SECURITY AMONG THIEVES AND GYPSIES
Don’t ever underestimate strangers. It’ll be obvious that you’re a tourist because you’ll look lost or speak English or take a selfie and it’ll be a dead giveaway. Gypsies and tourist scammers camp outside of mass transit and tourist attractions and attempt to catch you off guard when you are preoccupied with something else. Keep walking, keep your head down, keep your hands on your valuables, and say NO to everything. If you get cursed by an angry Gypsy woman (as we were), try to laugh it off and hope you don’t turn into a werewolf.
This graphic is the most helpful one I’ve seen to warn you of all the major tourist scams. We experienced gangs of men attempting to force bracelets on our wrists, free floaters who were trying to force roses into our hands, and young gypsy girls coming up to us with clipboards asking us if we spoke English and if we would sign their petition. All of these were aggressive scams, and most of these happened in Paris.
It’s best to travel with a cross body bag that sits on your front where you can see it. It’s harder for thieves to snatch off of you and is generally more comfortable on your shoulders for the large amount of walking you will do. Never place important items out of sight like in a back pocket or the backpack on your back. Depending on the country you’re exploring, you might want to stick with a bag or purse that you are not too emotionally attached to. Rain, dirty cities, and thieves have a way of ruining your favorite accessories.
I purchased a Sholdit scarf for me and my friend Sterling who is constantly traveling internationally. It’s a scarf with internal zippers and pockets to carry valuables safely and discreetly around your neck. It’s perfect for traveling, as no one is thinking about your scarf when you’re carrying a purse.
You can’t plan for everything, so make copies of your passport, travel credit cards, and other forms of I.D. that are hard to replace. Keep a copy of all these things at home or with a person you trust who can get to it in case your passport is stolen. Consider keeping a copy on your person in a separate place from your physical passport. That way if your bag with your passport is stolen, at least you have a backup in your camera bag or suitcase. Just don’t forget where that backup is, and check up on it every once in a while!