In May, this year, my friends were planning to backpack across Europe. They were pretty excited for that but mostly, concerned.
They had heard about pickpockets in Barcelona and people getting robbed in Italy, so they were brainstorming about how to avoid pickpockets in Europe.
You might be worrying the same.
Europe has amazing beauty, history, art, and culture. It is a popular destination for the travelers.
But, being the popular destination, it is also most prone to theft. The pickpockets are usually in touristic crowded areas; you cannot find them.
You may be asked to take a picture, or given a rose or even get offered to clean your dirty clothes. Most of the times, the thieves work in a group and while you are focusing on something else, you get robbed.
So, for a safe travel, here are some anti-theft backpacking tips to take before backpacking through Europe.
1. Make the plan ahead and inform your family
I made this mistake before traveling to China. I had no plan whatsoever, and my family didn’t even know where I was, most of the times.
Somedays I was pretty busy, and some days I did nothing and slept in my hotel just because I didn’t have a proper plan.
Making the plans ahead will save you a lot of time and confusion while traveling.
Have an itinerary ready before you go and give the copies to your family member or close friends so that they can check up on you.
If you change the plan on the go, make sure you communicate with them as well.
2. Use anti-theft backpack
You should not let your travel be a horrible experience. Let go of the worry, and just use an anti-theft backpack.
It is the best gear for backpacking in pickpocketing prone countries. They have slash-proof technology so that the thieves cannot slit it open.
Most of the anti-theft bags come with anti RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) material to keep your personal information safe. The hidden compartment in the bag also provides extra physical security.
If you find the money belt comfortable, go ahead, use it. Having your belongings, as close to your body as possible, is safer.
3. Get a Zipper lock
If you don’t have an anti-theft backpack, or even if you do, you can add a zipper lock for extra safety. You can use the one with a number lock or with a physical key.
However, do not leave your bag alone. The thieves can easily unlock zip with a pen and get your valuables.
Keep your bag within your sight all the times. If you are in a restaurant, Keep it in the chair across your table. Take it with you even when you are going to the loo.
4. Do not carry a lot of cash
If you have a lot of cash, the chances are, you will probably lose a lot of cash in the robbery. It is best not to carry a lot while backpacking.
You can keep a day’s need of money and a little extra for emergency and leave the rest at your hotel. You should better use the safe that is provided by the hotel.
5. Split off your valuables
Do not keep all your eggs in one basket.
Split off your valuables like cash and credit cards in different places. If you lose one, you can survive with the next.
This is also useful if one of your luggage hasn’t arrived at the airport.
6. Use fake wallets
Continuing with the 5th point,
This is an interesting idea to use a wallet that contains expired credit cards and only a few bucks. If you get robbed or even get mugged, then this can save you.
7. Don’t pack sparking jewelry or valuables
Better be safe, than be flashy. You don’t want to attract the pickpockets with sparkling jewelry. (Come get me, thieves!)
Keep your iPhones in your pocket when you don’t need it. Keep your wallets inside your anti-theft bag or in the front pocket.
Again, keeping valuable as close to your body (hidden, of course!) is safer.
8. Make a copy of your important documents
It is better if you keep both electronic and manual copy of your important documents like passport, visa, credit cards, insurance, hotel bookings etc.
Even if you lose them, you can have a physical proof and also recover the information from the cloud if required.
You can produce it to your embassy and get help.
9. Dress and act like the locals
Tourists usually carry a lot of cash, therefore, making them the number 1 target for stealing.
Don’t look like a foreigner! Just blend with the locals.
Well, even if you are of different race, you can act like you have been there for a long time now. (I did the same in China!)
Pack the clothes that are usually worn in Europe at the time of the year. Use the map on your mobile, not the manual one.
Learn the language if you can. If not, you can even download the translating app.
10. Minimalist packing
This is what even I need to learn as I tend to pack my whole room in my backpack!
Here is the trick that I use:
Ask yourself, “Am I backpacking around Europe or am I migrating there?”
Do not take everything from your home. pack light. Pack only the necessities so that it doesn’t bulk and stand out.
Remember, you need a secure backpack, not a heavy one.
11. Better travel with someone else
My grandfather always said, “Travel with someone else. At least they can feed you water!”
There are lots of perks having someone to travel with: You will not feel lonely in a foreign land. If you are in trouble, your partner can call for help. She/he can take a photo of you.
As much as possible, go with someone else.
If you are planning to go alone, just be safe and enjoy to the fullest!
Happy Backpacking, Happy Traveling!
- 1. Make the plan ahead and inform your family
- 2. Use anti-theft backpack
- 3. Get a Zipper lock
- 4. Do not carry a lot of cash
- 5. Split off your valuables
- 6. Use fake wallets
- 7. Don’t pack sparking jewelry or valuables
- 8. Make a copy of your important documents
- 9. Dress and act like the locals
- 10. Minimalist packing
- 11. Better travel with someone else