Regardless of whether you are at home or on the road, theft is an unfortunate fact of life. However, there is no doubt that we tend to be more conscious about the possibility of being robbed or having our stuff stolen while traveling. Strange surroundings combined with unfamiliar people and customs often give the traveler little time to stay 'on guard' and keep their belongings in check as they take in the sites and sounds of a new land.
Becoming paranoid is not the way to avoid becoming the victim of theft. Criminals can (and do) make a sustainable living by taking that which is not theirs. But by preventing the opportunity for a thief to prey on you, the risk is significantly reduced. Use some common sense and appear in control of what ever situation you are in: avoid looking lost or confused, pay attention to your surroundings and be discreet when using money or revealing your valuables. Combine this with the tips below and you will surely reduce your chances of getting ripped off by thieves:
Do After a Theft
If you are a victim of theft, there are several things you should do right away. First, look around and see if you can find any remains of your belongings. Thieves will often take a bag and then just leave it after taking out what is valuable to them. Whether you find your bag or not, take inventory and try to find out exactly what was taken. If it was your daypack that was stolen, you probably had only select items in it. Then, report the theft to the local police and hope that they are remotely concerned about your misfortune. Be sure to obtain a file form from the police for insurance purposes.
If any traveler's checks or credit cards were stolen, you will want to notify the appropriate agencies to cancel the cards and look into obtaining new checks. If your passport is taken, you should notify your embassy immediately. You do have copies of important documents and credit card phone numbers written down don't you? Some embassies might even pay for your flight home if you can prove just how destitute you really are. At least, they can help you arrange to have money sent from home if that is what you require.
Although being a victim of theft is a major setback, it is truly not the end of your trip. Hopefully insurance will cover any valuables that were in your bag. Financially, if you are prepared ahead of time, you can obtain replacements and minimize your losses. The key is to be proactive and avoid becoming a victim of theft in the first place.