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Traveling to the Olympics? Tips to avoid pickpockets

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As the 2012 Summer Olympics approach, London officials are bracing for an influx of over 4 million visitors. Tourists will likely find themselves traveling in large crowds throughout the city, as all public transit systems are expected to experience massive overload. For the lucky few who have managed to snag tickets to any of the events, the games will certainly be memorable and exciting. However, travelers should be mindful of the potential presence of pickpockets in large crowds while watching events or traveling throughout London.

If they have purchased travel insurance, tourists may be able to recover some of their losses from theft, but there are exceptions to be aware of. First, cash is not a recoverable asset, so it is best to carry a limited amount of money.  If a policy includes protection against baggage and personal items loss, a claim can be made for stolen items, such as watches or purses. Also, if a policy includes identity theft coverage, assistance may be provided to help victims cancel credit cards and correct damaged credit from fraudulent charges. Most policies also provide a 24 hour assistance service to help travelers gain access to emergency funds if a pickpocket leaves them in a financial crisis.

While travel insurance can help, the best protection against pickpockets is vigilance. If you find yourself in crowds while traveling, proper awareness and a few simple precautions may help you avoid theft, or at least keep losses to a minimum. First, never carry all of your cash or credit cards with you. Try to leave most of your belongings at the hotel. Be sure to spread out what you are carrying; don’t hold everything in one pocket. This way, if you are pickpocketed, you will still have cash or credit cards to help you get back to your hotel. If you must use a pocket to carry your valuables, opt to use front instead of back pockets. Most importantly, remember that pickpockets are very good at what they do; don’t assume it won’t happen to you.