How not to get mugged overseas

Whether it’s having your wallet stolen on the subway or being attacked for your valuables, being robbed can ruin a holiday. Follow these tips to avoid being mugged while travelling overseas.

Look less like a tourist. You know those specialty walking shoes, the quick dry trousers, that fold-away rainbird and the nylon camera case you’re planning to take? They may be convenient, but they make you stand out like a sore thumb. When travelling wear your normal clothes – jeans, a skirt, a t-shirt. Whatever you would normally wear. Take your normal handbag, and instead keep your valuables in a travel pouch tucked under your clothes. The handbag is for your scarf and an umbrella.

If it’s not too big, keep your camera in your hand and put your hand in your pocket when you’re walking around. It keeps it out of sight, making you less of a target.

Don’t be drunk. This one may seem obvious, but it’s also the most common mistake travellers make. If you’re drunk then you’re a potential target, so save the nightcap for when you’re back in your hotel or apartment.

Whether you’re sitting outside at a cafe or you’re out to dinner in a fancy restaurant, never hang your backpack or handbag on the back of your chair. Keep it in sight, preferably on your lap.

Keep your wallet in the front pocket of your trousers, not the back.

Don’t keep all your valuables in one place. Keep money in your wallet, as well as in a money belt and the lining of your suitcase. This way if you do get into trouble, you aren’t left cashless.

Click NEXT to read more tips on how to avoid the danger of muggers.

Be careful in crowds standing around street performers. It’s easy to get distracted, making you an easy target.

Carry a decoy phone and wallet. If you do end up in a situation where someone is demanding one or both, you can hand over a basic wallet with a little bit of cash and walk away with your real wallet stashed somewhere safe.

When travelling on the bus or train, keep your bag on your lap, not in an overhead compartment or on the floor.

Treat your credit cards like the US President and Vice President – ensure you have one of each, and never let them travel together. This way if you lose one, you’ve got a backup.

Wear a cheap watch. You don’t need your $300 gold-plated number. They’ll both tell the time, and only one is worth stealing.

Know where you’re going. If you haven’t mapped out your day you could very easily become lost and end up somewhere less safe than you’d normally venture to.

Don’t always trust your hotel safe. People often advise you to leave your valuables locked inside, but not all hotels are trustworthy and it’s likely your hotelier has a spare key to every safe in the building. If it really matters to you, strap it to your body, wear it under your clothes and never let it out of your sight.

Make eye contact. If someone is going to rob you, they’re looking for a target who is unaware and who never sees their face. If you see someone coming closer, following you or even just looking with interest, be confident. Make eye contact, nod to acknowledge that you’ve seen them and if you can say ‘how’s it going?’ in their native language, that’s even better.

Do you have another tip for avoiding being robbed when travelling? Share your knowledge or experiences in the comments below.