There are two types of people in the world – those who still live in a sheltered world of unicorns and rainbows, and those that have learnt what the phrase “never keep your eggs in one basket” really means. Especially, if you have, or if you know people, that have been to this really eye-opening part of the world we call Eastern Europe.
Then there are the creative, paranoid ones.
Here is a list of the extremes people go to in order to hide their valuables from pickpockets. We have to admit though, some of them are pretty effective in safeguarding your money throughout your journey.
This is the person who takes dressing down to another level. We once toured Europe with a friend who wore a frayed leather jacket throughout the entire trip, and another who cut holes in her bag, then patched it back. People avoided us.
Pick-pocketing syndicates are smart and experienced. They know who to target and know tourists usually have wads of cash on them. Look local, or if you really stand out, look poor. Pretty sure pickpockets were more afraid of us lifting from them.
2. TROLLING PICKPOCKETS
Some people have decided that outsmarting pickpockets is an insult to their intelligence, and have proceeded on to the trolling level – putting fake cockroaches in small purses and leaving them in obvious places, while stuffing their cash in clean tampon or sanitary pad wrappers.
3. VELCRO SHIPPERS
Met a fellow traveler who sewed Velcro to their pockets, replaced the zipper of their bag with Velcro, and wrapped a Velcro strap around their luggage. There was no way anyone could lift anything from him without grabbing his attention.
Though, there is a way to unstrap Velcros silently…
Different from the group above whose aim is to troll pickpockets, this group of people have concluded that the most obvious of things are least conspicuous. Stashing money in empty shampoo bottles, in empty sweet containers, disguising laptops in padded envelopes, etc. Anything is possible as long as it looks inconspicuous like another object. Sky’s the limit. Just don’t get your belongings mixed up.
5. MONEY BELT WEARERS
Ever traveled with someone who always lagged behind because they had to hide their stash? How about people holding up queues because they were stripping for the cashier. Or even stripping at airport checks (hence showing everyone at the airport where your valuables are).
As much of a genius invention this is, money belts more often than not overrated, uncomfortable, inconvenient, make you sweat and look like you have a fat, bulging tummy.
6. HIDDEN STASHERS
You’ve heard all the horror stories. Of pickpockets slashing backpacks open, slashing the bottoms of your bags so your valuables fall out, unzipping your bags like ninjas, and even cutting money belts off tourists. We’ve carried backpacks while traveling and have gotten our bags zipped open EVERY time we got on a crowded subway.
This group’s solution is to hide their money inside places where it would be a little bit inconvenient for pickpockets to lift. Examples of places are the hidden slip pockets inside bags, so your valuables won’t drop even if your bag is slashed open, inside socks (yes, we have traveled with a friend who would pull money out from socks), inside shoes, in bandages, even wrapping fake bandages to store money.
7. PRIVATE HIDDEN STASHERS
People in this group take hiding valuables to a private, intimate level. Inside bras, in their underwear… manufacturers even created underwear pockets for them. If the above was making it inconvenient for pickpockets, this, is making things challenging for anyone to grab your money. However, it might come across as unhygienic, and some stores will not accept your money.
8. THE ONES WITH MORE BASKETS THAN THEY CAN KEEP TRACK OF
Ever been on a trip with that particular friend that seem to always run out of money? He/ She would visit the money changer many times and is always withdrawing money from the ATM, and you wonder where all that money goes to?
Depending on the length of your trip, this friend would find unexpected cash sometime during the trip when they are either packing to move to another city, or when hiding the fresh cash they just got. Or if the trip is short, a text that looks somewhat like this would find its way to you within hours after you’ve gone home:
“OMG? I just found $100 hidden in the lining of my luggage, $150 in my spare pouch, $100 in my money belt and $50 in one of my jeans pocket I SHOULD NOT HAVE WITHDRAWN THAT $400!”
There you have it. The 8 types of people who try to outsmart pickpockets on their travels. We’re sure you’ve seen them around before. You are probably friends with a few on the list or are one yourself. Which type of paranoid traveler are you? What other ways are there to hide your money from being stolen?
In all honesty, most people in the world are nice and, though hard to believe, are not trying to do you in. As long as you stay alert and don’t tempt people such as counting money in public or keeping cash in obvious places for the taking and leaving valuables unguarded, you will more often than not be fine. Most pickpockets try their luck and go for easy prey.