Recently Pickpocketed Rick Steves’ Rules for Evading Pickpockets in Europe

After 4,000 days of travel, the legendary traveler was pickpocketed in Paris this year

How to Avoid Pickpockets in Europe
By Tanner Garrity / August 29, 2019 1:48 pm

They finally got him.

Rick Steves, the perpetually mid-chuckle host of Rick Steves’ Europe, goes to Europe about as frequently as any of us wash our sheets. After an estimated 4,000 days of travel since 2005, it was only a matter of time before he was pickpocketed. Sure enough, it happened this summer, in Paris.

Steves wrote in his blog, “I don’t give much thought to petty crime when I travel abroad … I’m well aware that it happens. My happy streak has finally ended.”

According to Steves, the incident occurred on the rare occasion that he wasn’t wearing his money belt. He lost his his driver’s license, a bit of cash, and his credit cards — which he immediately cancelled upon returning to his hotel. Ever the teacher, Steves is determined to make sure travelers don’t repeat his mistake, and faithfully wear a money belt while out and about in European cities.

If you’re like us, and naturally associate money belts with all-white New Balance 990s, croakies, and other trappings of a goofy movie dad, head over to Amazon and find a tolerable option. It’s out of the sight (which is kind of the point), so it might be worth swallowing your pride on this one. Otherwise, Steves has a few other rules for evading pickpockets/handling a potential incident:

  • Be on guard at train stations
  • Hold your bag close to you when sitting down to rest or eat
  • Don’t be deceived by well-dressed people; they’re often the best/sneakiest pickpockets
  • Leave valuables in the hotel room (out of sight)
  • Don’t buy fancy new luggage; this will draw thieves to you
  • Make copies of key documents before you travel

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