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Pickpocketing and credit card use...

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Pickpocketing and credit card use...

We just returned and these were two topics I asked some questions on and was concerned about before we left. I think it can be helpful if people report back on what the reality was when they were in Spain. On the pickpocketing...we took more precautions that usual in terms of what we carried with us each day and one of us did wear a money belt...again only copy of passport, one credit card and cash. We had no incidents and for the most part felt comfortable. I always had my fairly good size camera in my hands and again no problems. Areas where I did not feel real comfortable were Placa Catalunya, metro (very limited use) and of course La Rambla which we only traversed when necessary. I did see many tourists so careless with their bags, men with wallets literally hanging out so clearly it is a pickpocket paradise. Use good sense and it will probably be fine. I feel good walking and exploring and in advance I was thinking I would not.

Also I was concerned that places would not take my Visa card as it does not have the "chip" which is widely used in Europe. Again no problem...never at any kind of store. I will say most do not want AX so make sure you have Visa or Master if you want to use credit card. They do always ask Euro or USD. I am no international banking wiz but my Visa card is not charged conversion fees...if you do pay those maybe USD better? And it all depends on rate when you do the transaction which is luck of the draw! I do believe only spot where you could have the "chip" problem is in automatic ticket kiosks which we did not use.

Hope this helps future travelers who worry alot in advance as I did. Just go and enjoy.

Barcelona, Spain
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1. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

<I did see many tourists so careless with their bags, men with wallets literally hanging out so clearly it is a pickpocket paradise. Use good sense and it will probably be fine. I feel good walking and exploring and in advance I was thinking I would not.>

i am glad that a tourist writes it, cos when a local write same words all reply he gets is: "you denny pickpocketing problem".

Edited: 07 June 2012, 14:22
Shanghai Region...
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2. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

ha ha. That's slatkin's way of saying: AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH! :-)

Thanks for sharing, gene.

London, United...
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3. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

We just returned from 3 nights in Barcelona, we stayed in Gracia and used the Metro from Fontana to Pg de Gracia/Catalunya daily as well as down to Barceloneta and not once did it feel threatening, in fact it was safer than a lot of cities I have visited with high visibility security in ticket halls and on some of the carriages - that was true of the Ramblas too which had a police wagon parked at the column end and foot patrols.

Barcelona, Spain
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4. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

kerry, It's not that the metro "feels threatening" it's just that pickpockets take advantage when it's crowded (in particular).

gene, thanks for your comments. Including the one about Amex which as you note is much less widely accepted in Europe than either Visa or Mastercard. I assume with no chip you were asked to show photo ID in shops? That was the norm for us with our previous (non-chip) cards. In fact recently I was aked for ID in Primark here as they don't actually have chip machines!

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5. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

I used the card alot (way too much!) and never asked for ID. I was prepared but never asked.

Barnsley, United...
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6. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

The pickpocketing is MASSIVE,trust me..Had bag stolen in Placa Catalunya at 9 am 2 weeks ago when it was empty..Hubby had walked 50 metres away to the aeroport bus and the filthy scum struck..I do believe if he hadn't gone the cowards wouldn't have come now where near..We had a blissful 2 days at the other end of the week before our cruise with no probs at all...NEVER let your guard down..We didn't realise just how big a prob it is till it happened to us and believe me we are streetwise.

7. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

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Preston
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8. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

We have just returned from A week in Barcelona and unfortunately saw three separate people get robbed by pickpockets. One couple had there bag robbed whilst eating a restaurnt near arc de Triomf, one lady had her purse stolen by a large man, whilst browsing an antique stall outside the cathedral (she thankfully got it back), and one lady on the metro who was robbed by two woman.

On the metro they place jackets over there hands then get close to you. As long as you don't let your guard slip you should be fine.

Indianapolis...
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9. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

Before arriving in Barcelona, I read the warnings about crime and took the necessary precautions. We were accosted several times during our trip. On our last day in Barcelona, I was waiting with our luggage outside the AutoEurope office on Vilodomat N. 214. A man approached me and asked an innocuous question. When I turned my head for a second to answer him, another criminal grabbed my backpack. Both of them started running. I started to chase them, but soon realized that other criminals were about to steal our remaining luggage. The people at AutoEurope and on the street could not have been less concerned. It made me feel as if getting robbed in Barcelona is as common as seeing someone cross the street. I counted on one hand the number of policeman we saw during our visit. Don´t let your guard down for a second. We lost everything: our passports, IPad, camera, etc. Barcelona is a city full of thieves.

Indianapolis...
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10. Re: Pickpocketing and credit card use...

Correction to my previous post: We rented our car through AutoEurope. The robbery occurred at the offices of Europcar, 214 Viladomat, Barcelona.