I think you're wise to be thinking about this. I purchased this waistpack with extra security features for a trip to Europe: http://www.pac-safe.com/www/index.php?_room=3&_action=detail&id=19. It worked well for me, and my mother used it on a subsequent trip. I had also been warned of pickpockets and wanted to take extra precautions. On a previous trip we were on a walking tour in South America and someone in the group was pickpocketed. A group of children created a distraction and targeted an older gentleman.
You didn't say exactly where in Europe you were going, but I'll share this from our trip. When we checked into our hotel in Barcelona, we were told not to talk with anyone who stopped us on the street, and that even the locals are targeted. Sure enough at one point I saw my husband stopped and talking with someone, so I pulled him along and asked what that conversation was about. Someone had stopped him and pointed out a mess on the back of his shirt. They offered to help get him get cleaned up. Upon inspection I realized it was a chocolate sauce. So, the deal was that someone else had squirted him from a upper window and this other guy was right there to "help" with the clean-up. We were lucky, but it soured our impression of that city for sure.
There are a number of good products our there and I'm sure you'll find one that works for you. Enjoy the trip!
I use one of the belts that ll bean or travelwise offers it slips over you belt and goes inside your pants. I keep passports most of our money and credit cards in it. In my pocketbook i keep just the money for the day and change. We usually don't get any money ahead of time but use atms over there. get better rate and don't pay so many fees. I don't use in all countries but did have an experience in Rome around the coluseum. Was surrounded by some young girls and felt trapped but just made a lot of noise and than they left me alone. i know my husband keeps his money in his front pocket not in his wallet. just need to be careful especially around subways and largegatherings.
You did not say which part of Europe you were visiting, but here are asome generic common-sense suggestions: 1. only carry enough cash for your daily expense, and split it up if you can, so if you do get robbed, you will have something left over 2. the waist/hidden belts are a good idea. there is also one that you can buy which attaches around your leg but you need to have looser trousers to get access 3. If you carry a rucksack, make sure that you use a small padlock ( I use a combination lock). It's a bind if you have to et anything out, but will detract thieves - why bother when there is another person nearby without a locked back 4. make certified copies of passports and important documents and keep those in the hotel safe if you have to go out with your documents. 5. If you have another form of id, eg a drivers licence, use that instead of the passport because if it gets lost/stolen it is much cheaper and less of a problem to replace, and wont prevent you from getting home! Have a good time.
I would have to say that if you are going to Italy, the place to be most careful is Naples. Also in Florence beware of gypsies in open spaces; you may think that there is onlyone hanging around begging for money, but they usually travel in groups. One will distract you, and another will pick pocket you. If there get to close say "Vai via" in a stern voice.
Thanks everyone for your ideas and particularilly the places to get waist packs etc. The idea of copying documents I've used but never kept in the hotel safe Thanks all! In Rome we may have to check luggage in a locker at the train station. Is this ok? - or should we try a hotel concierge instead? Does anyone lock luggage when left behind in cases such as this? - airlines require no locks so I wasn't planning on bringing any. Also do most travelers bring foreign monies with them? - We will have one night in London -LATE after 11:30pm then on to Rome & train to city before picking up our rental car same daythen to Tuscany. We are hoping to do a quick tour of Rome before getting our rental car near the train station. Upon return from Tuscany we will have another day to do a walking tour of Rome. You've guessed we are trying to avoid driving in Rome - yet wish to be safe. Thanks for your help!!! Funtimes
I posted safety observations and concerns on Rome and Florence threads. Here are a few more tips. Never leave your belongings out of your site. Be vigilant. Not sure about Lockers in Rome Terminus trains station. Would opt for leaving luggage with Hotel Concierge, but do lock it. Do take a picture of your luggage when you leave it with the Hotel Concierge. This is easy to do with a digital camera and will give you prove in case you need it. I usually carry photocopies of passport, drivers license and credit cards in two separate places. Leave the original travel documents in the hotel safe, but don't forget to take them out of the safe when you move on, this could be disasterous. Carry as little as possible, get money at ATM machines but watch your step. No need to bring Euros from home, too expensive to buy in the US. Use ATMs that are inside banks rather than just on the street. Beware of credit card charges. Each purchase you make on a Citibank MasterCard carries a 3% foreign surcharge, AMEX is only 2% but often not as widely accepted. Chase Visa also only charges 2%. These charges can add up to quite a bit. Carry your medicines in your carry-on luggage when you travel by air, just in case your suitcase goes somewhere else... In Rome and Paris beware of motorcycles coming up behind you on the sidewalk. We have witnessed purse and camera snatchings by motorcycles both in Rome and in Paris. Don't just carry your purse and camera over your shoulder, it is too easy to rip them off you that way, put the strap over your neck and carry your purse with the opening close to your body, this makes it more difficult for someone in a crowd to get their hand into your purse. Good Luck, have a good trip and be safe.
Also, do not forgot to leave copies of passports and credit cards with people at home. My parents had lost their wallets in Phoenix and they could call us and we could provide everything they needed. Please, never show off with jewelry and cash. I have seen people pulling out lots of dollars. This is not good anywhere you go! Keep your money seperate and only have a few bills available when you pull out money to pay. Never look like you have wads of cash. Hope this helps.
Again many Thanks - good safety tips Believe it or not we do not have ATM cards - What do you think of travelers checks? Also I think I will need either Euros or Lbs in London in order to board metro at late night hour - cabs would be pricey too. Our London Hotel is a distance from the airport.
One more question re: jewelry -in reading Fodors etc it is mentioned to return to the states have a bill of sale or insurance for costly items that belonged to you before the trip - ie jewelry. Has anyone really been hassled in customs for your own property? We have a lump sum insurance rate on jewelry and only appraisals. I can't imagine having to take additional paperwork like this with us. Any Comments re jewelry and money concerns? ...Funtimes