Friday, April 27, 2012

Travel & Money Safety Tips in Italy


Traveling within Italy isn't as easy as you might have imagined. Italy is always crowded with tourists throughout 365 days in a year. It's even more stressful and hectic than traveling to Paris, France. It also can be even more stressful and exhausting as you have to be attentive with your personal belongings and the surroundings all the time. 

The pickpockets in Italy are professional and move very swiftly within a team which ranges from children, young adults, mothers and elderly people. They always move around those popular attraction sites and busy areas such as public markets, train stations and riding on crowded trains and public bus transportation. These pickpockets will watch your movement and immediately get into the action once they have identified the position of where you pull out your cash or wallet/purse. They steal your cash or wallet/purse without you realize it within split seconds. However, there are some of pickpockets use their acting skills and beg your sympathy and donation by showing their poor babies and children. DON'T FALL FOR THE SCAM. They are actually lure your attention to pull out your cash or wallet/purse and the other members of the group will immediately begin the operation and steal your belongings without you realize it.

Watch this video clip in order to give you an idea on how swiftly these pickpockets steal and move within their groups in Italy and Spain. Pickpockets don't generalized target at Americans only but anyone can be the victim of these pickpockets if you don't watch out for your belongings. 


(Source: ABC News)


So, how do you avoid from being the victim of the pickpockets? Here are some suggestions to prevent yourself from being the prey to pickpockets:-


  1. Don't carry all the credit cards, debit cards and other unnecessary cards with you to Italy. Carry those important cards which you will intend to use during the trip for instance, you might need two credit cards and one debit card or ATM card so, just bring these cards along while the remaining of unnecessary cards can be left at home. This is an idea to reduce the bulkiness of your wallet/purse.
  2. Get a light jacket which is designed with an inner zipped pocket, inside the jacket. Yes, you can find some latest design of light jackets where you can keep your cash in the wallet/purse inside the inner of the jacket instead of placing it on outer of the jacket.  
  3. Keep a copy of your Identity Card (ID), driving licenses, credit cards, ATM cards, debit cards, air ticket(s) and passport before you begin your trip to Italy. You also need to keep the contact numbers of Banks' toll-free numbers and your country's embassy numbers with you. In case you lose any of these important cards or passport, you can file a report immediately with the copy and particular of the cards or passport in hand.
  4. Keeping all the important cards in a wallet/purse in front of your pocket of your pants isn't necessarily to be safe at all. I suggest you to keep your passport and all the important cards such as Identity Card (ID), driving licenses, credit cards, debit cards or ATM cards and air ticket(s) in a NECK WALLET. Hang your neck wallet and hide it over your body chest and underneath your shirt. Make sure that the string of neck wallet isn't visible around your neck. Try to cover the string of the neck wallet with your outer jacket. Most of the time, you will be spending with cash more than using credit cards in Italy. Credit cards can only be used when you book hotel accommodation, purchasing expensive souvenirs or dining at expensive restaurants. Otherwise, most of the retailers and operators prefer to deal in cash.
  5. Plan your daily trip spending before you leave your hotel room. If you intend to spend €100 per day then, take out €100 cash and keep the remaining of the money in the wallet/purse. The small retailers and operators don't accept the big note so, try to get some loose notes change at your hotel. Keep small notes (€5 and €10) in one front pocket while big notes (€20 and €50) in another front pockets. Do make sure that all your front pockets are long and deep to keep your money without falling out while you are sitting or moving around. This is a smart idea to prevent you from keep taking your cash out from your wallet/purse each time. The pickpockets aim at "rich" victims who carry a lot of cash in wallets/purses. 
  6. If you carry a backpack, make sure that your backpack is zipped up and put a lock on it during your trip, all the time. Put your backpack in front of you so that you are attentive and able to be alert with the backpack.
  7. For female tourist who loves to carry a handbag. Please carry a small handbag a long handle. Do make sure the bag is zipped up and wear it across your body. Always keep the front handbag facing and against your body while the back of the handbag is facing outside. This is to prevent pickpockets from easily access to the inside compartment of your handbag at the crowded places without you have been realized.
  8. Make sure your handbag isn't facing on the street side (vehicle side) when you walk on the side walk. Always carry your handbag across your body and facing on the opposite side towards the inner of the side walk.
  9. Always clasp your handbag or backpack with your hands on your laps or lock the handbag or backpack with your legs while you are eating or sitting on the bench. Pickpockets love to take the opportunities to steal your handbag or backpack when you aren't full alert.
  10. You have to stay low profile without wearing and flashing your expensive and branded jewellery, watch, bag and clothing during your trip in Italy. KEEP IT SIMPLE and don't draw attention as a rich person, is the best to describe on your appearance and outfits throughout your journey in Italy. 
  11. Taking public transportation such as metro trains and buses is the highest risk to meet with pickpockets. Thus, it's strongly advisable to stay safe by taking the official and registered taxis (cabs) which run meter readings in Italy. Majority of these taxis (cabs) can be found at taxi stands nearby the tourist attraction sites and at hotels in the cities of Italy. Learn more about the registered taxis in Italy here



  12. Don't entertain when someone approaches and begs for money. Just ignore and walk away immediately.




St Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy


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