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seeking advice on traveling light -

Miami Beach, Florida
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seeking advice on traveling light -

Having read all the advice on being careful when traveling in Italy and avoiding pickpockets, etc. getting a money belt and other precautions what do we really need to have with us? Once we are in Rome, Florence or Venice and if we wanted to be out and about seeing the sights do we need to have our passports with us or can we just leave them in the hotel?

Would it be enough to leave everything behind in the hotel wallets, purses, multiple credit cards, drivers license etc and just have one credit card and some cash or do we need anything else?

To make purchases, do you need anything more than a credit card or cash?

Or to put it another way, what do we need to have with us ?

Thanks again for all your helpful advice and suggestions.

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

I carry my driver's license and a copy of my passport, some money and one credit card. My husband carries the ATM card, driver's license and some money. I don't even carry a purse if I can wear a jacket -- I get travel jackets with inner security pockets. If it is hot, I often use one of those REI travel shirts with the roll up sleeves and a zip pocket or sometimes carry a small purse.

We get hotels with room safes or if using apartments just leave stuff in the apartments. We have rented about 50 apartments and they always have very secure doors with deadbolt locks. We had on burglary in London when the landlord failed to throw the deadbolt when she finished cleaning and my son's backpack was rifled and his camera stolen. (there were burglaries in several apartments in the building at the same time)

some say the passport 'must be carried.' My view is that losing a passport is a major hassle and that having a copy and a driver's license will probably suffice and if it doesn't, the passport is the least of my problems. I have been traveling in Europe since 1960 and have never had to produce a passport yet except when doing banking business. I doubt if I am going to prison because the passport is in the hotel safe and if I do, I'll write a book about it.

Hagerstown, Maryland
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2. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

In general, I have some cash in one pocket (plenty enough to get me through the day), and a credit card in another pocket. You do not need anything else to purchase anything. Unless you stop into an internet cafe, where they will need an official ID (driver's license or passport).

Miami Beach, Florida
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3. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

Thanks for your advice. It will be easy not carrying around wallets and passports etc. and leaving them in our room.

I guess then we might have to wonder about leaving that stuff behind in our hotel room. Just wondering if hotels need to see passports when checking in? Or is that something that each hotel has their own policy about.

United States
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4. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

I learned the hard way not to carry everything with you and not to carry everything in the same wallet/pouch/pocket. I carry a laminated copy of my passport and leave the real thing locked in my suitcase at the hotel/apartment. The copy has been accepted everywhere including leaving it for security for audio guide rentals and at internet cafes. I have multiple credit and debit cards and normally just take the one I plan to use that day.

Currently, I had 3 cards with me in order to make multiple withdrawals for apartment money and was separated from my wallet after I had made the first withdrawal. I've had to go through the hassle of canceling all 3 cards, making a police report and numerous calls to the US, buying a new SIM because one CC company refused to call me back and used up all my phone credit and I couldn't add more time to the old one, and am now facing trying to pick up my rental car with only my IDP, a photo copy of my driver's license, and the police report. Should be interesting.

Another very helpful thing was that I photocopied the front and backs of all the ID/credit/debit cards I have with me so that I could show the police exactly what went missing. If there is any kind of language gap, a picture is worth many thousand words. Also, the out of US phone numbers are on the backs of the cards.

Showing your passport at hotel checkin is Italian law and not a decision by individual hotels. I have shown them a copy and that's usually good.

TAB

Edited: 15 April 2012, 17:09
Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

you have to show the passport at hotel check in -- but I no longer leave it with them for more than a hour after watching the very casual security at Italian hotels with passports -- they leave them in exposed key boxes, lying on the counter etc -- I always have a few photocopies and leave one if necessary

I am not terribly comfortable leaving valuables in a hotel room unless there is a safe. we always try to get a room with a safe which increasingly is easy to do. in a pinch locking it in the suitcase can be done -- but hotel rooms are never very secure.

Norwich, United...
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6. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

>>> ...some say the passport 'must be carried'.

The "some" in question being Italy's government - in the terrorism legislation introduced some years ago now.

For those from appropriate countries, substitutes such as an EU photo-driving licence are acceptable...

http://www.dfa.ie/home/index.aspx?id=418

…fco.gov.uk/en/…res-entry-reqs-for-italy

... however, for Americans, I don't think anything other a passport will suffice?

I look forward to buying that book!

Peter

San Jose, California
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7. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

By Italian law, you are supposed to have a photo ID on you at all times. There are a few times when you will certainly need to have your passport ID (a copy is generally fine). A Driver's license does not suffice as it can not be a state issued photo ID, it must be issued by country:

You will need your passport (or a copy of) if you are making a larger purchase (over 155 euros) and want the store to complete the VAT refund paperwork for you (They are giving you the refund up front but it is up to you to submit the paperwork).

You will need your passport if you are purchasing a SIM and/or data chiavetta. Same as mentioned above if you want to use the Wi-Fi in an internet cafe or similar.

You will need your passport if you are driving and stopped by the police (You will also need your International Driving Permit).

You will need your passport if you are stopped by the Guardia di Finanza - the police that work under the Ministry of Finance. These are the police that might ask to see a receipt of those who have recently bought an item, dined at a restaurant, or otherwise incurred VAT. One used to be heavily fined on the spot if you could not produce the receipt, but since 2003, the customer no longer incurs a fine. They simply want to have a look at the receipt to make sure the business has billed and taxed properly. But be warned, should you purchase one of those purses or other fakes from a vendor with their items laid out on a blanket – you could be stopped by the Guardia di Finanza.

And as mentioned, you must produce your passport, or a copy to the hotels when checking in. This is so that they may register you with the local questura or police.

Miami Beach, Florida
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8. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

Thanks for all your helpful advice. Making copies of passports is a great idea. We will likely do the same for whatever credit cards we decide to take with us. I think we will also go through our wallets etc before leaving on our trip and only take the few essential cards we would use and leave everything else at home. Maybe even get new wallets that are slimmer and less bulky.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

you keep posting this dire news about mandatory passport carry Brit -- show me one example of an ordinary tourist who is cooling their heels in prison in Italy because they were not carrying a passport but had left it in the hotel safe.

Miami Beach, Florida
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10. Re: seeking advice on traveling light -

Just curious for now and future reference. If you are traveling with your family does everyone (kids also) need to submit their passport when checking in to a hotel or just the one whose name the hotel is reserved under.

Does that Italian law apply to everyone or is it adults only or what age does it apply to?

Traveling around with copies of passports (aside from the fact that they are copies and the original is safe) almost defeats the traveling lightly idea. Anyway, I don't see us making expensive purchases are going to an internet cafe, but thanks for that information.