What do you do with the documents?

Jun 27th, 2005, 06:24 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 193
After living two years in Paris, we would leave our passports, check books, and documents in a drawer or cabinet in the apartment. Just remember to lock the door when you leave. I would be careful even with a neck pouch, especially on the Métro; my father had his passport stolen on the Métro when a pickpocket snipped his neck pouch without him knowing. The found passport was sent back by the French police a few months later back to our San Francisco home.
TransitBuddie is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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I disagree about a private apartment being safer than a hotel. Sure - most are. But several people could have keys/access - houskeepers, maintenance staff, the owner, agency staff, etc.

I often rent flats - but I would never assume I am the only one in the apartment during my stay . . . . .
janis is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 07:41 AM
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I have a hard time visualizing how a neck pouch would be safely invisible with summer clothing. I, too, wear a silk moneybelt around my waist. Never had a problem.
eliztrav is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 07:55 AM
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Why is it that millions of Parisians, Romans, etc., can walk freely about the streets of their cities and tourists feel that they cannot do so without protecting themselves with neck pouches, money belts, leg pouches and every other "security measure"?

Just asking...

Eloise is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 08:02 AM
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Because the millions of Parisians, Romans, etc..are not in the streets with all his valuables, e.g a passport that if you lose or get stolen you have a hard time to go back home
If I lose here my ID card, I just go to the police , say I've been stolen and they give me a brand new one. It's not so easy for a foreign visitor.
kenderina is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 08:16 AM
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plus - all the millions of Parisians, Romans, etc are just blocks from their Bank manager and can get things straightened out/replaced quickly w/o having an 8 hour time difference and trying to deal w/ customer service agents back home.
janis is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 08:35 AM
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On the question of why to take a driver's license to Europe: Some museums require you to leave a photo ID at the desk if you rent an audioguide. Personally I would rather leave my driver's license than my passport.

My solution for where to carry my passport doesn't work in hot weather, but we never travel in summer. I wear a travel vest, and keep my credit cards and passport in one of the inside pockets. Actually, I keep them in a nylon zipper case with a tab that was meant to be a belt pouch. But I safety-pin the tab to the inside pocket of the vest. That way I can reach in and pull the pouch out to the point where I can remove something, but it's impossible for anyone else to get at it.

My vest is lightweight black nylon. It's maybe not the most stylish thing, but it doesn't look like a hiking vest either, and since we usually travel in cool weather, I most often wear it under a jacket. I keep the essential things I want with me in its pockets, so I can have my hands free. If I do carry a purse, all it usually has is guidebooks and stuff like Kleenex.
nonnafelice is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 09:04 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 358
Francophile and Janis, what we are looking at here is risk management: please has anyone on this forum had to suffer any theft from a rental apartment? Are you as paranoid when you walk the streets of your home town in the States? And, kenderina, I did lose my passport once in Miami (because some stupid fellow traveler picked it up by mistake on the X Ray belt and was too dumb to leave to the police on the spot), and I went to the French consulate there, where they issued me a temporary pass. No big deal, I can assure you.
Art_Vandelay is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 09:43 AM
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Art_Vandelay: No, I actually feel much safer walking most European Cities than in my home town, and don't think I'm paranoid at all.

As you say it is risk management - And if I have my passport w/ me in a secure pouch or belt (or even sometimes in my handbag) I am manageing the risk of losing it.

And I have had a holiday rental broken into - but I hade no valuables in there so the only one who lost anything was the owner . . . . .
janis is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 11:31 AM
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Art Vandelay, that's because you were in a big country, with a consulate
My best friend who is Romanian , was here last summer for holidays and got stolen her bag with credit cards, camera, passport ,cash, etc.. the only thing she saved was her return ticket plane because she left it at her hotel. In Valencia there's no consulate, so she had to go to Barcelona with money we (her friends) lent her and she had to stay for a night in a hotel there to have their temporary passport the next day. So it depends on the city that things happen to you.
kenderina is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 11:45 AM
Join Date: May 2005
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When I was staying in an apartment in Rome, I hid my passports and extra money in one of the kitchen cabinets. I decided that the risk of theft was less there than it would be hanging around my neck. With the neck pouches I tried, you could either see a bulge, the string, or both. Most women's clothing that I have worn is not sufficient to hide that extra bulk, especially in the summer. I did carry some extra money and a credit card in a small pouch at my waist - http://www.amphipod.com/080/080.html.
wvmom is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Of course the stakes are higher when one is on holiday overseas than in your own city. One should take precautions and they may vary from country to country. Last year in London we left cash, prepaid tickets for excursions, etc in our apartment, but our passports went with us. Why? Because it would take more than $$ to replace them...it would be a hassle and an inconvenience that would eat into our precious vacation time. These items would be stashed in a less conspicuous place if it the maid was expected, etc. BTW, the "meter man" came while we were in the flat, and asked us where the meter was! While an apt is more "private" than a hotel, remember you do not know who may be coming and going during the day, for legitimate purposes or otherwise!
victoria_reynolds is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 12:22 PM
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I've always thought the use of money belts/pouches to be silly. But to each their own.

And I'm firmly in the camp that you put your passport at much greater risk by carrying it around with you than leaving in your apartment.
Brian_in_Charlotte is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 12:25 PM
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Art, you have your own thoughts about this issue. I'm in agreeement with Janis, Kenderina, and victoria_reynolds. Btw, I don't consider replacing a lost passport 'no big deal'.
francophile03 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I like staying in apartments, but I think one would be deluding oneself to think that there is less chance of theft from an apartment than from a hotel. The security code on the door doesn't do much. If you think about it, every other tenant in the building has it. Everyone they have ever shared it with has it. Every prior tenant has it, the maintenance and housekeeping staff has it (in most apartments, you don't have daily maid service, but you usually have weekly maid service). And every potential thief with the initiative and wit to look over someone's shoulder has it. A thief wouldn't even have to look for an open window.

Since people usually don't stay in the apartment during the day, the whole building could be virtually deserted; what prime working conditions for breaking into the "tourist" apartments.

My wife and I have neck pouches and they are a good solution, but they are meant to be worn under a shirt or blouse. I cannot believe that a pickpocket could snip the ribbon, reach inside of one's garment, and make off with a passport. Anyone not comatose would certainly to notice this happening. My wife did get too casual in Florence and started wearing her pouch outside her blouse. Thankfully the students who tried to open it were clumsy, so she felt a tug and learned a lesson.

I now rarely use my neck pouch, because I carry a shoulder bag big enough for all our stuff, including passports, and my ATM and credit cards; (my wife carries her ATM and credit cards in her neck pouch). It is ballistic nylon, so somewhat resistant to razoring, and all the openings are zippered or velcroed, or both, so it makes a lot of noise when anything is opened. It is also a good carryon for airlines.

I agree that tourists are probably a favorite target of thieves; we are no longer around to testify when the case comes to trial, and we usually carry more valuables than the natives, and have a harder time reporting crimes since so few of us speak the native language. So I think one just takes more care than one does at home, and hopes nothing happened. I've never tried to pass as a native to avoid being ripped off, but I doubt if any tourist has passed successfully. Let's see, we are standing in line at a tourist attraction, in the middle of the day when the natives are working, we're all taking pictures, we're all dressed strangely, we're speaking our native language to each other, and trying to buy a miniature statue of the Eiffel tower, and someone is going to think we are natives. Get Real! You are a tourist, here to enjoy the hospitality of their country, and I think its only honest to admit that.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Well, loss valuables including passports can happen anywhere. In the late 1990's I was staying with some friends in their beautiful home in the Veneto region of Italy. They occupied the top three floors, shops were on the ground floor and business offices were on the first floor (second floor in the US). Some other friends came to pick me up, the husband had to run into a shop for something, his wife and I waited in the car. Suddenly a nonItalian looking woman came out of the exterior door to the building, she looked very strange and nervous and than she took off running down the street. Right behind her came my friend (who owned the building/house) with a knife in her hand and a look of rage on her face. BTW, she is only about 5 feet tall and a very mellow type person.

It turned out after we had left the house and walked down the stairs to the street and got in my other friends car my friend heard a noise in her house. She started investigating and found this stranger in the bedroom I was using. My passport and some very sentimental and valuable jewerly were laying on the chest of drawers when my friend discovered her. My friend started yelling and the stranger rushed by her to get out of the building/house. My friend grabbed a knife from the kitchen as she chased her down all five levels.

Thankfully she did not catch her. And nothing was stolen. And to this day noone knows how this stranger got into the house. It has locks galore, plus the intercom system etc. So bad things can happen no matter how hard one tries to prevent it. But being cautious is certainly the way to be IMO.
LoveItaly is offline  

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