If you haven’t already read the post detailing my personal experience getting pickpocketed in-flight between Sarasota, FL and NYC, then you should definitely check it out to see why following these pickpocket prevention tips could save you a lot of hassle and MONEY!
1. Carry cash and cards on yourself and in your front pockets- not in your carry-on, not in your purse, not in your luggage…
When flying be particularly careful about where you store your carry-on. Preferably use a modest sized backpack and keep it under the seat in front of you. If you have to use the overhead storage compartment, try to store your item in front of where you are sitting. I had my wallet, groupons, and itinerary involuntarily reappropriated whilst flying to NYC.
2. Get TSA approved locks for your backpack and carry-on in addition to your luggage.
This only applies if you plan on traveling in the US, otherwise use any lock you want. I say this because you are better safe than sorry when it comes to preventing pickpocketing. Preventing the theft is easier than coping with a disaster like the one I experienced. You can normally find the locks in sets of 5 or so with 5 matching keys, which allows you to keep a backup key in your wallet, on your key chain, in your purse…
3. Don’t carry all your cash and all your cards together in the same pocket.
If you get pickpocketed, they probably won’t get both pockets. Use a small money clip and a card holder. Make it a habit to keep your cards on the right and your cash on the left. Also, I recommend putting a $100 bill and a second form of ID in the pocket of a pair of pants you have packed in your luggage. If you are ever robbed and lose everything, you should at least have a little cash until you can get to a bank with ID.
4. Don’t travel using just cash.
It sounds rudimentary, but when people travel they do odd things like carrying several hundred dollars in cash in their wallet, then storing said wallet in a front pocket of a man-purse in the overhead compartment on a 2-hour flight after having a couple martinis… Anyhow, I digress.
To start, traveling with all cash leaves you highly vulnerable to catastrophe if something goes wrong with your cash stockpile. Second, you become a target every time a potential pickpocketer sees those Benjamin’s in your money clip (store small bills on the outside of your money clip). Third, the exchange commissions at airports will almost certainly be multiples the fee you would pay for just using your debit card at the ATM. This is the 21st century; VISA is global.
5. Get the world’s most ghetto fabulous fanny pack…
Wearing it in the front says, “I’m prepared, I’m invincible, I don’t care how ridiculous I look, no one is going to pick my pockets…”
But don’t wear it backwards… Pickpocket Prevention 101!
Wearing it backwards says, “I have more dollars than sense. I probably have a ton of cash, credit cards, my passport, an iPhone, and my social security card all sitting back here waiting to be picked!”