Barcelona, Spain is one of the world’s best travel destinations, but unfortunately, as with many popular tourist destinations, it is also teeming with pickpockets. In fact, it’s one of the world’s worst cities for pickpockets, so no matter how seasoned a traveler you are, you’ll want to take precautions.
Here are some safety tips that will help you avoid getting pickpocketed in Barcelona.
Choose the right bag and wear it correctly
The best bag to have with you in Barcelona is one that lets you use your body to keep the opening closed when you’re on the move.
If you are carrying a tote bag, that means keeping your arm firmly pressed over the opening, or even carrying it in front of you with a hand over the opening in crowded places. If you are carrying a backpack, wear it in front of you and consider putting a small, affordable lock on the zipper. While a lock won’t deter pickpockets in a crowded place, it can at least slow them down.
The worst bags to carry are sling or cross-body bags, as the bag will be hanging out of sight at the level of your waist or hip, making it a key target for pickpockets.
Don’t keep anything valuable in your pockets
Avoid keeping anything valuable in your pockets. It sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re trying to find your way to the next tourist attraction, it’s easy to forget just for a split second and slip your smartphone into your coat pocket as you fumble for your guidebook.
All it takes is a second for a pickpocket to spot you slipping something into your pocket. So remember to keep your pockets off limits at all times.
Don’t dress expensively
You might be able to wear your Rolex watch or carry your Chanel bag in Singapore without worrying about being robbed, but in Barcelona, any expensive items or clothing will make you stand out as a wealthy tourist with large amounts of cash on you.
So save your favorite outfits for when you get home and dress in a low-key way. Avoid wearing expensive watches or jewelry no matter how subtle, as pickpockets are trained to spot these from a mile away.
Walk confidently and look you know where you’re going
As a visitor from Singapore, you might stand out because of the color of your skin, but you can discourage pickpockets nonetheless by carrying yourself with confidence and looking like you know where you’re going, rather than keeping your eyes glued to a guidebook or Google maps.
Pickpockets are more likely to target someone who looks lost or preoccupied with his or her surroundings.
Be careful who you talk to
As a tourist, you might be eager to interact with the locals, but be very careful if somebody approaches you to ask for directions or the time, or simply to make small talk.
Pickpockets often work in pairs, with one person talking to tourists to distract them and the other pickpocketing them during the conversation. Another tactic is to get you to take something out of your bags, such as your passport or guidebook, and then have their partner swipe something in your bag when you’re unaware.
That doesn’t mean you need to avoid speaking to locals altogether. Just make sure you always hold your bag securely in front of you when talking to anybody, and never open your bag even if the person asks to see something inside it.
Buy travel insurance
Never go overseas without first protecting yourself with a good travel insurance policy.
Travel insurance not only offers protection when it comes to lost luggage and medical expenses but can also protect you from theft.
Travel insurance from HL Assurance protects you from the theft of money, valuables and travel documents. Check the HL Assurance website for the latest deals, and to compare travel insurance policies to find the best one for you.