Overseas travel of any kind - even to such cosmopolitan and cultured cities as Barcelona - demands careful attention to your personal safety and the security of your belongings. Pickpockets in any nation are ruthless in their targeting of tourists, so it's always wise to take certain steps to protect yourself and your possessions from a nimble-fingered thief. Our video, featured above, provides eight simple steps on how to avoid pickpockets in Barcelona, ensuring that your enjoyment in this wonderful city of art, culture, and vibrancy isn't compromised by the actions of unscrupulous pickpockets. Below, we look at those eight steps in more detail.
1. Don't put things in your back pocket.
Though common sense dictates that putting valuables in your back pocket is a risk regardless of destination, in areas packed with bustling crowds it presents even greater opportunity to potential thieves. Keep any essential items closer to hand and preferably in a secure bag or money belt.
2. Invest in a bag that isn't easy to open.
For many people heading away on holiday, style often takes precedence over practicality. And, while the latest rucksack or handbag may be at the cutting edge of fashion as you stroll down Las Ramblas, they can often be simple to access for pickpockets. Make sure you buy a travel bag that is difficult for strangers to access - preferably one with more than a simple button or zip to open.
3. Face the front of your bag towards your body.
Once you've invested in a suitable travel bag, turning the opening to face your body will act as a further line of defence against pickpockets. It may seem like a simple solution, but could make all the difference when it comes to keeping your belongings safe during your time in Barcelona.
4. Don't count your money in public.
Pickpockets prey on easy targets, so counting your money in clear view of passersby will alert potential thieves to precisely what you're carrying and where it's stored. Ensure you count your money away from cash points and in secluded areas, away from prying eyes.
5. Load money onto a travel money card.
Available at post offices, banks, and from other retailers, a travel money card acts in the same way as a traditional debit card. Instead of withdrawing cash during time away, simply load your travel money onto the card before departure and use it to pay wherever debit cards are accepted. In addition, a travel money card offers the same protection as a credit/debit card with Chip & PIN security, meaning that in the event of theft, your money will be protected.
6. Keep cards and cash in separate places.
While keeping your bank cards, travel documents, and cash in one place makes things easier for you, it also makes it easier for a pickpocket to relieve you of all items in one fell swoop. Keep items in different pockets and bags - or even invest in a money belt for added security - to ensure that, in the unfortunate event that you fall prey to a pickpocket, you don't lose all your belongings.
7. Keep your bag secure.
When sitting down in a bar or restaurant, it's worth wrapping the handle of any bag around the leg of the chair you're sitting on, thereby making it impossible to steal. Similarly, facing the opening of your bag towards you means that pickpockets will be less able to access any of your belongings without raising suspicion.
8. Keep your wits about you.
As noted above, thieves and pickpockets like nothing more than an easy target. By making the effort to protect yourself from the actions of petty criminals and by carrying yourself with complete confidence, pickpockets will soon look elsewhere and leave you to enjoy your time in Barcelona free from concern. A holiday to any destination demands you pay heed to potential risks posed by pickpockets, but you should never let any concerns limit your enjoyment of a getaway. By following these few simple steps and using common sense, you can visit the city of Barcelona free from worry, and simply discover the endless array of attractions that make it one of Europe's most compelling destinations.
Do you know how to spot a pickpocket? Check out our video and guide - 'How to Spot a Pickpocket in Barcelona' and find out what you should look out for.