Why You Should Bring An Extra Wallet When Traveling

Attenzione, pickpocket! You've probably come across that one viral TikTok of an Italian lady chanting this phrase to unsuspecting tourists in Venice, one of the hottest tourist spots in the world, to warn them of pickpockets in the area.

According to a survey conducted by insurance website Quotezone, Italy remains the #1 European destination with the most pickpocket incidents, followed by France and the Netherlands. But just because pickpocketing is rampant at these places doesn't mean you should shy away from visiting them. You just need to find ways to outsmart petty thieves so you can roam around with peace of mind. One of the ways you can do that is by carrying a decoy or dummy wallet with you.

Dummy wallets are simply secondary wallets that you carry so you can have something to offer the thief if you're mugged. They're meant to make the burglar think that you're really handing them your actual wallet. Ideally, the wallet can be tossed to the thief before you run away, but if they insist that you stay so they can assess the contents, it should be believable enough to pass as the real thing.

Use a decoy wallet

Sometimes, thieves mug tourists. It doesn't always happen, but you still have to be extra vigilant when you're traveling in an unfamiliar place. "Theft can happen anywhere and tourist hotspots are convenient places for criminals to target wallets and purses whilst they are busy taking in the sites," Greg Wilson, founder and CEO of Quotezone, said in a statement (via USA Today). "Iconic attractions like the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Trevi Fountain in Rome are particularly popular with pickpockets as they can move more inconspicuously amongst larger crowds."

If you do get mugged, one of the smartest ways to avoid losing your money and physical harm is by handing the mugger a dummy wallet filled with unimportant items.

It would help if you used an old wallet with fake pictures of your "family" (stock photos, anyone?) to make it even more believable. It's also advised that you insert expired cash cards and receipts, as well as some cash in the local currency. Avoid putting anything that may be traced back to you, though. A Reddit user noted: "Don't put anything with personal info like an expired ID in a fake wallet. They might be crazy enough or angry enough that you tricked them with monopoly money and memes to track you down, or look you up online."

Be strategic when it comes to stashing your money

Even though a dummy wallet can offer some protection from thieves, there are other precautions you can take. As much as it is practical and convenient to use a fanny pack for your money, they're unfortunately an easy target for pickpockets. Instead, carry only enough cash that you'll know you'll spend, and then conceal it in different parts of your clothing. Keep some in your jeans pockets, your bag, your jacket, or even your shoe. You can also be extra discreet and wear clothing that can stash small items, like a bra with pockets, or a money strap that you can wear underneath your clothes.

Want advice from law enforcement? An NYPD officer told the New York Post, "While dining or shopping, do not leave your handbag over the back of a chair, on a stroller or in a shopping cart." They also warned against being bumped by someone in a crowded place, because sometimes it can be a sign that you're a target. "Be aware that this action might be related to a pickpocket," they said.