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General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

West Australia
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General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

Hi, I am keen to hear from fellow travellers about general safety tips they use when abroad. We haven't travelled overseas in years...helpful friends have told us the things they do but it's just stressing us out! We are travelling to UK, Italy, France only.

We are packing sensibly, having small amounts of cash only, using cards as much as possible and have duplicates of all documents etc.

Upon announcing that we are going to Paris one person told us to the do the following---take old handbags containing expired cards and other items you don't care about, old makeup etc so it can be happily stolen. Meanwhile your cards, money passport are tucked into strange locations in your clothing (Can't imagine what it's like to retrieve a credit card from one's underwear in a shop!).

Any ladies out there with suggestions?

Sacramento,Ca.
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1. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

I've traveled many times to the places you are going. My first advice would be: Don't leave ANYTHING of real value in your hotel room (same advice for anyplace you travel). Leave the good jewelry, etc. at home and just take some cheap stuff. Although I do wear my wedding ring. I've never had any problems at all.

Forget the purse when traveling as that's just is asking for trouble. Learn to live without carrying everything you own! A Fannie pack is definitely safer (yes it mark you as a tourist, but the camera does that anyway.) And carry it in the front where you can see it. It should be big enough to carry a camera, your airline tickets, a comb and maybe a lipstick.

Travel stores and catalogs sell small pouches that go under your clothes with an elastic strap to go around the neck. Totally safe and quite comfortable. Perfect for passports, a credit card, drivers license and extra money. If you're wearing long pants, and it's not hot, elastic leg bands can also be handy to put things in.

Washington DC...
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2. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

I have studied in Europe and have travelled abroad solo several times. The key is to blend in with the local crowd & to keep a low profile. Pretend like you live/work there. Dress similar to the locals. Act like you know where you're going even if you're unsure. Don't stop, just keep moving. If you get lost, go into a store and ask. The worst thing to do is stand on the street corner with a map, looking confused.

There is no need to waste your money on all those special passport holders & bags and things. The industry tries to scare us into thinking we need this stuff. Nonsense! Europeans carry purses everyday and don't seem to have problems. I've never once seen anyone get their purse stolen, but have seen a few get hit by cars due to looking the wrong way in London.

Keep plane tickets and copies of all documents in your hotel room safe. Stay in places that have good security measures in place and are discrete about your room number.

For France & Italy, learn the phrase "Laissez-moi tranquille" to ward off any annoying men. They can get pretty aggressive, especially if you have blond hair.

If you stay aware at all times, then you should not run into any problems. Don't stress - it's a vacation - Have fun!! : )

West Australia
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3. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

Thanks for the advice!

San Francisco...
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4. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

Hi Peth Girl. I think the above advise is good. Try to fit in, when in Paris dress like the Parisians etc. No sneakers! As for purses, I just got back from Paris and used my small messenger bag the whole time I was there. I would wear it under my coat when I was in crowded areas, and over my coat if we were in less crowded areas. Being Australian I have blonde hair and blue eyes, not very Parisian to say the least however I never had problems with people harassing me, even on the few occasions I went shopping without my family. I was also in Rome in April 2004 and carried the small Prada Messenger bag under my coat, it is a little more sketchy in Rome however still no problems. Have fun I am sure that you will enjoy yourself.

Portskewett, United...
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5. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

Hi Perthgirl,

Where are you staying in the UK? I assume London?

I go up to london quite a lot - often on my own wondering about - there is absolutely no problem during the day time - just be as careful as you would at home - I always wear my bag across my body and in winter , underneath my coat so noone can see it. Touch wood, I have never had a problem or seen any to be honest. At night if you are going to the popular places you will be fine where there are lots of people about - just avoid very quiet streets in not so nice areas - which guide books should warn you to avoid.

Use the hotel room safe for your tickets / passport etc - if the rooms don't have them then the hotel lobby will.

I live in a small city in Wales, and there are places here I wouldn't go at night and I bet there are the same type of areas in Perth - so please don't get hung up on security - just be sensible!!!! AND ENJOY YOURSELF!!!

NB - I went to Paris last April and it was the same there - this time I was a real tourist and apart from keeping my bag across my body, I didn't feel threatened there at all. - so again just enjoy - remember - these cities need your money - so the Police make sure the tourist areas are safe and most Brits are very nice and will help you if you ask

If you are going to other UK cities - the chance of anything happening is even less

Sarah

West Australia
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6. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

Thanks diving4gold. I appreciate the advise. Did you stay in Paris? Any recommendations?

West Australia
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7. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

Hi sarahms,

I am probably staying at the County Hall or Days Inn Waterloo for the first leg of the stay in London. Will travel through the UK for a week or so, only making a few major stops (Bath, Oxford, York etc) as we want to see where our family/parents are from.

My guess is I will be doing the traditional sight seeing, spending loads of time in museums/west end. Will change hotels later to one in the west end/bloomsbury.

You're right about having fun and not getting to hung up. I wouldn't walk thru the streets of Perth alone, nor would I wave my purse around or have my bag on one shoulder :)

Thanks!

Chorley, United...
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8. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

My wife and I travel frequently and widely in Europe - we are both in our 70's. The only trouble we have ever had anywhere was in Palermo (Sicily) where we witnessed (not us) a scooter handbag snatch from a local elderly lady. We found pestering gypsy beggars a nuisance in Bologna but have nver had a loss.

There are simple precautions to be taken anywhere - do not leave wallets in hip pockets, you are asking for pickpockets in crowded areas - though the only loss I have ever had was in Nairobi some 50 years ago when I was still inexperienced. My wife always carries her handbag with the strap across her body and over the opposite shoulder so very difficult to snatch if it is a stout strap. If I am carrying a camera - a very expensive model - then again the strap is always round my neck and the camera on my chest.

Dress sensibly for the weather but try not to look too like a tourist - dress up rather than down though I never wear a tie anywhere.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

Hi Perhgirl,

Sorry haven't been on the boards for a few days. We stayed at the Hilton Arc de Triomphe in the 8th arrondisement (151 Rue de Courselles). It is a brand new hotel so was incredibly clean, keep in mind I was travelling with my husband and 3 kids so we had the family suite. This is a great hotel if you need two rooms. You can probably find something cheaper and closer to tourist attractions just by reading what people on these boards recommend. Have a great time.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: General safety tips/advise for two women travelling to UK...

The name of the hotel I stayed in when I was in Paris in 2000 was Hotel De Buci 22, rue de Buci - 75006 Paris It was in a great area and the hotel was clean. You might want to try expedia and see what type of price you can get there.