train going away from where the crime occurred. To prevent theft on subways and crowded buses, always keep your purse and bag close by. Keep your wallet in your front pocket.

Be careful when visiting major tourist spots. Paris’ Louvre is known for being pickpocketed. French staff went on strike last summer because of petty theft. While you are distracted by the Mona Lisa and taking photos, thieves will take advantage of this situation and steal your wallet or zip your purse. Be alert when you visit major tourist spots.


Everyone wants to look great while traveling but sometimes, you have to make fashion sacrifices in order to be safe. If you find it makes you feel better, then you will not see these people again. And no one at home will be able to tell about your ugly purse or money belt. You will be glad you have useful travel items to keep your belongings and yourself safe.

Wear a money belt or a neck pocket. These are not only funny, but also very practical. They will keep all your valuables safe and secure under your clothes. You should not keep your valuables in your purse or wallet if you are easily distracted or forgetful. You can reduce your vulnerability by having a money belt. You can keep your money belt on when you’re sleeping in a hostel, on an overnight train or on the train. Keep it under your clothes. It will not work and it will be useless. You can keep some cash in your pocket, and then you can load up your money belt with more cash and your credit/debit cards.

You can leave your valuable jewelry, bags, luggage, and other accessories at home. You won’t use it while traveling. It is possible to lose it and thieves will find you.

You should use a backpack or purse designed specifically for travel. These backpacks have cut-proof straps and lockable zippers. They also come with hidden pockets and other useful features for travelers. My purse was stolen from me once in Barcelona. I wish I had carried a travel bag.


Keep calm and take control in the unlikely event that you become the victim of some theft. Prepared properly (see tip #1), you’ll have quick access to all necessary documentation. You can ask at your hotel for assistance or at the local tourist office. Perhaps you could even call your family and ask them for assistance.

You shouldn’t let your frustrations affect your family, friends, and those around you who are trying their best to help. Even the most diligent traveler can have bad luck. Take care of what you need and move on. You can recover or replace everything and it isn’t worth a ruined vacation.

A police report is required for insurance claims. It can also be used to replace passports or cards. This was something I had to do in Barcelona. It was painful, but interesting. Some cities allow you to file the report online before going to the police station. I did this in Barcelona to save time.

Your passport can be replaced at the nearest embassy. Locate the nearest embassy or consulate here. Ask your hotel for assistance. You can find all the necessary paperwork online. This will make the process much easier.