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News, Interviews and recommendations from High Spirit Bags.


How to Avoid Pickpockets in France

Josh okungbaiye

Although Paris is generally  known to be a very safe city, pickpocketing remains a problem in the French capital, particularly in crowded areas like the metro and around popular tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Sacre Coeur in Montmartre.


1)     The first tip is to take only the bare essentials while sightseeing. In order to avoid theft, leave most of your valuables including your passport in a safe at the hotel or apartment where you're staying. Take along an alternative form of identification and bring along only a copy of the key pages of your passport. Furthermore, unless you're wearing a money belt, I recommend you take no more than 50 or 60 euros in cash a day.

2)     As ATM machines are considered one of pickpockets favourite spots. Stay extremely vigilant when withdrawing cash and do not offer help to anyone who wishes to "learn to use the machine" or who engages you in conversation while you are entering your pin code. Furthermore, if you can't figure out how to use the machine, never accept "help" or advice on how to use it.

3)     Pickpockets love to see an open bag, especially if it's slung over the back on a crowded Metro. Therefore, by only using bags that zip up and have a lock, pickpockets will find it harder to steal your belongings.

4)     A very smart tip is to be aware on Line 9 of the Metro. Line 9, which runs from Boulogne in the west to Montreuil in the East, and passes through Trocadero and the Champs Elysées, is known for its pickpockets. When travelling  on this line, make sure to keep your belongings close to you.

5)     Lastly, if someone approaches you with a ring or a string bracelet, do not accept either of them as they are common scams which are very difficult to refuse on placed on your wrist and finger. They will pretend they don't want them, and try and sell it to you really cheaply. That ring is not gold and the bracelet is NOT free.

Follow these tips and you will have a theft free trip in Paris!

Nicole Fernandez Medina

How to Avoid Pickpockets in Spain

Josh okungbaiye

Although Madrid and Barcelona are both wonderful, touristic cities to visit, they are both listed within the 10 worst cities for pickpocketing. Here are a few tips to follow in order to avoid pickpockets ruining your holiday full of fun and sun in Spain.


1) One popular scam in Spain is pickpockets masquerading as undercover policemen. They are known to approach you on the street and ask for your wallet. One thing you must keep in mind is policemen are unlikely to approach you unless your behaviour seems suspicious; and even so they certainly are wouldn’t ask to go through your wallet without showing you a police badge of his own.

2) Avoid ‘tourists’. If a random person comes up to you asking for directions, you are most likely going to try and help them out. As nice as this seems, you must be aware that the ‘tourist’ might have an accomplice using the distraction to pickpocket you.

3) Don’t get caught in a people sandwich. If you find yourself sandwiched between two people on the street, an escalator, or public transport, be aware that while the person in front may be blocking your way, the person behind you picks your pocket or backpack. In order to avoid theft, always wear your backpack in front of you and avoid keeping valuables in your pockets.

4) Don’t fall for the fake petition trick. Pickpockets will often approach people on the streets with a fake petition to sign. Whether you choose to sign it or not, they will ask you to donate to a ‘charity’ as a way of extorting money. Moreover, while the person holding the petition sign distracts you, pickpocket is focused on stealing your belongings. Therefore, it’s best to avoid strangers approaching you on the streets and asking for donations; don’t be fooled into thinking the money goes to a good cause.

5) Lastly, as fun as they may seem, avoid impromptu roadside games. While strolling down the street, you may come across a few people playing a card game on the footpath. No matter how enticing it is, refuse their invitation to join the game. One, they will cheat to make sure you will lose your money. Two, while you are busy playing the game, pickpockets may be enticed to steal your belongings.

Avoiding pickpockets on the Mexico Subway

Josh okungbaiye

In order to fully explore the huge dimensions of Mexico City, one must use public transport. Here are a few tips to avoid your trip being ruined by pickpockets in such a busy city.


1)     Avoid travelling on a very congested metro especially at peak times as pickpockets take advantage of the closeness to people’s belongings. Over crowded transport is where an anti theft bag comes in necessary.

2)     Do NOT keep any wallets, phones or money in your front or back pockets as they are easily accessible. Keep your belongings in a safe bag, kept close to you.

3)     Unless an anti theft bag, wear your bag in front rather on the back in order to avoid anyone opening and stealing your belongings.

4)     Have a lock on the zips in order to be extra secure and avoid anyone attempting to open your bag.

5)     Carry as little as possible, i.e the essentials. It is unnecessary to carry all your cash on you, especially in a city where not a lot of money is necessary in order to get around.


Nicole Fernandez