Nothing can spoil a trip faster for you or your traveling companions than getting ripped off. While there is very little personal violent crime in Italy, pickpockets abound and they target tourists. Minimize your risk by being aware of your surroundings and protecting your valuables.
- Travel safely. A large wallet/small purse on a wide sturdy strap, worn across my shoulder, held enough cash for the day (not more than $50), pen, journal, emery board, lipstick, plus passport/tickets and camera (while in airports only). If it had gotten stolen, our trip wouldn’t have been ruined. Keep credit cards, credit card receipts (they still print the whole number on the receipt), bankcard, traveler’s checks, passport, return airline tickets, digital media cards, and cash in a money belt under your clothing. I wore my money belt over my shoulder, under my shirt, and tucked in my jeans just behind my right rear pocket. No lumps, no bumps. Jen wore hers under her jeans in front. Wear day packs IN FRONT on buses and subways and stay alert.
- Plan ahead. Photocopy passports and traveler’s checks and have your partner keep a copy of “yours” while you keep a copy of “theirs.”
- Call ahead. Alert your credit card companies and bank that you will be making purchases/withdrawals abroad so they won’t shut you down thinking your card has been nabbed. They’ll want to know the dates of travel and countries you’ll be visiting.
- Pack light. Then take some stuff out. We each took one roller bag, a day pack, and a tote bag or back pack. We didn’t check any luggage on the plane which saved us time and energy. We could lift our suitcases ourselves for overhead storage on trains and could haul it all up and down stairs without help. For someone who normally carries in excess of 150 pounds of luggage for a three-day teaching trip, this was a big change! For ten days with temperatures mostly in the 70s I took (including what I wore on the first day) a windbreaker, fleece jacket, umbrella, shorts and T-shirt to sleep in, 3 short-sleeved Ts, 1 long sleeve shirt, 2 long-sleeved Ts, 1 ¾-sleeved T, 3 pair of pants, 1 belt, one scarf, 2 bras, 6 pair of socks, and 7 pair of underpants—3 of which I threw out along the way, 2 pair of shoes, laundry soap, and a clothesline. Next time I’d take less socks (easy to wash), more underwear to throw out, just one pair of shoes, and no clothes line. There was no place to hang it and we did better with hangers in the hotel rooms. I would have added one of those sample vials of perfume.
- Carry food and sewing/reading supplies in tote/large backpack for train/plane travel. For city travel take toilet paper (replenished whenever you see it) and bottled water in your day pack leaving the rest empty for things you accumulate along the way.