Heading to Italy in a couple of weeks on a guided tour this time. We've looked @ the money belts and they seem like a hassle. The neck job would be easier. What or where do you men keep your ATM & credit card(s)? I will be carrying a messenger/sling purse across the front me of that has zippered compartments, and am not worried about my set of cards... The husband seems to think I'm over reacting about him keeping them in one of those small slotted wallets that are made for carrying cards (also has a magnetic money clip on reverse side) in his front pocket? Any suggestions or ideas, is greatly appreciated so I can pass it on for him to read.
That small slotted wallet will be a fond memory if he's hit by pickpockets....getting those out of a front pocket is child's play for the experienced pickpocket. I've had stuff stolen from the inside pocket of a suit jacket...and didn't even know it until it was too late.
Jennifer, the Husband is right. I've been to Europe many times carrying my cards in one of those things in my front pocket and never had a problem. Naturally one should always be aware of pickpockets, etc., but I think we really overdo it with the worrying. Europe is safer than the U.S. A few years ago my wife decided that I should wear a money pouch and I told her...no thanks, this works fine.
It's your choice (and your money). I've always used a money belt and have never found it to be a hassle. Then again, I don't access it very often. I keep my passport, credit cards, and the majority of the money I take out of the ATM in it. Each morning I take out enough money for the day and maybe 20-30E extra into my pocket, the rest is safe in the money belt.
To me its a cost/benefit tradeoff. I'm willing to trade off some convenience against the alternative (perhaps unlikely) of running into some pickpocket or gypsies and ending up standing in Europe without my passport, credit cards, & money. It's the same principle I use when buying travel insurance and carrying a large uninsured motorist coverage on my car. But I understand that others may view the tradeoff differently.
i said this b-4, will again:
get those kind of pants where the pocket top has those brass snap buttons...BUTTONS..where YOU really have to pull hard to open your pocket..[if YOU do, so do "they"], or sew them on...as far as not being concerned? i don't know if you happened to see "60 Minutes" a few months back, but a stolen credit card can be used in less then 3 minutes, AFTER being sold on the internet...tell him to be concerned.
I went to Italy recently with a money belt and a fake wallet. The wallet was real but it had nothing in it. I also had a back pocket with a button. After a few days, I removed the money belt. I carried my passport, 2 ATM cards and one credit card in my front pocket and folding money in the other front pocket. I have read often about the pickpockets but I felt just as comfortable as I do at home. I know that that is a foolish position to take but we didn't have a problem. Also,there are nice travel pants that have zippered areas inside your front pocket. Really neat and about as pickpocket proof as you're going to get. They just didn't fit me.
"Europe is safer than the U.S."
That depends on how you define safer. In terms of violent crime Europe is indeed safer. But when it comes to petty crime like pickpockets and flim-flam artists, Europe is not safer. Do you really want to risk valuable vacation time waiting in police stations to file reports, standing in line at consulates getting passport replaced, and waiting in a hotel for replacement credit cards to arrive? Especially when a $5 dollar money belt/neck wallet would prevent all of this??? Any one traveler that does not follow Rick's simple money belt advice is asking for trouble.
I wear a money belt when I'm going to be on a subway or major tourist attractions such as Notre Dame or St. Mark's. But for everyday touring outside of the big cities I keep some cash and one card in my front pocket - as long as I know that passports and other important items are in a safe place.
Thanks all for your input! We've been over to Italy, France, etc., before with no problems. Except once on the Metro in Paris, we had to stand and hold onto to the railing as the seats had been taken. We were facing each other and I see this guy's hand slide right under my husbands sportscoat! I grabbed his hand and just started yelling at him and then some locals realized what had happened and tore into this scumbag as well. I know it's mostly common sense, pickpockets can happen anywhere. In all of our past travels, I'm usually the banker and am charge of the cards, passports, etc. Just looking over the new bag I purchased for this trip, there's so many zippers and compartments anybody including myself will have a field day getting into it! As far as the husband goes, he plans on wearing shorts during the day which have zippers or velcro. Guess the ole boy will get some Euro's to shove in his pocket & I'll take care of the rest. The wallet is being returned. Thanks again~
As a female traveling to Italy this past spring, I brought a pacsafe tote bag with me and my valuables were inside, with clips on zippers etc. I also wore a pair of socks with one sock having a zippered pocket. Here I kept "mad money" that I could get to quickly. Pickpotters would be very suspicious crouching down at your feet to steel (although, gypsy children might). Anyway, I liked the combination of the two. I also brought a neck pouch, but only used it on the days I was flying.
Norm hit the nail on the head. One of our friends tried the front pocket thing in Rome, and boom! no more cards and cash!
Yes, and I have been to Europe many times, and no one pickpocketed me when I used to carry my billfold in my front pocket.......but not anymore.
I thru away my money belt (too much of a hassle) and use a small neck purse. Works great, easy access, and no one can see that I have it.
There are a variety of strategies for protecting ATM, credit cards & cash when travelling. One of the best methods is a Money Belt and even if one hasn't had any problems, it's still highly recommended!
I normally try to separate both cards and cash, keeping these in different locations. That way if a pickpocket should happen to get one wallet, I haven't lost everything.
Some lines of "travel clothing" have internal pockets secured with Velcro or zippers, and that's certainly one option. One example is the "Classic" Shorts and Pants offered by Tilley.
As someone else mentioned, it's not a good idea to keep card with magnetic stripes in close proximity to a magnetic money clip. If the card is "erased", it won't be of any use to you.
Don't be too complacent about "front pockets". I know someone that had a wallet "lifted" from a zippered front pocket in the Subway in Rome, and he didn't notice a thing! The thieves in Europe are VERY proficient!
I have worn a money belt on several trips to Europe. To me it is not a hassle and after wearing it for a few hours I hardly notice I am wearing it. No, it is not as convenient or as easy as reaching in my pocket to pull out my wallet but at the same time the wallet is an easy target for a pickpocket. The risk is not worth it to me. Don't know what the odds are of having your pocket picked while in Europe...Probably a very few percentage of people have a problem but it happens often enough to be concerned. If not a money belt a neck pouch or something under the clothing should be considered. It just puts the mind at ease while traveling and that is important.
Rick Steves put a humorous slant on it when he said that if someone reached in and tried to get something out of his money belt it would be a new cultural experience. :)
We are going to be in Rome in 10 days and after reading all the posts and buying both a money belt and a neck pouch we have taken another route altogether, niether felt comfortable so i went to my local taylor with 3 pair of pants that I intended to bring on our trip and simply had him sew pockets on the inside of my pants pockets. They work great to access them I simply have to reach inside my waist band something that a pickpocket evan the most skilled of which would never risk. total cost 12.00
I agree with the posters that point out that Europe is largely safe and that on several trips have not had a problem. It is also valid that the average Italian, Franc, or German goes to much less trouble and concern regarding money and credit cards. All that is very logical, with the exception that if the average Italian loses his credit card or Driver license, it is relatively easy for him to get a replacement and proceed with normal life...just as you or I would in the US. On a trip I do not have that luxury. To suddenly be cut off from cash then spend time (valuable vacation time) rectifying the situation is a major inconvienance, possibly ruining the trip. So, to take a simple precaution like a moneybelt is only prudent.
I use a money belt (pouch that zips and is worn around my waist underneath my shirt) when in Rome, Florence, Naples, Pompeii, and Venice. When in Siena and other Tuscan towns, I don't bother and keep my money and card(s) in my front pocket. I'm not one who worries about this a lot, but I figure better safe than sorry--four times to Italy and never a problem with this system.
We always felt safe and then my husband was pickpocketed on the train the 1st day we arrived in Zurich. The first thing the police woman handed him was a brochure in 4 or 5 languagues saying beware of pickpockets. After that expericen I bought him a pouch that attaches to his belt and is worn inside your pants. He even wore it in Disney World a few weeks ago. Better safe then sorry. We didn't believe that it would happen to us until it did.
My husband and I both keep our ATM cards, passports, and large sums of cash in our money belts. We might keep one credit card plus petty cash in his wallet in his front pants pocket. If we lose the cash or one credit card, it wouldn't be a huge deal, just a minor incovenience. As long as we have our ATM cards and a backup credit card safely tucked away, we are willing to assume that risk. I personally think you and your husband should keep your ATM cards in your money belt or neck wallet. It might be awkward trying to access them when you withdraw money, but if you take out as much as you can in each withdrawal, you can limit the number of times you need to access the contents of your money belt.
I'm a safety kind of guy! I have an waist money belt where I keep things that I won't need very often: railpasses, return trip tickets, a copy of credit card numbers, my driver's license, my passport after I've landed and checked in to my hotel. Then I have a type of pouch that attaches to my belt and is stored in my trousers. In that, I keep my debit card, credit cards and any large cash reserves. In my front pocket, I keep a small wallet with some cash but not a great deal and metro tickets/visitors passes. On our last trip in March 2005, it was pretty cold, so I wore flannel shirts with pockets that had a button and a vest that I kept zippered and my leather jacket. Kept my wallet in my buttoned shirt pocket and never had one concern at all. Always keep my head and my hand over my wallet in my pocket on a metro and when I see a group of young beggars. Have never really felt uncomfortable in our 4 trips to Europe. Bon voyage!
Hello Jennifer, this man wears a silk waist moneybelt. Not stylish or manley, but safe and secure. The pickpockets in Rome are not more cleaver than other fellow pickpockets in Europe, they just outnumber them. Before you know it you are surrounded by four or five young boys (7 to 11 years old) pushing at you from all sides, digging into pockets and purses pulling anything out they can get thier hands on. Years ago my wife and I were given the treatment on the Roman Metro near the Coluseum. Packed Metro with two or three of those pickpocketing gangs on in the car. I got out of the Metro untouched but my wife was carrying one of those zipper everywhere purses (maybe like the one your planning on taking). When she got topside and relaxed the entire purse fell apart spilling contents everywhere. It had been completly unzipped by the gangs. To her credit the pickpockets got nothing. All valuables were tucked away. Your just don't have enough hands to protect your stuff.
OMG!!! I had no idea I'd be getting all the responses I have, thank you! I don't know if I should go purchase myself a straight jacket or just chill and start drinking the vino now! Wow, some of the stories you've shared are darn right scary. We are totally re-evaluating the who carries what and how situation. Since we're going on a guided tour, I hope that might help some? We've always travelled on our own in the past so this is going to be a new adventure. But I certainly don't plan on being with the tour bunch at all times and shall want to wander off on our own to explore. Have no plans in taking any bus, metro, whatever. Lots of walking and when the tour bus isn't available, it's taxi time. I've seen and experienced the gypsies in Rome once, and don't want to have to encounter them again! This time over it's Rome, Capri, Venice, Florence & somewhere in the Tuscan hills(?)...
I have read most of the entries and everyone has spoke of using a Money Belt. I will tell you that I have used both the Money belt and the Neck Wallet (Rick's of course) and have found the Neck Wallet easier to live with then the Money belt. But this does come down to which you feel most comfortable with using. I would say find a store that specializes in travel gear and try it for yourself. Good Luck!
Your last posted mentioned a previous encounter with Gypsies. I saw a post on another travel message board that had a bit of a "discussion" on them. If you want to read it, check
(you'll have to go to Page 1 of the Thread to get the "gist" of the discussion)
I carried a waist money belt for items that I only had to access at limited times and usually in the privacy of my hotel room. This included my pasport, eurailpass, credit card, ATM card and cash I had drawn from an ATM. I also carried a thin wallet in my front zippered pants pocket into which I would allot my daily amount of spending cash. The pants were chino's I found online from LL Bean and it was like having two pockets together, one open and a deep zippered one. They worked great and were easy to keep clean. Very tough for a pickpocket to get into without being noticed. I would try to pay cash as much as possible and only carry the credit and ATM cards in when absolutely necessary.
Hi, Jennifer. If you can bear to read one more post, here's my opinion. I've used neck pouches before but found them to be irritating, especially when I'm someplace that's really warm. I use a moneybelt, but my hubby prefers one of the money pouches that hook over his belt and slip inside his pants. He doesn't like having something extra around his waist, and he finds getting into the belt-attached money pouch pretty simple when he needs to, but secure from thieves. My sis, who has traveled with Rick many times and should know better, has on occasion neglected to wear her money belt and has been pickpocketed, as has her hubby. Better safe than sorry, as you'll lose valuable time and have a lot of hassle if you lose your money and credit cards.
Having been nailed on the 64 Bus, aka The Wallet Express, on my first trip to Rome 16 years ago, I can attest to the fact that putting a wallet in the front pants pocket doesn't help. Rome is great & I am going back for the third time in a couple of months. You just need to be cautious and attentive & use the various security pouches available. Tourists are targets. Accept that fact and act accordingly. Caution, precaution, but not paranoia.
My wife and I was talking with a couple while on the train riding between two of the Cinque Terre towns. This couple was with a tour group and they told us that one of the gentlemen on their tour had his pocket picked at the train station. Don't remember which one but it was one of the 5 Terre towns. Maybe Monterossa. Anyway there is not necessarily safety in numbers where lurking pickpockets are concerned. Tour groups are targets as well as individuals.
For my zippered bags, I safety-pin the zipper pull to the bag. It's not completely pickpocket-proof, but it makes for one more little hurdle to get inside of the bag.
I was thinking of sewing velcro to the inside of the opening of some pants pockets. Has anyone tried this yet? Did it work well?
Hope all of these replies don't make you so nervous that you don't enjoy your trip. My husband wears a waist money belt and I wear a neck one, personal preference, I keep a little cash for lunch and such in an inside zippered pocket each day, just not much.
also I keep a copy of his passport main page and he keeps a copy of mine in the money belts, just to make getting a replacement and making a report easier. We have never had a problem. The other thing is make it very clear to beggars, even children, that the answer is no. And don't let them touch you, look them straight in the eye, so they know that you won't be intimidated. They don't want to start a scene, so you won't have to, the Italians will come to your defense.
Always use a money belt for all the valuables which you must carry with you, except a small (daily) amount of euros which you can easily reach and don't mind losing. My husband lived in New York City for 20 years always carrying money and his front pocket and was never once pickpocketed. Then came Italy. Need I say more?
I've heard two conflicting things recently:
I believe that Rick said in one of his blog posts this summer that as Italy has become more economically successful, the incidence of pickpocketing has decreased.
On the other hand, my daughter attended a seminar in Rome this summer and her class was visited by someone from the U.S. Embassy on day one warning them never to travel around the city with their passports as stealing and selling U.S. passports is a big money game.
I used the RS neck pouch for large amounts of cash and my ATM/Debit/Credit cards and carried daily cash and an ATM only card in my purse. I started with one of the PacSafe purses but found it so uncomfortable I gave it up after two days. The one I carried is so small and fits so completely under my arm it would be seriously difficult to get into.
Neither daughter nor I had problems. We were probably equal parts lucky and safe.