Concerned about theft

Apr 19th, 2007, 06:29 AM
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Concerned about theft

I am going to Spain in a few weeks and am a little concerned about all the talk about theft. We will be in Madrid for three days and then renting a car and taking a trip to Toledo, Segovia, Avila and Salamanca. My Wife and I live in Puerto Vallarta , Mexico and Speak Spanish(She is Mexican) . I cannot imagine carrying an actual money belt(that seem really uncomfortable) but was thinking of just carring a Fanny Pack. Will carring a fanny pack( other than making me look like a a dork )make me a target. Has anybody had one stolen. We are also thinking of bringing mostly cash as we heard that Travelers checks are getting harder to cash in Europe. We will be 10 days in Spain and another 2 weeks traveling throughout Europe. Any advise would be greatly appreciated. My wife has never been to Europe and I have not been since I was 15(28 years ago). Any other suggestions would be great as well.
CraigPV is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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Assuming that this is not a troll, (1) Do not wear a fanny pack. It is easier for thieves to get stuff out of your fanny pack than out of your pocket, even if worn in front. (2) Don't bring cash, bring a credit card or two and an ATM card or two. ATM's are everywhere for cash, and most places where you will be traveling accept credit cards.
Ackislander is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:42 AM
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I wish the word 'troll' would be banned from Fodorites and the sinister connotation it often implies. I see absolutely nothing in the OP to even cause me to think it's a troll - and if it were it still raises concerns endemic to any Spanish or European traveler.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:45 AM
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What is a troll?
CraigPV is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:52 AM
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It's a disgusting to me Fodorites word for folks who are posting just to cause trouble and aren't at all sincere and just want to troll up arguments or have a hidden agenda. Insincere - which is why i was appalled that it would even be theorectically applied to your post.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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We donīt use ATMīs here in Vallarta because of the problems with Credit Card fraud and cloning of cards.
We will need to bring cash or Travelers check. Which do you recommend? We will have our credit cards to some extent but we really donīt like to use them much either. Cloning has been a really big problem here in Mexico.
CraigPV is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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Why would someone want to do that? I mean what kind of hidden agenda would I possibly have. Some deep hidden hatred toward thiefs? or maybe against people who offer advice to strangers. I donīt get it
CraigPV is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:01 AM
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Well that's what i thought and i've seen this too much with folks posing thoroughly seemingly sincere questions and it's happened just the other day with me which is why i may be ultra sensitive to this charge.

Sometimes first-time posters have been met with that charge and probably never come back. Oh well enough venting about it.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:03 AM
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Hi Craig,

I wouldn't use a fanny pack--too easy to access--and I definitely wouldn't bring a lot of cash. ATMs are everywhere, and you should bring a credit card or two, as well. I haven't used travelers' checks in Europe in a long time. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to bring a few for backup, but really, ATM and credit cards are the way to go. Divide them up between you and your wife.

I've been to Europe five times in the last nine years, and the only time I was robbed was in Barcelona. I was stupidly carrying my purse in my hand, and a moped rider whisked it away. I don't like moneybelts, but I'd consider wearing one if I returned to Spain. They just have a huge problem with thievery in the cities there.

Make sure your wife wears a purse with a long strap slung across her body. My husband kept his wallet in his front pocket at all times. Be alert, and never put your purse or bag on the floor in a restaurant or cafe. You'll be fine if you take the right precautions.
strass is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:10 AM
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I wlll need to rethink the fanny pack. It was perfect because it had a pouch that both our passports fit into, another that our camera fit into and then a bigger one for money,cards and a few items that my wife will need(lipstick,brush etc).We thought that if I had that and my wallet( always kept in the front pocket) that my wife would actually not need to carry a purse at all. We donīt have to worry about her putting her purse on the floor. In Mexico it is considered bad luck to place your purse on the floor. It means money will be leaving you.
Thanks again
CraigPV is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:24 AM
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Hi, another vote against the fanny pack and especially carrying all your valuables in one bag. I like those 'money belt' neck bags. Big enough for a couple of passports and credit/atm cards.

I keep walking around money in my camera case (for a small digital) which I wear over my head across my shoulder. No purse, no weight and no taking it off when I sit down or shop as my hands are free.

Travellers cheques are not the way to go. It's worth opening an account just for an atm card just for the trip - less fees than a credit card and mostly accepted everywhere.

Let the bank know of your travel plans so they don't halt it due to unusual use, only a chequing account works abroad for withdrawels and make sure you have a maximum daily limit you are comfortable with.
lucyp is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:31 AM
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I always bring credit cards and a debit card, mostly because they are convenient and economical. My understanding is that you receive a better conversion rate with either one than with using travelers' checks. I ALWAYS use a money belt. I don't consider mine at all uncomfortable, and it is absolutely the safest place to keep my cash and my cards.

I especially promote the money belt because, shortly after my sister had given me her passport and debit card to put in my money belt, her purse was stolen by a clever thief in an outdoor restaurant who was pretending to be a waiter.

She lost the expensive camera which was in the purse, but nothing more.

The fanny pack will make you a target.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:41 AM
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I use a travel pouch that has a belt loop. I have never had any problems with it. It has a flap that close with a buckle and the wallet is in a zippered pocket. It can also hold two passports (my wife has been pickpocketed) in another zippered pocket, my IDL, a small address book and pen, and a pocket knife for picnics. Its approximate size is 5"X5". Its thickness will vary to what one carries in it, but mine is about 2.5" thick. It may sound bulky, but it is much less than a fanny pack.
Michael is online now  
Apr 19th, 2007, 07:47 AM
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First of all, theft is not rife in Europe. Within 30 years of frequent travelling, I have never been victim of any type of crime. According to international statistics, Spain is one of the safest countries in Europe (the most dangerous countries are UK and Ireland).

Second, I always wear a fanny pack, primarily for camera and sunglasses. Never had a problem with it.

When I am in a touristy region and I am recognizable as a tourist, I divide my valuables into 2 or 3 portions. And then I do wear a kind of hidden wallet under my clothing (it is terrible if you need something out of this wallet, because you have kind of undress in frond of other persons, so I have always some change and the most important credit card in the front pocket of my trousers.

I always say to myself: I have travelled a 100 times and if I will become victim of a theft the next time I will divide the loss through 100 and then it will be nothing.
traveller1959 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:05 AM
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Hi again Craig,

I would definitely advise against one of you carrying all of the valuables. You should divide them between the two of you. Also, make photocopies of your passports and write down all your ATM/credit card information and keep those separate.

Spain isn't a dangerous country--my hometown of Chicago is a heck of a lot worse--but certain areas do have a terrible problem with pickpocketing and petty thievery. It's not violent crime, but it's definitely troublesome, especially for travelers.
strass is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:08 AM
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Perhaps, CraigPV, is ineligible for CCs or a debit/check card. Thousands of Asians are traveling without either. They use cash! American Dollars are still the most accepted currency. TCs are a safe backup. AX offices are in all major cities. Nix the fanny pack. Front pockets are accessible to a skilled pickpocket: I know this from experience. Special belts can hold reserves (Patagonia). Consider buying small gold coins at home and selling them abroad. .
GSteed is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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If you keep your wallet in your front pocket, I suggest closing the pocket with a safety pin.

ira is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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Another vote against the fanny pack.
Another vote against one person carrying everything. Your wife can carry a purse with things she can easily get over losing (chapstick, etc.)
Moneybelts are not that uncomfortable (there are neck, leg, and waist versions in different fabrics). However, I only use it when in transit upon arrival in a country. If I have a safe place to leave it I don't carry it around on the street.
Carry the money you need for the outing in your pocket, and your backup money and cards in the moneybelt.
If you cannot use atm cards then use travellers cheques.
Carry your camera across the body.
Just be aware when in cities, not need to worry about it.
yorkshire is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:16 AM
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"Cloning has been a really big problem here in Mexico."

Maybe, but you are going to Spain.
elina is offline  
Apr 19th, 2007, 08:22 AM
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I agree, I don't think theft is a huge issue.
That said WHY would anyone take CASH? What happens when you LOSE the "fanny pack"?

Just to give you an example, two years ago somehow between Gatwick and Victoria Station one of the chaperones on a trip I was leading for teenagers LOST her money belt which included $12,000 in travelers checks. Those were replaced. Had she lost $12,000 cash what would we have done to feed these kids?

Also, I think the OP's panic over debit cards is misplaced. Amazing but ture I used a DEBIT card in Puerto Vallarta with no problem. I bet you can use one in Madrid!
CarolA is offline  

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