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Europe Warnings

NanC

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  • Added on: September 27th, 2009
Staying safe while traveling

Be careful, here are a few instances that have happened to some of my clients.
One of them was on a train, it was very crowded inside, she was wearing a fanny pack with a big zipper. She wore the pack in front thinking that she would be able to see if someone tried to open it. Not so! There were a few people who distracted her, she watched for just a few seconds and when they left, she looked down and her pack was wide open. They got everything! She didn't even feel or hear the pack open.

Another client was in Warsaw walking down the street by herself when 4 very big guys walked down the sidewalk at her where she could not get around them, they intimidated her and pushed her down and took her purse. She too, lost everything.

Then not too long ago, my husband and I were walking in Rome, I wear a small day pack just to hold small things like maps, some makeup, or other things that have no value. As were were walking I didn't feel it but I heard it, my zipper was opened! I turned around immediately, there was a young girl probably about 12-13 years old. She looked horrified, made the cross over her chest put her head down and ran away. If it wasn't for hearing the zipper she would have gotten some worthless stuff. In fact I like to put things in my pack that would make them just feel stupid, like tampons, dumb little notes and so on. I have actually contemplated getting a mousetrap that when they reach in would get their fingers!

The best way to avoid problems is to keep all valuables in your safe at the hotel. If they do not have a safe, then I suggest a well made money belt. If you just have to bring a purse, make sure the zippers are hard to open and you have a wire strap that cannot be cut. Wear the purse crosswise over your chest.

Never walk in a bad area alone.

Don't walk down a sidewalk near the street where a moped rider can steal your purse or pack.

Keep your luggage where you can see it at all times on trains. (watch out for people who will slice your luggage open when you are not looking and go through your items)Especially this is done in the luggage holds at you get on the train.

Find out from your hotel staff what areas to avoid, or if you must go that way find out the safest times of day to go.

If you are planning on purchasing an item and you notice questionable people around, try to find a place where no one can see where you hide your cash and credit cards.

If you are traveling with an expensive camera, hopefully you are not traveling alone. Make sure you watch each others backs. If you are traveling alone, keep your camera with the strap around your neck and snugly under your arm. Again purchase a strap with a wire that cannot be cut. If you happen to have a tripod or monopod have it ready to whack someone with it who might try to steal your camera.

There are shirts, jackets, pants, shoes and socks you can purchase that have hidden pockets that cannot be broken into. Some can be purchased at Travelsmith.com.

These are just a few precautions I have learned over the years working in the travel industry.

Prisa

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  • Added on: October 13th, 2009
ParisBreakfast wrote:Sacre Coeur and those annoying African men who shove their stupid bracelets on you and then use obsenities when you refuse to take them!! Why can't the Paris police do something about these men?My sister's daughter who is only 13 had her arm grabbed, a bracelet beginning to be shove on her hand. My sister immediately told them to let go of her and she firmly said no. They didn't like her tone and began to be verbally abusive. Makes me sick sick


The police cannot do anything unless you file a report. So if somebody assults you go to the National Police (not the city police) and tell them you have a problem. They will assist you.

Here is some tips for aggressive vendors, don't even look at them. And don't smile. Americans, foreigners in Paris tend to smile (even without realizing it) at people who are bothering them. To be polite. But you can drop that here. There is no need to be polite to somebody who is bothering you. Parisiens, when they see somebody comming up to them to hawk crap avert their eyes and raise their eyebrows in that obvious "I'm ignoring you" way. If the vendor persists they oh so slighly shake their head 'no'. That's a warning. If they persist after that you are allowed by society here to act like the biggest bitch that ever did be.

Phonetically this is what you say: De gage. It means leave me the fuck alone (tech: get the fuck out of here). And when you say it, people will take note, because it's not something said by people messing around.

I have never had my arm grabbed. Once I had somebody reach for me. I was told that the look on my face (a mixture of shock and rage) was enough to make the man back off. Then again, I kind if have the attitude that if you grab my arm, you're front teeth are about to get knocked out. The men here know better then to do this to a local. Do not EVER be afraid to cop an attutude. The best thing to do is not to even say no. Just do not talk and do not engage. Pretend they don't exist. And if they grab you shout 'Putan' and smack them in the face. Or raise your hand as though you are about to. I'm dead serious here.

Once a man tried to block my exit on the subway near Le Halls/Chatlet (very bad area). He was trying to be intimidating. I pushed right through him and he fell down onto the platform. I walked away quickly. He jumped back on the subway to pick out an easier target.

I'm dead serious when I say this: practice the death stare. The look you will give somebody who is trying to intimidate you. Because you'd be suprised how effective that is for warding people off. If someone is following you, or bothering you. Look them in the eye with the death stare and hold the gaze for a few seconds. For some reason, this has not failed me yet. Most French men (and I say most but make that exception of the kids who hang by the E RER in Gar du Nord and Les Halls) are all talk and no action.

But do be carefull in Le Halls and Chatlet. Watch the wallet and the purse with your life.

Also , I ran into this problem when a friend visited me from Seattle. Do not give money to gypsys. Really. Don't take the peice of paper they come up and hand you. Do not look, smile, or engage. France is the kind of country where you are only homeless if you want to be. They have 1 million social programs here. Gypies that refuse to intigrate should not get your sympathy. Do not, under any circumstances, give money in Paris. To anyone. But especially Gypsies. If you could take a trip out to where I live and see the giant houses they buy with tourist/stolen money you'd think twice about their 'poverty'.

Remember if you're an American most French people already assume you're stronger and better at sports and so forth. Use that to your advantage if you're cornered or intimidated. Use American swear words, and never be ahamed to shout for the Police. They are usually lurking around most tourist areas.
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'The time has come,' the Walrus said,
'To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot --
And whether pigs have wings

Elena1111

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  • Added on: October 15th, 2009
Latvia, Riga.
Avoid going to night club on 24 Kaļķu street. Some years ago its name was "Roxy", but now they change it to get more clients. Now its name is Vavilon!

This is a bad place for tourist, because it is usual thing there, if private items are stolen...
Last edited by Elena1111 on October 23rd, 2009, edited 1 time in total.

Pottevert

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  • Added on: October 19th, 2009
Well - Keep away from Lithuania, Kaunas.

Country it self is beautyfull, but in one week in Kaunas was terrible...
Worst Hostels, worst Travel guids and so on! And the people - they were so impudent!

Oposite was Vilnius!
The best time was year ago and now :D

Visit Rome

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  • Added on: October 21st, 2009
Rome, Italy
Stay away from Piazza Vittorio quarter (not near but not far from Termini station): you will see and meet only chinese, beggars and junkies. And the police can't do anything because they don't have enough agents to put in some difficult parts of the area. And this Miracle Court is growing every day...
Choose between a Rome private tour or a big bus

patricia23

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  • Added on: November 20th, 2009
Same here... Thanks for useful information!

I wonder why agents cannot control those people? I guess it will affect the tourism in Italy.

Visit Rome wrote:Rome, Italy
Stay away from Piazza Vittorio quarter (not near but not far from Termini station): you will see and meet only chinese, beggars and junkies. And the police can't do anything because they don't have enough agents to put in some difficult parts of the area. And this Miracle Court is growing every day...

Visit Rome

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  • Added on: November 24th, 2009
patricia23 wrote:Same here... Thanks for useful information!

I wonder why agents cannot control those people? I guess it will affect the tourism in Italy.

Visit Rome wrote:Rome, Italy
Stay away from Piazza Vittorio quarter (not near but not far from Termini station): you will see and meet only chinese, beggars and junkies. And the police can't do anything because they don't have enough agents to put in some difficult parts of the area. And this Miracle Court is growing every day...

I really hope there isn't a collusion (bribes) between them, because it will be the end of our security. Rome, a so open minded city full of people visiting the Eternal City and proud to see many countries doing excursions every day relegated as a closed and afraid little square of a tiny village for what reason? The inability of people not able to reject them. A crime is a crime, it should be paid in the following way: no more entries in Italy (Rome, Florence, Venice, and so on). But they should begin to do it, instead of talking sterile speeches...
Choose between a Rome private tour or a big bus

coolnice

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  • Added on: May 6th, 2010
I never said not to fly them... even with the cost of having to buy a new cell phone included, the flight was still cheaper than taking the ferry/bus/train would've been. I appreciate Southwest, Freddie and Ryanair all very much... (Branson not so much I don't see the savings...). I am just saying that I have had much better expreinces on other European budget airlines for the same price

London Guy

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  • Added on: June 11th, 2010
Pickpockets in London tube. There are many to beware of so keep you wits about you.m London has 60 million people living in it and many visiting to. If you thinkn you have seen a face before, if you recongnise someone, you should not have. If you get bumped into quite hard and then they appoligize, check your wallet.

Always carry a small amount of cash on you to buy small things like coffee and lunch. Dont expose your wallet full of cash unless you really have to. If and when you do have to try to keep it on view to as few as is possible.

A small bag, with a zip, that you can keep under your shirt or under your trowsers is a good idea. If it is hard for you to get at, it will be hard for others to get at too.

If someone offers you help without you asking, make sure you are aware of where there hands are. If there are more than one of them, just politely refuse.

While I was being helped by one guy, another was having a real good look round my back and pockets. I made eye contact with both of them and made them aware I knew I was being eyed up. In the end they were helpful in pointing me in the direction of Soho but, theye could also have had my wallet if I had not taken care.

Nomadic Nigel

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  • Added on: June 30th, 2010
Royal Steakhouse restaurant and pizzeria in Roma. Its on piazza del colosseo and the corner of via di san giovanni in lanterano. Gorgeous food but I had an issue with a female front of house manager. I think she said she was swedish when I was talking to her. At the end of the meal the customary tip of actually a little over 10% was left despite service having been included in the bill.

As we walked away and across the road the front of house manager ran across to try to get more tip out of us! Clearly the only tip she got from me was to change her manner and stop asking for tips but less seasoned travellers may feel intimidated by someone "begging" for more tip and possibly cave in and pay more!
Have camera, will travel - you coming bro?

Nomadic Nigel

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  • Added on: June 30th, 2010
Whilst I am on Rome...

I parked my rental car on via degli annibaldi. Excellent tip for parking, its absolutely free of charge and right opposite the colosseum. However the warning is there relating to the walk down to the colosseum.

You can walk down some steps through a garden/wooded area. If you google street map it you will see a bloke with an umbrella walking up them follow the link).

As you walk down you are likely to find a number of beggars and pickpockets. One of my party was not at all well travelled and despite me telling him that he should not take all of his money out in his pocket he chose to do so. He was eating chocolate on the way through the park and was accosted by several women. He gave the children the chocolate which was all the excuse they needed. Oe grabbed each arm kissing his hands, another was walking backwards in front of him praising him whilst a final one behind dipped his pockets. She was so clever that she was in a split second able to identify his paper money and credit card whilst leaving his hotel room key card. Others in the party had to fund the rest of his trip as he had not taken out travel insurance!!! Let that be another warning to any unseasoned travellers.
Have camera, will travel - you coming bro?

Maestra LE

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  • Added on: July 2nd, 2010
Steer clear of Casa Giuditta in Palermo.

This is a company that owns several properties around Palermo and rents them out to backpackers. I think some of the properties must be genuinely nice (based on some of the reviews it's gotten on hostelworld), but the one my cousin and I got last summer was quite gnarly. It was on a street that was being torn up, it stank of mildew, and there was very little natural light. The owner had taken us to this place because the property where we were originally supposed to stay (the one that's advertised) had supposedly had its water cut off. Again, based on the reviews, this seems to happen an awful lot, and I don't know if it's legit or if it's a scam. It's a pretty hit-or-miss operation overall, and I say stay away.

Tommy35

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  • Added on: October 19th, 2010
I would say always be wary at markets. Tourists always love to get a bargain and if we here of a market near by, we always go in the hope of soaking up some 'traditional' atmosphere.
When I was on holiday a few years ago on the east coast of Spain, I was at a Sunday market and saw a tall man with a large back pack rustling around his bag next to me. When I glanced down, his bag was FULL of wallets, cameras and mobile phones. He had obviously done a pick-pocketing rampage that morning and was trying to hide the evidence!
Be especially careful when leaning in to look at a stall as this leaves your back pockets and bags wide open to theives!

Shannon123

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  • Added on: October 25th, 2010
Transport in Paris

Avoid the metro after 11pm, especially as a girl. It has a horrible atmosphere, is renowned for almost daily (nightly!) muggings, and is full of flashers too. Paris is relatively small as far as big cities go, so I found the best way to travel home after a night out was to simply hire out a velib (automated state funded bike hire service) and cycle. I realise this is not always easy - many people do this so velibs can sometimes be hard to come by, and I happened to live in Paris over Summer which made temperatures perfect for a 3am cycle home. If you have to take the metro, at least do it with someone else. Don't forget it only runs til 12.30ish anyway.
Last edited by Shannon123 on November 1st, 2010, edited 1 time in total.

blueinsure

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  • Added on: October 27th, 2010
Hi,
Its true that these days no place is safe. There are various things that has to be taken care where ever we travel. Security should be the most important factor to be taken under consideration while we are planning to travel with family and friends.


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