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Tom Shillue

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Rick Steves doesn’t always practice what he preaches

Local travel guru Rick Steves.

Travel guru and Edmonds resident Rick Steves constantly warns his fans to watch out for pickpockets, and it wasn’t until recently that he became a victim himself.

“Not only did he get my wallet, he got my pencil, my beautiful mechanical pencil that I keep right next to my wallet,” Steves told 770 KTTH’s Jason Rantz, “and I just knew I was victimized.”

Steves was getting off public transit in Paris, France when he realized he’d been hit. In hopes his mistake could be a lesson to his followers, Steves decided to post about his experience on Facebook and on his blog.

“OK, I admit, it’s my fault … I wasn’t wearing my money belt,” Steves wrote. “And it cost me.”

The Seattle Times published an extended version of the blog Steves wrote, and originally their piece featured a rather inflammatory introduction to Steve’s comments.

He never uses a money belt? What a scandal! Steves constantly advocates for the use of money belts and even offers several for sale on his website. So, what’s really going on?

“Oh, I wear a money belt when I feel like it’s necessary,” Steves said. “You could say, basically, when I’m in Europe, I rarely wear a money belt. I’ll admit that. I don’t practice what I preach all the time.”

The Seattle Times since updated their piece to take out the line claiming he never wears a money belt. Steves explains he only takes serious precautions when he’s in a really shady area, but there are several strategies he recommends.

“Wear a money belt, zip it up, tuck it away, stick it in your front pocket, leave it in your hotel room,” Steves says. “There’s a lot of things you can do to be careful.”

Regardless of how careful you try to be, it’s still possible you’ll end up getting taken advantage.

“The major lesson is thieves are smart, they’re smarter than we are,” Steves said. “If you’re out and about like a tourist you’re usually distracted. If there’s ever any commotion or any bump, there’s probably a thief at work.”

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