A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Great Wall of China
Climb Mount Kilimanjaro
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Investigative journalist Conor Woodman spent four years exploring the criminal underbelly of cities from Mumbai to Jerusalem. Here are his essential tips for steering clear of crime while travelling
Taxi driver checking bank note (Dreamstime)
Typically, the best places for counterfeit gangs to get rid of counterfeit currency are tourist hotspots because tourists don’t recognise fake notes as one of the locals would.
Taxis are really common for this. You hand them a note, then they claim it's a counterfeit. You hand them a second note and they give you a counterfeit as change, so they’ve stung you twice.
If you're paying a taxi driver with notes, jot down the last few digits on the serial number beforehand so you know which one is yours.
Souvenirs in a gift shop (Dreamstime)
Tourists like to buy expensive artefacts, especially when they visit places of religious significance. Often they splash out on high value souvenirs.
You need to be careful because there are lots of fakes on the market. It’s a matter of using your common sense. One person tried to sell me a 2000-year-old statue of Jesus. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
If you want to spend a significant amount of money, ask for a second opinion before you buy.
A phone on the table at a restaurant (Dreamstime)
A lot of thieves are targeting phones, rather than wallets, at the moment. Leaving your phone on the table is like a rag to a bull.
A common trick is to use a distraction technique, like a map. If you're sitting at a restaurant with your phone on the table and someone approaches you with a map looking for directions, take your phone off the table and put it back in your pocket before you respond. Otherwise, you might find that when the map disappears, they were using it to secretly squirrel away your phone.
This type of crime is very common in major European capitals.
A group of people drinking (Dreamstime)
Clip joints are common, often targeting groups of lads on city breaks. They shepherd you into a bar after the main ones have closed. You order a round of drinks and sometimes a girl joins you at the table. You might buy her a drink as well. Then the bill comes and it’s extortionate.
I went undercover to look at a couple of these places and got frogmarched out to the cashpoint by a massive bouncer. When you’re at a late night bar, make sure you look at the prices on the menu before buying anything.
A person stealing from a handbag (Dreamstime)
It seems obvious, but there’s a tendency for people to leave their common sense at home when they go on holiday.
For example, it’s not a good idea to hang your open handbag off the back of a chair when you’re sitting outside at a restaurant. That's just an invitation for people to come and dip in.
Thievery can be anywhere, so you need to keep your wits about you at all times.
Thief stealing a wallet from a back pocket (Dreamstime)
The front pocket of your jeans or shorts is the best place to put your wallet. You’d be amazed at how many people stick a wallet in their back pocket, especially with the way people wear their trousers these days, quite loose and baggy. That kind of thing is a pickpocket’s dream, so don't make it easy for them.
A thief stealing from a backpack (Dreamstime)
If you’re carrying a backpack most of them have two zips. A lot of people will leave the zips up in the middle. It’s best to pull both zips all the way over to one side because that makes it much more difficult for a pickpocket to get in.
Conor Woodman is an investigative journalist, author and presenter of the Scam City TV series. His new non-fiction book, SHARKS: Investigating the Criminal Heart of the Global City (September Publishing), takes readers down the lawless backstreets of cities around the world, where he uncovers the people and the scams that keep the global black economy moving.
Main image: Conor Woodman (Lou Norton)
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
The Broke Backpacker has been travelling the world for eight years on a shoestring budget. Here's his golden advice for cutting costs overseas, to travel further and longer
Adventurer Ness Knight has cycled through the US and Namibia, and is about to row across the Pacific. She reveals how to create, plan and execute your own epic adventure
To mark World Book Day, acclaimed author Mohsin Hamid chooses his 5 favourite places around the world for book lovers, from Tokyo to San Francisco
Acclaimed Danish author Dorthe Nors is an expert guide to her country, from enigmatic oceans and epic coastal walks to a very ‘hygge' capital city. These are her 5 top things to do in Denmark…
Beaches too sandy? Too many fish in the sea? Unexpected pregnancies? Here, for your amusement, are 20 of the most outrageous, ridiculous and stupid travel complaints made by tourists to their travel agents
Following a close call with cancer, Sandra Reekie discovered the joys and freedom of solo travel. Here's her story, along with specialist solo trips and our advice for how to make the most of travel-for-one
Solo female travellers shouldn’t be put off travelling in a country as colourful and diverse as India, says writer Anna Phipps. Here are her 5 practical tips for travelling safely
Terrorism is the Number One concern for many travellers. But are people too afraid? Terrorism and security expert Lloyd Figgins separates facts from fears, and tells you what you need to know to stay safe
In the excitement of booking a trip, all thoughts of your health often go out the window – Dr Jane Wilson-Howarth offers her handy pointers on how to prepare for any adventure
The cost of gear and lessons, and fear of being underwater, often puts potential divers off from taking the plunge. But being a certified diver can open up a magical underwater world. Here's how to try diving the safe way
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
£60 off your first order
Save 15% exploring Chile and staying at Tierra lodges
Save up to £600 per couple on Costa Rica Wildlife Holidays
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too