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Pick Pocket Safety

I have been reading a lot about pick pockets and wearing money belts. From my understanding, the money belt is worn but money is not taken out of it unless you are in a bathroom stall. So where would my husband keep his money that he is using that is not in his money belt? It's obviously not safe to have a wallet in your back pocket and it certainly won't fit in his from pockets, (and they can pick pocket the front too!) so how would he carry his money?

Posted by
12154 posts

Hi,

The bills I put in my "hidden pocket." But that is not the only place for ten and twenty Euro bills. A few go into the wallet in my front pocket, which I don't believe "they" will get anyway since it is covered by 3x5 cards clipped together by a couple of binder clips. Other ten Euro or twenty Euro bills are in the light jacket inside right pocket, which is always zipped entirely, but still can be whipped out easily for the cashier. The daily cash is not all concentrated in one place but dispersed into 3-4 places.

Posted by
1047 posts

Laura,
I would only take out money from the money belt that I need for that day. I would not worry about losing a day's worth of money and it is very unlikely that you will experience a pickpocket. If on the slight chance you do, it should only be a small amount of money that you would lose. I also accessed my money belt without having to go in a bathroom. It was no big deal. Even if someone saw me, they would have a difficult time getting the money from it. There are a lot easier ways for them to get money. Don't worry about it or you won't enjoy your trip. Go ahead and split the day's money between the two of you. It should fit into a front pocket. Don't worry and enjoy your trip!

Posted by
20970 posts

I tend to wear shirts with pockets and pants with secure pockets - zipper or velcro. My daily money is in a money clip - maybe 50, 75 Euro - goes into one of the secure pockets, the credit card in another. If I need more money during the day, I will hit a restroom to get more money from the money belt. I could get hit but the best they would get is a credit card or a money clip. The idea is to min the potential lost. I do not carry a billfold. No need.

Posted by
2348 posts

Frank is right. While no one wants to lose 50 euro or a credit card, better that than everything. So you divide it all up and mitigate the risk. My husband buys black t-shirts with a pocket, and wears a sweater over it. He keeps spending money in the shirt pocket, and big money in his money belt.

But what about you? They pick purses, too. And he shouldn't be the only one carrying money, cards, and passports. He could get hit by a bus and taken to the hospital while you're waiting for him to get back with coffee. So you also need to divide assets and mitigate risk. I don't keep any money in my day bag/purse, because I don't carry one in real life. I only carry one when traveling for maps, book, etc. I usually keep a small wallet in my bra. (Girl pocket!) I also have a waist money belt. I prefer that over a neck wallet. I may also keep a few bucks in a pants pocket. That's handy for a street musician, etc.

Posted by
2397 posts

I look for clothing that affords some protection for daily cash. One staple of my travels: the Royal Robbins convoy short. Has a zip pocket inside the front pocket. Pickpocket proof? Probably not but sure a lot harder for them. Travel smith advertises a pickpocket proof short, but I have no experience with these. Several of my Kuhl shirts have hidden pockets as well. Credit cards always stay in my money belt. The hassle of losing one would spoil the day for me.

Posted by
3421 posts

Have your husband remove from his regular wallet only the things he will really need to take on the trip. Most men carry many things in their wallets they simply don't need in Europe. Everything that needs to be taken but is not needed during a normal travel day should be in the money belt. In a secure shirt pocket (with Velcro flaps or zippers or both) he can place only the amount of money needed for the day and one credit card. Some will advise putting the money and credit card in separate secure pockets and that does have some merit. Some will also suggest putting an old, empty, cheap, wallet in the rear pants pocket to serve as a decoy. That might also have some merit -- just not real sure.

Posted by
518 posts

whether ladies or gents, it's good to have shirts/pants that have "closeable" pockets, whether that is in the form of a zipper, a flap (that closes securely with a button or velcro), or both. Such a pocket would be a great place for your "daily" money. And what about bus/tram/metro tickets? Keep those in a separate such pocket. As you go about the day getting in/out, on/off buses, metros, etc., you're going to be taking that ticket/pass in and out a alot, so don't keep your money in that same pocket just in case it slips when you take out that ticket.

Posted by
1018 posts

We take 500 Euros from the ATM at a time and this will last us at least 5 days. Daily I put 50 Euros in my wallet with one credit card and one debit card that goes in my cross body purse and hubby puts 50 Euros in his wallet (that also has his debit card) that goes in his front pocket of his pants and the rest stays back at our lodgings and daily we assess how much we need to reload. That's it. We use our Credit card for all bigger meals and entry fees, the cash is for smaller purchases like coffee or ice cream or if we want to buy a souvenir on the street. The money belt is usually only worn when we are traveling between cities on trains and planes and husband wears that. We have traveled all over with this method and have never been pick pocketed. My husbands front pocket is deep and goes to about the top of his thigh, and the same side as the wallet pocket is his cross body camera bag, so let them try but there may be an easier target elsewhere. We also have our drivers license in our wallets, in case we are unconscious they know who we are (passports stay at the lodgings). The licenses are also used as collateral at some museums for the headphone rentals. Since we only use the money belt when traveling inter-Europe the passports are never in there, they are accessible to us in my purse and husband in his backpack. You have to find what works for you. We do not change our habits when we travel as far as how we carry money, I always use a cross body at home. We are more aware, we get on trains and move away from the doors as quickly as possible, we are aware of who is around us and I have no problem saying in my normal speaking voice "watch the girl in the red coat" or whatever. I am more of the tourist and just in awe of everything I see, my husband not so much, he is hyper aware of people.

Posted by
2567 posts

Having had my wallet picked in Lisbon (I was fortunate that they only got $2 US and some credit cards I immediately cancelled.), I stopped carrying a wallet. It's a target. I find that many travelers just carry too much "stuff" with them as they are walking around. I keep one credit card in a shirt or jacket pocket where it is not noticeable and some spending money in my pants pocket. I haven't lost either since I started doing this. If I need a different card, a debit card for an ATM or additional cash, I manage to find a place to access my money belt. I look at my fellow tourists with day packs, fanny packs, large bags and wonder if they carry the same stuff around with them when at home. Travel light, travel smart.

Posted by
4522 posts

Your question is the reason I never use a waist money belt. I prefer methods that are secure against pick-pockets but more easily accessible for my regular use. I personally use a belt loop wallet that is secure to my belt, easy for me to access, but would be very difficult for a thief to slyly access. It also perfectly carries my smart phone. Many women carry secure purses or day bags - such as Pacsafe, which provide much better security against sly access than a regular purse or bag. But using a bag comes with a risk if you are the type to set the bag down, sling it over a chair or are otherwise careless with it. A neck pouch is another method that can be more easily pulled out for access but a thief cannot feasibly access.

If you do use a waist money belt, then go with the suggestions above: keep daily cash and a credit card accessible in a pocket or bag. Use the money belt for deep storage.

Posted by
396 posts

I used a joggers belt called a "flip belt" to carry my small wallet. Felt very secure, but provided very easy access. Super comfortable too.

Posted by
772 posts

I have my wife velcro my front pants pockets for my wallet and money clip and it has worked great and we always stand together on the metro.
Mike

Posted by
22 posts

I only carry what I need in an old wallet - nothing in it except for my euros for the day - in my front zipper pocket. I am always aware of my surroundings in crowded places, and in 35 years of traveling I have not been pick pocketed. Simply be AWARE in crowded places !!!

Posted by
2397 posts

The only protection against really good pickpockets is to not have anything in your pocket you are not willing to lose. When I read of folks having only 50-100 euro and a single credit card in a zippered pocket I cringe. I carry 20-30 euro in that pocket for basically pocket change. Plastic of any sort is in my money belt or in the hotel safe. I was pick pocketed in Las Vegas. They pulled my wallet, took the cash, put the wallet back! If you don't think these things are possible, see this https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8-dWSIUNF10.

Posted by
518 posts

Try ankle wallets, for deep storage. With pants on and socks on, literally impossible for a thief to get to.

Posted by
823 posts

Deep storage such as money belts, hidden pockets, etc. are for the seldom needed money. Its to be accessed only in private (or unobservable) situations.

I would suggest your husband get a "front pocket wallet" or a "money clip/card carrier combo" to store the daily cash and plastic cards. Keep this in a front pocket where it will be harder (but not impossible) to pick. If you are really paranoid, he can carry a decoy wallet in his back pocket but I've never felt the need...

Other safety strategies. When my wife and I travel overseas, we always carry two different credit cards (different issuers/accounts) and two different debit/ATM cards (different issuers/accounts) attached to checking accounts OTHER THAN our primary checking account back home. (Yes, we have three checking accounts...) That way, if a card gets lost/stolen/compromised, we have a back up. The only thing worse than having a credit card locked due to suspected fraudulent activity is to have one lost completely - especially when you're trying to check in or check out of a hotel...

Many modern banks, especially ones that specialize in "on-line" banking, allow you to "attach" accounts from other banks. This allows fee-free electronic transfer of funds from one bank to another.

Posted by
1047 posts

A scam that the pick pockets use is to shout "pick pocket" and everyone reaches for where they keep their money and then they target a victim and follow them. When their guard is down, they then try to get the money.
When I posted this before, a lot of people said they never saw this or heard someone say this and that they didn't believe it. I had heard someone yell this. I also saw people reach for where they kept their money. In addition, I was on a website regarding pick pockets and it was one of the warnings that they advised people on.

Posted by
5534 posts

Nobody has mentioned the MOST CRUCIAL money -- the €0.50 coins you need for pay toilets! The need for coins is why I carry a zippered coin purse, which also has a €20 bill or two, my expired driver's license (to be left as collateral for audio guide) and ONE credit card for daily use. Coin purse is in my cross-body bag (same style as I carry at home)

Posted by
12154 posts

In Germany at the train stations the WC facility is either Rail and Fresh or Mr Clean, both of which now charge one Euro to enter. I always kept a Euro coin in reserve no matter how empty I was in coins for that very purpose.

Posted by
486 posts

My husband carries a man bag while in Europe that has some other things he needs for the day. The bag has a snap-lock buckle closure that makes it difficult to get in the bag unnoticed. He then keeps his wallet either in the internal zippered pocket of the bag or tethered to the bag with a wallet chain. He wears the bag cross body and is extra careful with how it is positioned when we are on public transport or in areas that are heavily trafficked by pick pockets. Since there are a few extra steps needed to get to the wallet we have not had any issues of theft.