By The Secret Traveller
I don’t want to scare you. This is not going to happen everywhere. There is no one country where all of these things are true.
But still, around the world, there are always signs that you’re about to be robbed…
You really think robbers don’t know about those things? You really think they can’t figure out what that weird bulge around your waistband is? Trust me, all it does it draw attention to the fact you’re carrying something valuable.
Nothing marks you out as a dumb tourist like staring for hours at a map. Inevitably someone will come along and help you. Maybe they will be genuinely friendly. On the other hand though, they might be coming to take advantage of a clueless traveller.
There’s no way around this. In some countries just having a white face marks you out as a target. You’re like a walking ATM to some people. They’ll either try to swindle you into paying up, or be a little more persuasive.
Very rarely is this genuine. It’s more likely the opening gambit to some sort of scam, whether that’s persuading you to visit a relative’s carpet emporium/jewellery store/tea shop/art gallery, or something more sinister, liking setting you up for a backstreet robbery.
Again, this is unfortunately rarely genuine. In some countries, like India, you’ll be offered tea 20 or 30 times a day. Some of those will be people who actually want to chat and get to know you. The vast percentage of the others will be working some sort of scam.
Yeah. Sure it is mate.
Sigh. Does this happen when you’re at home? No? Then something is probably going on here. Many is the clueless guy who’s followed their beautiful new beau to a backroom of some seedy club and found themselves being relieved of their wallet by a couple of large blokes.
It’s not guaranteed that you’ll get robbed if you go out in a foreign city on your own – however, the chances definitely increase. You’re an easier target if you’re alone. Try to make some friends at the hostel.
This is another one of those, “Hi everyone, I’m a tourist!” moments. If you don’t speak any of the lingo, you’re on the back foot from the start. Everyone knows you have no idea what you’re doing, where you’re going, what the local landscape is like. Beware.
Yoink! Not anymore it’s not.
This is a classic Roman scam – the old fake baby. Someone chucks what looks like a real baby in a blanket at you on the street. While you’re desperately trying to save this plastic doll from certain death, a couple of other people relieve you of your possessions. This doesn’t happen a lot. But it happens.
Depends where you are. Hanging out in Wellington? Then by all means, carry that handbag. Wandering around Nairobi? Get. Rid. Of. That. Thing. It just gives people something to steal.
Every robber loves an easy target, and what could be easier than a drunk stumbling around in dark places in the wee hours of the morning? You’re easily persuaded to do just about anything when you’re pissed. Including handing over your valuables.
It’s a pickpocket’s dream, public transport. All those people bumping into you, all those places for hands to wander into pockets unnoticed. This is prime robbery territory in a big city.
It’s all fun and games being adventurous until you find yourself in a sketchy neighbourhood at three in the morning and there’s no cabs around and you suddenly realise that this is an extremely bad place to be at this time of night. Good luck.
Cha-ching! That’s the sound of opportunistic robbers getting very excited when they see you pull out a huge wad of cash to pay for your drinks.
It’s sad, but even your fellow travellers will be happy to relieve you of some of your expensive stuff. Hostels that don’t have lockers are dangerous. Wander out of that room for the day and you never know what will be left by the time you get back.
Have a fun, safe & enjoyable holiday with our guide to staying safe in Bali.
1Cover’s UK Survival Guide is packed full handy hints, tips and tricks from those in the know.