One Thing that is Not on the Bucket List…

I’ve come to realize that I have A LOT of adventures planned on check off my bucket list for this trip….but being robbed is NOT one of them. While talking with people about their experiences over in Europe, a common theme seemed to be reoccurring between stories. Everyone seemed to get robbed.

The other night Cody and I attended an engagement party for his childhood babysitter, who is not even 30 yet and has been to at least 30 different countries! She studied abroad 5 times while in college alone and is engaged to a New Zealander. Currently she is working at Villa Nova in the study abroad office advising college kids, like us, who want to and are studying abroad. Needless to say she has been an amazing person to get advice from! She is also the only person we’ve talked to so far who hasn’t gotten robbed while traveling! So we asked her what her secret was… she responded “basically, don’t be an American…”

Ok great…how do we do that? She went on to say that American’s tend to talk really loud and over everyone else in the room. So don’t do that. If you go to an “American travelers bar”, you’re an easy target. Don’t do that. Purses, bags, and even back pockets are easy target for pick-picketers to either slip their hand in to or cut the bottom of, soooo none of that. And if you see a large group of people coming your way (apparently we will know they are gypsies), one hand on wherever you end up carrying our valuables. So don’t run into gypsies…

Great, so now that I’m going to be constantly paranoid about people pick-pocketing me and gypsies. But she did sound positive when she said that it’s good to be a little paranoid but to not let it ruin your trip (that is also why we want to get a concealable camera like I mentioned in the last post!) and it’s not so hard to blend in if you use your street smarts.

If anyone has any more advice on how NOT to get robbed while over there, that would be greatly appreciated!

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10 thoughts on “One Thing that is Not on the Bucket List…

  1. I think you are already being really smart about it, so no need to be paranoid! I think its a good thing that you are getting advice from people who have already been abroad. They have been in situations that you will probably be in during your time there, so they will give you the best advice! My best advice to not getting robbed while over in europe is to just be very aware of what is going on around you. At the same time, don’t forget to enjoy being there!

  2. My best friend Ali, was living in Rome last summer and the second day she was there she was pick-pocketed in the H&M! I have been to Europe a few times, so I have learned the best thing you can do to keep all of your items protected is to have a safe in your room, and when you are out walking around to have something that resembles a satchel. It is somewhat smaller, but only holds your IDs, cards, money and phone. You will want to put this over your shoulder, but underneath a few of your clothing layers so that it stays close to your body at all times! In certain cities, just look out for the gypsies, especially in the larger ones. My sister and uncle were verbally harassed in Paris for money, and my sister swears she will never return to the city of love because of this experience haha. BUT, I am so jealous you are doing this with Cody, it is going to be sooooo much fun!

  3. I’ve done a pretty good amount of traveling in Asia and I am very paranoid about people pickpocketing me. What has worked for me has been keeping everything in my pants’ front pockets rather than my back pockets and if I have a bag/briefcase in a crowded area I tend to hold it in front of me so no one can reach it into it without me noticing.

  4. It seems like you got a lot of great advice. In terms of “not being American,” just follow her advice about not doing anything that makes you an obvious target. When I was abroad, I was lucky enough that I never encountered gypsies/got anything stolen. For me, I was a bit paranoid, but just used common street sense like I would here in DC or NY. I never left my bag unzipped, I usually wore it across my body, and kept it in the front. On the metro, I would also make sure that my bag was in front of my body. Hope this helps!

  5. The solution to not getting pick-pocketed? A money belt. I know it sounds stupid, but my roommate abroad had one, and I decided to use it, on a two-week trip I took, because I was afraid of getting my passport stolen. Anyways, I came to love it. I never had to worry about anything, because I kept all of 10 euros in my wallet and everything else in my money belt!

  6. I would just always have a zip bag with you and be a little cautious every time you need to open it in a public space. But it seems like you have some great advice already. As long as you don’t travel with the essentials on you (i.e. your passport) nothing will be and end all be all!

    -Michelle Edelman

  7. When abroad, I typically either used that pouch you wear under your clothing (the really thin fanny pack type deal), or wore a messenger bag/purse and made sure it was always in front of me. Oh and don’t wave fancy equipment around (IE a shiny DSLR) too much – just use your judgement with that one. And when using hostels, just make sure you take the important stuff with you/keep your room locked up.

  8. I’ve been to a few different countries in Europe and was fortunate enough to never be a victim of pickpocketing. In Italy, however, my three friends and I were victims of the “string scam”. We thought we were just talking to a nice Italian man, but it started going wrong pretty quickly. Luckily we made it away before too much damage was done. But be careful of who you talk to. I’ve found that the people in the smaller towns are much much better to talk to, in place of the people in the large city where tourists lurk.

  9. I’ve been to Europe a number of ties, most recently when I went to Sevilla (southern Spain) last spring. Needless to say it was a blast, but even though I was never robbed, a few of my friends were.

    It’s been said already, but for guys the most effective and non-invasive change you can do is to put your wallet and valuables in your front pockets. Also, when you pile into a crowded place like the metro or a block party, I’d recommend putting your hands in your pocket so that no one could sneak into them and grab something out. For girls, swinging their purse in front of them should help.

    While it’s good to be aware and take some precautions, definitely remember to have fun! No need to be paranoid, and being so can absolutely ruin your European adventure. You’re there to take in the sites, learn about the history, meet the people and taste the amazing food. So leave the most valuable things in the apartment, keep your passport in your front pocket and you’ll be fine!

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