Trying Not to Look Like a Tourist October 15 2012, 0 Comments

Being a tourist can sometimes put a big target on your back. There are people who make their entire living off scamming and pickpocketing travelers. Being aware of your surroundings can help keep you from being a victim. Plan each day out before you leave your accommodation and make sure to keep out the appropriate amount of cash and one credit card in a convenient place and keep everything else in your stash pocket. This way, if you DO get robbed, the stolen money and items will be negligible. You’ll still have back-up cash and credit to continue with your trip and will only have to report one card stolen.

Whenever you travel, looking like a tourist can be a bad thing. So, how can you keep yourself from looking like a gullible target?

  • Dress less “American”. In Europe, wearing shorts or baseball caps are automatic flags that you don’t belong. Do some research on the clothing in the destinations you will be visiting and try to pack some appropriate items. You probably don’t own a burqa, but you can pack a head scarf and long skirt. You won’t completely fit in, but you’ll at least not look totally inexperienced.

  • Keep the map in your pocket. You probably don’t know where you’re going while on vacation, but try to keep map-reading to a minimum when you’re out in public. With your nose in a map, it announces that you are a traveler and also not paying attention to what’s happening around you.

  • Don’t flash your money. Nothing will get you robbed faster than counting money out in the open. Keep the least amount of cash in your wallet or pocket as possible, because pulling out a big wad of cash to pay for lunch or a bus ticket basically just says, “Rob me!”

  • Stop texting and walking. When you’re busy texting, you aren’t aware of your surroundings. While it’s always a good idea to keep directions and maps on your smart phone, it’s not wise to just walk around staring at your phone everywhere you go.

  • Watch out for begging children. Children can be innocent looking, but don’t let them fool you. Many work in groups and while several are asking for candy or change, another one can be stealing your wallet right out of your pocket.

  • Stay sober. When you drink, you become less wary of situations and people. It’s a lot easier to steal from someone who isn’t completely themself. You are also more susceptible to falling victim to worse things than being robbed.

  • Travel with a friend. It always helps to have another person with you so you can both keep an eye on each other. It’s harder to pickpocket someone when they have someone watching their back. Of course it’s really easy to rob someone when they are absorbed in conversation and are focusing all their attention on their travel partner. When traveling as a family, it can be harder to split your attention between what’s going on around you and your children. You might be used to being leery of others around your kids, though, so that experience will help in spotting sketchy behavior.

  • Go your own way. Tour groups are often big scores for pickpockets. They can see them coming a mile away and those on board act as though they are untouchable. Most tour vacations don’t give you a traditional trip experience, because you are shuttled from one destination to another and you travel with a whole group of tourists. If you choose to travel this way, make sure you still research your destination on your own and keep your eyes open for thieves, just as you would when traveling on your own.

It can be fun to be a tourist, but may take a bit of research to not seem like one. Walking around like you know where you are and where you’re going is always best. If you find yourself lost, duck into a shop and ask the staff there for directions or stop at a café and find info on your smartphone while enjoying a coffee or snack. You never want to announce to strangers on the street that you are clueless. Even though most people can be trusted, you may just ask that one person who can’t be and put yourself in a sticky situation.

  • Don’t flash your money. Nothing will get you robbed faster than counting money out in the open. Keep the least amount of cash in your wallet or pocket as possible, because pulling out a big wad of cash to pay for lunch or a bus ticket basically just says, “Rob me!”

  • Stop texting and walking. When you’re busy texting, you aren’t aware of your surroundings. While it’s always a good idea to keep directions and maps on your smart phone, it’s not wise to just walk around staring at your phone everywhere you go.

  • Watch out for begging children. Children can be innocent looking, but don’t let them fool you. Many work in groups and while several are asking for candy or change, another one can be stealing your wallet right out of your pocket.

  • Stay sober. When you drink, you become less wary of situations and people. It’s a lot easier to steal from someone who isn’t completely themself. You are also more susceptible to falling victim to worse things than being robbed.

  • Travel with a friend. It always helps to have another person with you so you can both keep an eye on each other. It’s harder to pickpocket someone when they have someone watching their back. Of course it’s really easy to rob someone when they are absorbed in conversation and are focusing all their attention on their travel partner. When traveling as a family, it can be harder to split your attention between what’s going on around you and your children. You might be used to being leery of others around your kids, though, so that experience will help in spotting sketchy behavior.

  • Go your own way. Tour groups are often big scores for pickpockets. They can see them coming a mile away and those on board act as though they are untouchable. Most tour vacations don’t give you a traditional trip experience, because you are shuttled from one destination to another and you travel with a whole group of tourists. If you choose to travel this way, make sure you still research your destination on your own and keep your eyes open for thieves, just as you would when traveling on your own.

It can be fun to be a tourist, but may take a bit of research to not seem like one. Walking around like you know where you are and where you’re going is always best. If you find yourself lost, duck into a shop and ask the staff there for directions or stop at a café and find info on your smartphone while enjoying a coffee or snack. You never want to announce to strangers on the street that you are clueless. Even though most people can be trusted, you may just ask that one person who can’t be and put yourself in a sticky situation.