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Category: Money

5 Pickpocket Tricks To Use Against Them When Traveling

aer travel pack 2

Part of any good security strategy is to learn from what the other side you’re trying to protect yourself from is doing. You can’t always avoid an elite pickpocket or completely prevent getting robbed at knife point – but what you can do though is minimize your losses by thinking like the criminal who wants to steal from you.

Your personal security plan needs to have many legs to stand on as well as distractions to keep your real valuables safe.

1. Distribute Your Money

Always distribute your valuables in several places when you travel. This include both on your person, in you bag, and your hostel or hotel room. Never keep all of your money in the same place. You can hide some emergency cash in deep in your socks, in the side of your underwear or in a bra and in your front pocket as well. While you may get robbed or pickpocketed you’ll have minimized your loses.

hotel room pakistan lahore falettis

For extreme circumstances do the same and have some money hidden in your hotel room too. Some in the safe if there is one and inside of a dirty sock in your laundry. Have kids? Their toys make great hiding spots.

2. Use A Decoy

Your wallet is the first target of any pickpocket so make it where you keep your least valuable stuff. Put in a small (but not tiny amount) of money along with some of those inactive (or expired) credit cards you get in the mail. If you don’t get any in the mail cancel your current card and request a new one from your bank – instant decoy. Include a student ID or some other photo identification with no personal information on it. A wallet without an ID might give you away.

trove wallet

Make sure your wallet doesn’t have sentimental value and never keep important things in a big purse – they are very easy targets.

3. Set a Trap

A decoy can be a way to potentially set a trap for a pickpocket. It won’t work in all places but if your bank offers a free checking account or credit card with no fees and is free open one up. Keep this card (with no money in the account) in your decoy wallet. If it’s stolen call the credit card company or bank right away to let them know.

ridge wallet

In most countries the companies will keep close track to see where and if that card is used. If there happens to be a camera at the first place the pickpocket tries to use the card you may be in luck.

4. Make Your Things Ugly

There are several techniques on how to make uglify your camera but the same premise goes for all of your valuable electronics. Get over the need to keep your things shiny since they won’t do you any good if they’re enticing and get stolen. Stickers, worn duct tape, and ugly carry bags work too.

red iphone 11

Oh, and that iPhone – be careful where you flash it. If you’re traveling in a place and worried about the area bring along the cheapest, oldest Nokia you can find and save the Twittering until you can get back to the hotel.

5. Set Up A Camera System

Hotel rooms can be vulnerable spots for your stuff and not all come with safes. You can though use an old smartphone as a security camera to monitor your things and get an alert if anything is disturbed. Also, while we’re at it, always use a “Do Not Disturb” sign and only have your room cleaned while you’re in it (and have packed away your valuables beforehand).

Be Creative and Add More Legs

There are plenty more ways to be shadier than thieves – be creative! Unique hiding spots, zipping your backpack like this, and other tricks are fun to come up with and there are almost an unlimited number of them. The important thing it to have more than one self-security plan and have your strategy stand on many legs so you always have a backup or two.

This is an updated version of a post I originally shared for a now-defunct travel blog in 2009.

How Much To Tip Movers, Hairdressers, And More In The U.S.

tip jar

Tipping is a confusing in the United States. For visitors it can be hard to understand why the “typical 15%” isn’t always the right amount not to mention industries from hotels, hairdressers, tattoo artists, to nail salons all have their own tipping etiquette. You could argue employees should be paid a living wage where salaries don’t have to be subsidized by customer tips (and you’d be right) but until that’s the case, here’s how much to tip in the United States for common services.

Bars & Restaurants

Unless it’s clearly stated otherwise, a minimum 15% tip is expected at all restaurants and bars. You may leave 20% for exceptional service or up to 25% on smaller purchases, like a cup of coffee. At bars, leave at least a dollar per drink is there is no table service. At cafes without table service there is often a tip jar. The 15-20% rule does not generally apply in these circumstances, leaving small change or a few dollars (based on the cost of your overall order) is acceptable.

This map is now available in app form! TipFox is available on the App Store and Google Play.


tipfox ios app store     tipfox google play android
Barbershops & Hairdressers

The standard rule of thumb applies to barbers and hairdressers which is to say expect to tip 15-20%. Tips at barbershops and hairdressers are typically given in cash (so be prepared) but some will accept tips by credit card when you’re done. In cases where tips are collected by credit card it’s important to ask how the tips will be distributed to make sure any assistants who may have helped you are also being tipped.

Salon assistants (for example, those washing your hair) may not be getting a share of the tips being collected. It’s best to check with the receptionist to be sure but if they’re not, then a standard $5-10 is appropriate for each assistant who’s personally attended to you. For hairstylists who are spending more than 3 hours with you (working on cut, color, or other services) then you may want to consider tipping more, around 22-25%.

For quick touchups (like bang trims) that are shorter than 10-15 minutes, a tip of $5-10 is still considered a common courtesy.


Moving into a new place? For movers transporting your things over long distances (anything further than across town) 15-20% of the total cost of the move is expected. For shorter, across town moves, 5-10% is more common. For difficult moves or particularly good service, a tip of 10-20% of the total cost will be appreciated. Alternatively, flat fee tips are generally acceptable. In those cases, $20-30 per crew member (for shorter moves) and closer to $40 for longer moves (between cities or cross country).

spiral stairs

In case a piano is part of the move, $20-40 per mover. For furniture deliveries typically $5-10 a person is expected but consider $10-20 if there’s assembly involved or otherwise more difficult circumstances (e.g. spiral stairs).

Tattoo Artists

Getting some ink? A 15-20% (generally closer to 20%) tip is expected. Tips should be given once the work is complete.

Massage Therapists

A 20% tip of the total cost is expected. Some spas will have the tip included in the rate (so be sure to check with reception) or will not allow tipping at all. Double check to make sure you know the rules.

Nail Salons

Tips of 15-20% are expected. For shorter services like manicures or new nail sets tip closer to 20-25%. You should check with your technician if tips are left at the front desk or given directly to them. Keep in mind most places will prefer cash, so arrive prepared.

Food Delivery

A 15-20% tip is expected. For fast food deliveries under $10 a $2-4 is expected.

Going Abroad?

Tipping is a global phenomena everywhere except where it’s not. Be sure to keep up with how much to tip for everything around the world before your next trip and download TipFox which puts specific tipping advice automatically on your phone (available for iOS and Android).

Comparing Slim Wallets: Ekster vs. Trove vs. Ridge

Slim wallets are a trimmed down to the realities of carrying money in the modern world. They’re focused on cards mainly, with little space for cash or coins since fewer of us pay with physical currency these days. Although they are svelte, three of the biggest slim wallet manufacturers all do things a little different in their design.

That’s not to say one is better than the other but as you can see in the video above between Ekster, Trove, and Ridge, here’s how to decide which one might be best for you.

Slimness: Winner, Ridge Wallet

Ridge wallets are two pieces of metal with an elastic band that holds both sides together. The metal, which comes in aluminum, titanium, or gold, is highly durable while also fitting into the Ridge ethos of minimalism. Ridge wallets are perfect for people who carry mainly cards although they do have an optional money clip or cash strap for bills. There’s no place for coins and receipts or other odd papers.

Runner Up: Ekster Aluminum Wallet

The Aluminum Wallet [full review] has a slick trigger that displays your cards in paper fan fashion making them easily accessible. Ekster have also included a cash strap. Much like the Ridge, the Aluminum Wallet is slim; the major difference being its thickness is fixed, no matter how many cards you’re carrying.

Versatility: Winner, Ekster Parliament Wallet

The Parliament is almost a hybrid of a traditional fold wallet and a slim wallet. It’s got a fold, increasing the overall thickness but that gives you space for cards, cash, and receipts as well. You might be shopping for a wallet that’s trim but not excessively slim and the Parliament fits that niche well.

Runner Up: Trove Wallet

The Trove Wallet is a highly configurable design which three pockets based on an internal fold. You’ve got plenty of space for cards, as well as a small crease for cash or receipts, all in a slimmer form factor than the Parliament.

Price: Winner, Trove

The Trove line of wallets, including the Coin Caddy and Cash Strap, start at 30 British pounds (roughly $40). Compare that to the Ridge, which run around $125 and up, or the Ekster line in the $80 range. Trove are least expensive slim wallet option of the three by a considerable margin.

Which Is The One For You?

Depending on your needs or who you’re shopping for the Ridge is a higher-end wallet with a focus on minimalism. Ekster tend to make slim wallets for people who like the traditional feel and look of a folding wallet, whereas Trove is a creative take on slim wallets for people who want versatility in a small package.

You can watch the videos above to see more details about each of these slim wallets. If you’re new to slim wallets, no matter which one you go with, it will take a week or so to get used to one. After that you’ll wonder how you ever carried a bulky traditional wallet at all.

How To Use Travel Blogs To Plan A Trip

travel blog pizza

There are a lot of travel blogs on the Internet but as websites keep procreating, many independent sites get lost under search garbage. Travel blogs used to be a primary source of vacation planning until everyone and their weird relatives hopped on Facebook to scream at each other. Still, there are many independent creators focused on writing specific and personalized information about the places you want to go.

Here’s how to find and use travel blogs to plan a better trip than a bland web search can get you.

The Benefit Of Blogs

As clearly biased as this is going to sound, blogs are probably the most free places online. Generally independent from the pressures of algorithms (like YouTube), few worries of shadow banning, and not being like based, many blogs are run by people who inherently enjoy sharing information. Blogs typically live and die by Google search results and since competing with larger sites on common searches has become more difficult, crafty bloggers tend to get specific. Really specific, like the “the best way to get a taxi in Istanbul.”

best taxi istanbul

Blogs are often updated more frequently than tent pole pages in mainstream media because there are a lot of travel bloggers, blogging about somewhere you want to go, at any given time.

Finding Good Travel Blogs

Sifting through abandoned blogs and sites made purely for search engine optimization (SEO) to find quality travel blogs isn’t too difficult. To find a site first, enter in the search term you’re looking for (e.g. “best places to eat in Moldova“) followed by “travel blog.” This sounds silly I know, but entering in “best places to eat in Moldova travel blog” will get you past Google’s generic recommendations and a bunch of bland TripAdvisor recommendations.

Ratings from those sites, short reviews written by anonymous people, and everything being 4.7 stars doesn’t actually give you useful travel advice. But by searching through travel blogs you get detailed articles such as solo female travel in Bangladesh by locals, expats like Turkey’s For Life, and travelers who’ve extensively explored a destination (how about Alaska).

tokyo japan

It’s a good idea to look at the dates of posts to see how recent they are and check the latest posts to see how fresh a given blog is. A lot of blogs don’t add dates to posts because of a misguided understanding of SEO (please, stop doing that) so seeing how active a given blogger is on social media can help with your site freshness check.

How To Use Travel Blogs

Many travel blogs have information categorized by destination or country, mode of travel, or even cuisine. Depending on the site design, I recommend going to the “blog” or “about” pages. The blog page will usually show you recent topics and the about page will give you an idea about the person writing everything. Does the blogger travel like you, have the same interests when visiting a city… there’s a lot you can learn.

Some travel bloggers also run diverse tours and can be contacted with feedback – a lot of us are happy to help. Your question might even turn into an entire blog post about how to use travel blogs to plan your next trip.

Although they’re not as easy to find through a Google search (try DuckDuckGo anyone?), the blogosphere is thriving, independent, and full of useful advice and thoughtful creators. Once you find a blog or blogger that vibes with you and is especially helpful, make sure to sign up for their newsletter, YouTube, or other social channels to keep up in between trips and have a handy resource before the next one.

App Shows You How Much To Tip After Your Next Meal Around The World

tipfox how much to tip worldwide

Tipping is something that can feel really foreign when you’re traveling and don’t know how much to leave after a meal, taxi ride, or haircut. Solving such dining dilemmas is TipFox by dropping down a notification to show you exactly how much to tip for everything around the world. The latest version of the app I developed, TipFox Premium adds a host of features in addition to (still) working offline and 24 hour responses to your specific money questions.

tipfox ios app store     tipfox google play android
Tour Guides, Safaris, And More

Included in TipFox are best practices on tipping for travelers, beyond just meals. Open the app to see whether tipping is customary, if you should round up, or where tips aren’t expected but appreciated. Specific activities like how much to give your safari guide in Kenya, a hairdresser in Turkey, or on a tuktuk ride in Thailand is shown in the details of each location.

tipfox premium

Notifications And Live Support

The latest version of TipFox Premium levels up with a few useful features. First, automatic notifications based on your location with all the tipping information you need on the spot. Additionally, you can subscribe for updates for a particular country or city when you’re planning for a trip. On top of that if you have any specific questions you can ask one of our local experts through TipFox and ask what’s an acceptable way to tip your home stay in say, northern Japan.

You can also subscribe to any comment threads to connect with your fellow travelers and get advice from locals, all within 24 hours.

Try It Free For 30 Days

TipFox is now available available on the App Store and Google Play (the most recent updates are currently in development for Android). You can upgrade to TipFox Premium within the app, which unlocks all of the features described above and try it free for one month!

Hopefully TipFox helps you travel smarter, by being a more courteous traveler who knows how much and how to, most politely tip the people who help make our trips possible.

How Much To Tip For Everything Around The World [MAP]

tipping worldwide

This map is now available in app form! TipFox is available on the App Store and Google Play.

tipfox ios app store     tipfox google play android
Tipping practices around the world can vary from confusing to awkward, especially when you don’t know what the local customs are. To make sure you’re being a courteous traveler who knows how much and what services to tip for your can check the map below. It has all of the tipping practices for restaurants, guides, hairdressers and more.

  • Last update: October 25, 2021

You can also bookmark the map or this page to keep up with any future updates.

Take This Map Offline With You

You can put this map on your phone, for offline use with TipFox (download on iOS or Android) has even more detailed tipping info, notifications with tipping practices based on your location, ways connect with locals and other travelers, plus dedicated support during your travels. You can also bookmark this page so you don’t lose track of the map above.

Share Your Experiences And Updates With Me

This is a living map based on my travels, contact with locals, guides, and feedback from you. Tipping practices can vary a lot based on locality so if you notice anything missing, needing an update, or want to add some information about a service not listed, please comment on this post or email me directly with your update. I’ll keep the map updated to help your fellow travelers and hard working locals as well to make sure nobody leaves feeling shortchanged.

spare change

Putting Spare Change To Use

Of course, after most trips we’re left with change in a foreign currency that often goes out of circulation once we’re back home. Here’s what you can do with leftover foreign currency from an international trip, create a completely digital travel budget, or travel with literally no money at all.


About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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