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Best way to carry valuables & be safe from pick-pockets

Best way to carry valuables & be safe from pick-pockets

Oct 21st, 1999, 12:15 PM
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The truth is probably someplace in between Richard and Greg. If you've been accosted by these gangs you are going to feel differently than if you have never had the experience. It is the extreme experience. But it DOES happen.[I haven't, but I have been pickpocketed twice. In Budapest and Skopje. I only lost cash because anything of value was under my clothes.]
Oct 21st, 1999, 12:27 PM
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Or blindfold cows when you're doing a three-point turn on a hill....
So, s.fowler, are *you* going to wear that loincloth, since your 'valuables' (much nicer word than what I normally use) are under your clothes?
Oct 21st, 1999, 12:54 PM
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Thank you s., for that wonderful straight line. I've had my pocket picked in Paris, loot lifted in London, rucksack robbed in Rome (ah, sweet alliteration) but never felt threatened. In Budapest, we had a lovely dinner near the Fisherman's Bastion, walked to the Metro at Moszkva Square and rode to the South Station. Walked through the park to our hotel, "the circular one" and found out the next morning that was a pretty foolhardy trek. I'm a trusting soul, worked in Manhattan for 8 years, 7th and 33rd, and thought nothing of walking to Grand Central,after 10P to catch my train.
Oct 22nd, 1999, 04:07 AM
Mary Ann
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We are not fanny pack people either and most of the above advice is sound. On money belts, in addition to the eagle creek neck pockets, there are the waist pockets and the belt pockets. My husband hated his waist one which was a hassle to get in and out of. I used the belt pocket. It is a rectangle that has a beige or black loop that hangs over your belt inside your clothes. Access is not difficult and it held ATM,credit card, cash and passport. Realistically you still need something else for cameras, kleenex (especially women for the WCs that are lacking), sunglasses, shout spots, hand cleaner (essential for picnics), extra film, maps, books, museum pass, umbrella etc. As a result, the microfiber shoulder bag worn over the head is terrific. 4 of us just completed 21 days including eastern and western Europe without a problem. One used the waist eagle creek, one the small pocket purse and my husband and I our set up. What ever bag you take for the extras should have a small pad for the shoulder. Extras going in were souvenirs, post cards, sweaters when not needed, picnic gear (cork screws, utensils, baggets). (My bag looks similar to a small back pack/purse but has a zipper that is expandable, which worked out well on one trip for 3 half bottles of champage that was causing a weight problem in our carryon) Evening dress can be another deal. Travelsmith makes blazers that have hidden interior pockets, some with zippers.
The most important thing is try whatever you are planning before you go to see if you feel comfortable for access or weight. If its not, you probably will not be happy or will not use it. Go with what works for you but always be alert in major cities, just like you would in the US.
Oct 22nd, 1999, 09:31 AM
Ben Haines
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Between cities my spare money, credit cardss and tickets are in a brown envelope wrapped in a dirty shirt in the middle of my suitcase.

In cities I ask the hotel keepers which they prefer, and leave all these valuables either in hotel safe or in my bedroom. No hotel can thrive if their staff steal things.

I travel in central Europe about six weeks a year.

Ben Haines, London
Oct 22nd, 1999, 10:55 AM
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I have carried just money and a credit card in my trouser-sock panty hose when wearing pants. Sure, it you need to access your money, it looks a little strange. But for instance, at a restaurant, I just duck into the ladies room! I feel totally safe and also go upon the rule of never carrying more than what you need.
Oct 22nd, 1999, 11:03 AM
Bob Brown
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Greg is absolutely correct. My comments were indeed Western Europe oriented.
I have a friend who travels to the former Soviet Bloc. He tells some scary stories. After all, an American on the streets of Kiev or Minsk probably has a year's wages in greenbacks somewhere on his or her person. So what's a little knock on the head? The victim might even recover.
Oct 22nd, 1999, 11:23 AM
Josh Coles
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I find that whatever works for you in big North American cities will work in big-city Europe. The trick is to not look too touristy. To avoid that rent National Lampoon's European Vaction and take notes.
Jul 16th, 2000, 08:16 AM
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I draw the Forum's attention to the Sunday NY Times Travel Section, p. 8 (also on line -- nytimes.com) on foiling thieves in 8 major European cities.
Jul 16th, 2000, 07:54 PM
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Just have to add my two cents. I visited Europe for 5 weeks last summer and never noticed anything suspicious in any of the cities I visited - until three days before I left. I was with my brother in law in Paris (he lives in Paris)in a Marks & Spencers shopping for some groceries. I was using a back pack style purse which had a drawstring type closure (which I knotted after cinching), and magnet clips on the fold over flaps (no outside zippers). I had neglected to place my wallet in the inside zippered pocket. When I was ready to pay, I pulled my back pack around and found it completely open - and you guessed it - my wallet gone. By the time I got back to my apartment and reported it (about 30 minutes after being robbed), the thieves had already spent $1200 on my ATM card and Mastercard. The MOST IMPORTANT lesson I learned from this experience is how vital it is to have all the phone numbers, account numbers, etc. available. I was able to contact everyone very quickly and because I had, was not held responsible for any of the theft. My brother-in-law and I figured out that it was probably the two 20-something girls that had been near us several times in the store. They bumped into both of us several times. In fact, one of the reasons I remembered them is because (I am embarrassed to admit) I remembered saying "excuse moi" to them several times. I felt only the bumping though - NEVER once a tug on the magnet flaps, or a feeling of someone uncinching my bag or feeling around in it (it was quite deep).

This week I will be leaving for a trip to London & Paris and have brought a tote style purse that slings across the body with several inside zippers and one on the outside of the tote that lays next to my hip. The flap that goes over the inside zipper has little clips that are very difficult to un lock. I plan to carry only enough cash for the day, one credit card and my license. If I can figure our a way, I will pin my wallet to the inside of my purse, inside the zipper pocket. I may even pin the zipper to the purse as well. I will leave my passport, an extra credit card, travelers checks and any other valuables in the hotel safe.

I have chosen not to go the waist/shoulder pouch route as last year I tried using both and hated them. Also, upon reexamining how I managed to get pickpocketed, I realized I had become very complacent about how I was carrying my purse. After having traveled so long without any incidents, I simply let my guard down!! Up to the time of being robbed, I had NEVER worn my backpack on my back, but on my shoulder holding it against me, or in some of the more crowded places, on my chest! Also, it never occurred to me that two, pretty, twenty-something French girls, who appeared to be buying their groceries, would be pickpockets! Now I will suspect ANYONE bumping in to me, to be a pickpocket.

Has anyone else besides Mr. Haines taken this route? Using hotel safes and only carrying what's needed? Aloha from Hawaii!

Jul 17th, 2000, 04:55 AM
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being a belgian from brussels, here is some extra advice... get off the train at "brussels central" station (the train stops in 3 consecutive stations in Brussels, this is the 2nd brussels one !). This station is really in the center of town, & in 5 minutes walk you'll be at the Grand Place ! If you have no clue about what to do, just take one of the hop on/off busses (new since this year) - they also stop in front of the Central station.
Enjoy your trip,
Jan 30th, 2008, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2008
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Is it necessary to carry ID around (as in passport or driver's license) when going to the sites or restaurants or pubs while in Europe? I was hoping to get away with just carrying an ATM card, credit card & cash and leaving the rest at the hotel. We will be in Prague, Munich & Paris. I'm 28 & my husband is 32 -- if that makes any difference.
jngrant28 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 09:04 AM
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"No hotel can thrive if their staff steal things."

My daughter had all her souvenirs stolen out of her nice hotel room in Paris. I don't know why they would want a plastic David, tiny Eiffel Tower, chalk portrait, etc. None of it was valuable except to her.

As for carrying your passport on you, I've read in several places that many internet cafe's require them.
Connie is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 09:58 AM
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I've never needed ID to go to a restaurant in Europe. Why would you be thinking you'd need ID for a restaurant? Maybe if you looked really really young and were alone and trying to order alcohol, they might ask (you'd have to look like a preteen probably, I don't think you could at your age).

I would never go anywhere without any ID on me, I can't imagine doing that. What if you get hit by a bus? Seriously, that happened to my boss' sister in Paris, she got hit by a car or taxi on a street near Les Invalides and was taken to a hospital.

Yes, you do need ID in some tourist
sites if you want to use the audiovisual guides (they often ask for some ID or credit card to be left as security). I leave my driver's license, but you could probably leave a credit card in that case, if you preferred. I don't, but as I said, I wouldn't ever run around without any ID on me. I don't remember any site requiring ID for the actual reason of wanting to ID you. You would need it if you were trying to get any special age-related discounts or free entry by age, possibly.
Christina is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 10:01 AM
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You will need your passport if you make a purchase which will have a VAT refund. If you do not have your passport, then the shop will not be able to fill out your refund paper.
scatcat is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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Sounds good. I'll make sure to carry ID with me. Will a copy of my passport do?

I was not saying that I needed an ID for a restaurant. I was just giving an example of the types of things I will be doing in Europe as to get a good idea of when & where I will need my passport or driver's license. Especially since you say that you would never go anywhere in Europe without ID.
jngrant28 is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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In some countries (I know this is true for Italy) it is required that you carry some kind of ID at all times because the police are actually allowed to stop you and ask to see it.
ellenem is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 11:36 AM
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This post is nearly 10 years old. I guess some questions are timeless!
suze is offline  
Jan 30th, 2008, 11:57 AM
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I think you misunderstood, I would never go anywhere in ANY country without ID, including at home. I never go anywhere in the US without ID on me, it's always in my purse (okay, I go running without at home, or for a bike ride).

I think any police in any country are allowed to ask people for ID. It's just that there is usually no reason to be randomly stopped and asked for ID, unless you are in some military state or are doing something illegal or suspicious, or are perhaps some ethnic or minority group that a policeman might target in some area. Police in the US ask people for ID if they stop them for something suspicious or want to know what they are doing someplace they shouldn't be.
Christina is offline  
Jan 31st, 2008, 06:18 AM
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Wow...this is getting weirdly detailed. I just wanted to know if I had to carry my passport with me every day, or if I could carry a copy, or if a driver's license would do. I was not planning on walking around Europe without ID.
jngrant28 is offline  

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