We all know most dads are fairly casual at times. Some of us have our wives, partners, husbands who take the lead in taking precautions and always on the lookout for the rest of the family
There is one thing my wife is always worried about when we travelled…it was getting something stolen or worse getting caught up in a scam. After 4 trips and no issues, I think it is safe to say that I had become a bit forgetful that these things can happen or maybe a little blaze that it would not happen to us.
All of that changed very quickly when we had a run of bad luck on one of our trips. While some may look at it as just that, a bad run I found it so hard when it was happening and questioned whether I had taken the appropriate tourist safety measures.
Cities like Rome and Barcelona are notorious for pickpocketing and I have witnessed it close up in both cities. I saw a lady getting her pockets picked on the subway in Rome and I witnessed a man have his wallet taken by a lady in Barcelona. Sometimes the thieves work in gangs and other times they look for an opportunity to strike.
The best tip to avoid being pickpocketed is to not carry a wallet or anything bulky in your pockets that make you a target. One such method is to carry a money clip. It is slim lined and fits easily into any pocket without being noticed. Wear a shirt with pockets on your chest or a jacket with sewn inside pockets. This makes it much harder for criminals to get to your money.
The Bracelet or Bangle Scam:
We have come across these scams in Rome and Paris. You will usually find a group of men hovering around the main tourist attractions. In Paris, it was in Montmartre at the base of Sacre Couer Cathedral and Rome it was near The Forum. They will start chatting with you and telling you they have something of good luck for you.
They may target your kids as they know kids like these things. They will say it is no charge it’s no charge then after they have put it on you they will ask you for a donation of some sort. So no, it is really no charge! It’s a donation which is blurring lines there for sure. Tourist safety can be a concern with these con artists. A firm no and keep walking is your best bet
In Lisbon, we were standing around in Praca Commerical trying to figure out which tram went to Belem. After trying to figure out our travel guide and the signs at the tram stop an old man approached us slowly and asked if we needed any help.
Not thinking anything of it we said we were looking for the tram to Belem but were unsure of which side we should be catching the tram on. The old man told us the tram number and the side to get on, which was great! Straight after this, he asked to be paid for his trouble. The moral of the story…be wary of old men offering their help!.
The petition you will find in a few countries across Europe especially Italy and Germany. Someone will approach you looking legitimate holding a clipboard with a petition. It will look legitimate, they will have logo’s they have photocopied on the petition and all.
After telling you a small spiel on what it is all about they will have you sign and then proceed to ask you for a donation to the cause. Your best bet is just to ignore them and keep walking on your safe travels. Some of these characters have been known to get aggressive.
The Stupidy Scam:
Yes, the stupidity scam is one caused by your own stupidity. This can happen when you have travelled safely for a while and nothing has happened or you have the attitude it won’t happen to me. We had just finished visiting Pompeii and we were sitting on the train at Naples train station. I put my bag down in front of me on the chair I was going to sit on, while I got my daughters organised. I heard a commotion at the other end of the carriage I turned to look at what was going on for a split second.
Low and behold when I went to move my bag to sit down, it was gone. I broke the golden rule, I let my bag out of my eyesight, I got distracted and then I stung with the stupidity scam. In situations like this Travel Insurance is a must as we had a camera, Marley’s glasses and other personals in the bag. Always make sure you report any theft to the local police and your insurance company within the first 24 hours and make sure you know what information you will need.
The Heart-strings Scam
This is one that pulls on the heart-strings of everyone. In plenty of cities that we have visited there are men, women and children begging with a cup in front of them on the street? It is so hard to walk past them, especially when some have physical injuries or small children in their arms but unfortunately, you don’t know where that money is going or even if the person actually gets it.
It can be hard but you need to keep walking. We did get taken once with a little scam like this in Rome once. A little boy was out the front of the toilets looking stressed and saying he needed to go but had no money. I gave him the money to get in only to have him laugh at me and run off to give the money to an older lady sitting on a chair! Cheeky!
Ok, Dads just shows some common sense and be aware of your surrounding and it will be all good. But travel insurance is a must for international travel. I always say “if you can’t afford travel insurance you can’t afford to travel”
About the Author
Mark Wyld is a father, Husband and traveller. Having been to over 30 countries worldwide I think I know a thing or 2 about travelling with kids. I have been writing about travel on our website for the last 4 years and have featured on numerous other websites. When I am not talking, dreaming and planning travel I can be found working in disability support