The Clever Travel Companion Updates

Bali bag snatching gone really, really bad October 04 2015, 0 Comments

Friday afternoon, here in seemingly calm, safe Canggu, Bali a young girl was seriously injured as a thief snatched her bag. According to the Canggu Community Facebook group, the thief or thieves were on the lookout just outside a popular expat café, near the main road of Canggu. As the girl drove past on her motor bike, the thief grabbed the girl's bag, that was draped across her back. The girl was pulled from her bike and suffered serious injuries as she crashed. She is apparently in stable, but still critical, condition and her friends say she will be needing several surgeries and months of rehab to recover. The girl was not wearing a helmet, exacerbating her injuries. The thieves got away with her bag and have not been identified.

Please everyone! Keep safe! Never, ever ride motor bikes without helmets! That is reckless regardless of bag snatchings: dogs can run into the street, kids play on the side of the roads, cars can swerve without notice. You would be surprised at how many foreigners we see here riding without helmets, as if they were invincible. We even see parents riding with their kids, neither wearing helmets. Accidents happen daily, we have seen more than we can remember. Thankfully, we have not seen any fatalities. Yet. Just because you are on vacation, just because there are no traffic police to enforce traffic laws, don’t forget common sense.  Please everyone, wear a helmet!

When riding your rental bikes, do not keep your handbags draped across your back. That makes you an easy target. Better yet, do not carry handbags at all in areas where there are known bag snatchings. Apparently this is not the first bag snatching here in Canggu, it happens regularly. Many other travelers on the various Canggu forums are telling stories of having their bags snatched, by young men riding past them on fast, strong motorbikes. Not only is it easy to steal that way, and easy for the thieves to get away, but it is is easy for the victims to get hurt. The force used is excessive and getting pulled off of your moving bike, or having your bag pulled from you when walking by someone passing by on a motor bike, involves a lot of brute force and you can get very badly hurt.

Indonesia, as many other countries in the region, still suffer from poverty in areas. When travelers come flashing our iPhones and iPads, and with money to spend, we become targets. Do not make yourself vulnerable. Hide your valuables, do not make it easy for anyone to steal from you. Make sure you have backup credit cards, make sure you have a copy of your passport for easy access. Make sure you know how to contact your insurance company in an emergency. Most importantly do not put yourself in needlessly dangerous situations; wear a helmet, wear a safety belt, don’t ride motor bikes in flip flops, drive slowly, hide your valuables! Easy things to do that can save your life! So please do them!


All too common sight, a tourist without a helmet, on Jalan Raya Semat in Canggu, Bali


All gone, the pickpocket got me September 20 2015, 6 Comments

Imagine this: after a long, sweaty, tiring summer of getting up every morning at 4 am, to rush out in the morning darkness, alone, hop on your bike, ride ten minutes to the drop off spot, pick up hundreds of heavy, still wet from the printer, smelly newspapers, load your bicycle packs full, the bike so heavy that you, a short, tiny 15 year old girl, can barely straighten it enough to get moving, stepping on the pedals, heavy, heavy, careful not to fall over, yet finally off to the first, of many, many, ten story building where you deliver newspaper after newspaper, jumping at every sound, scared, yet determined, the night light clicks off, you freeze, caught in darkness, stumbling to find the light switch, always were scared of the dark, still are, heart pounding, what was that sound, running down the stairs, elevator up, one newspaper per door, faster, faster. One hour passes, you hardly notice, running, delivering, one paper at a time two hours gone, finally done, simply exhausted, hands black from the ink, sweaty, smelly, achingly tired. stumbling into bed, home, rest at last, so tired, eyes groggy, sleep until ten, then summer vacation, at nine, must sleep, so tired, every evening, all summer, every day get up, work, tired, exhausted, yet so very, very proud. You did it!

Last week of summer vacation the trip to London is on! Finally! The reward! Having saved every penny for the trip, all paid by your own hard earned money, to see every nook and cranny of London, taste the food, smell the smells, experience the city, bring home clothes that cannot be found back home, souvenirs and gifts for the whole family.

First day in London, overwhelmed, all the sights and sounds, at Picadilly, you reach into your inner jacket pocket to pay for some water. The wallet is gone. You frantically search everywhere. You jeans pocket, everywhere. the wallet is gone. All your cash is gone. Every single dime you slaved for, every morning at 4 am, all summer vacation. You, a 15 year old on your first trip, paid for all by yourself, stolen from. No money. No shopping. No nothing. You cry. Yet there is nothing to be done. You feel like such a fool. The pickpocket targeted you. You didn’t notice a thing. All your money is gone.

This happened to me in 1986. I was devastated. I was exhausted. Worst of all I felt so stupid. I could have prevented it.  A whole summer spent working, and in a few minutes it was taken from me.  In London I had no money to do anything. This was before credit cards, before easy Paypal transfers. I had brought all my money in cash. There was nothing to do. All my money was gone.

Years later, the Clever Travel Companion is my way of getting back and helping other travelers stay safe on their travels. I designed the Clever Travel companion's gear because there was nothing else out there that could fool pickpockets. I use my own designs everywhere we go! No one will target you if you are well prepared. Do not think it will not happen to you. Pickpockets do not discriminate: make it difficult for them at least. Before you travel remember:

  1. Keep the bulk of your money zipped up and hidden.
  2. Keep only what you need in a regular pocket or handbag. Pickpockets know where to look. If they target you, make sure the will not get much.
  3. Travel insurance. If the worst happens, make sure you are covered.
  4. Passport: have a photocopy of your passport, it makes things easier to get a new one, in case your id’s are stolen.
  5. Use your hotel safe. It is there for a reason.
  6. Don’t flaunt it. Any pickpocket can see you are a tourist. They know you have money to spend. You already have a target on your back, don’t make it bigger. Hide your valuables, don’t hang anything on the back of your chair, don’t keep your handbag loosely draped over your shoulder, don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket or outside pocket of your backpack.
  7. Watch out for over friendly locals ‘helping you’. Groups of pickpockets often work together, a couple will divert your attention, while another steals from you. Be aware.

Testing out our new (coming in October) two pocket leggings and one pocket tank on the beach in Seminyak, Bali.

Pickpockets in the Middle East? You can bet your bottom dollar on it. September 17 2015, 0 Comments

If you have been keeping up with our blog, you know by now that pickpockets are everywhere. However, when tourists think of dangers that might await them in the Middle East, pickpocketing generally isn’t at the top of the list - some travelers don’t even consider it all. But believe you me, it does happen. Pickpockets have been arrested in Mecca, Saudi Arabia for stealing passports and wallets from pilgrims praying at the Grand Mosque. In Egypt, a pickpocket was arrested for stealing from worshippers at the Prophet’s Mosque. Pickpockets are also very common in the crowded markets known as souks. Take a look at our ranking of the worst ten countries for pickpockets in the Middle East below. Please note that Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, and Yemen do not report crime statistics for the public to view. There is a good chance that these four countries should be included on this list, but the data simply is not available.

Top 10 Middle Eastern Countries for Pickpocket Crimes (thefts per year)

  1. Turkey - 120,731

  2. Egypt - 87,129

  3. Israel - 70,809

  4. United Arab Emirates - 14,984

  5. Jordan - 13,509

  6. Georgia - 11,371

  7. Kuwait - 8,129

  8. Bahrain - 7,598

  9. Syria - 6,509

  10. Oman - 5,515

Wearing Clever Travel Companion clothing while traveling anywhere is a must. Remember, our clothes are designed to keep your passport, credit cards, cash, and other valuables completely safe. Our shirts and underwear are completely pickpocket-proof. There is simply no way a pickpocket could take your valuables from our hidden, zippered pockets.