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Students travelling within Europe

Hamilton, Ontario
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Students travelling within Europe

Hi everyone! I am going on a high school trip to France and Italy, and we'll be spending some time in Florence. I must say that I am rather nervous about it after hearing about the thefts and pickpocketing that occurs. Obviously, exercising caution and being alert are the best ways to handle it, but I was hoping if anyone had any other suggestions of things to do to protect myself and my group?

Also, I have heard a lot about the tricks and things that the robbers use, and that there are problems with gypsies in some parts of Italy. Does anyone have any experiences that they'd like to share, or can someone tell me what I should be on the lookout for? Thanks so much, any feedback is appreciated!

Just some other info:

-group of 13 high school students (aged 15-17)

-we will have probably three to four adults with us most of the time

-we will have some time away from the group to go with a smaller group for shopping

-we are generally mature, alert and aware people

-we will be frequenting the major tourist spots (The Duomo, Ponte Vecchio, Santa Croce)

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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1. Re: Students travelling within Europe

I don't know who has been telling you that pick pocketing is a major problem in Florence because it is not true. In Rome yes, in Florence no. Take usual precautions such as not carrying your money in the front pocket of a ruck sack on your back, but in a large group of students with several adults with you, I don't think you have got anything to worry about.

St Paul, MN
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2. Re: Students travelling within Europe

best way to foil pickpockets is to carry your cash (at least most of it) and credit cards in a money belt under your clothes.

Florence Italy
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3. Re: Students travelling within Europe

Just always know where your money is, SuzieP2579, and take special care when in crowded piazze (such as Piazza del Duomo) and other densely-packed places. Because then it's sort of easy to be jostled without knowing that you have been.

The Roma (gypsies) do beg, but they don't usually actually steal, and you can see them, and it's obvious. What's less obvious are the true-pro pickpockets who look exactly the way we do.

But like Peggy says: it's not a huge problem in Florence. If you or your friends carry shoulder bags, make sure that the strap goes over one shoulder and that the bag rests securely in front of you.

Don't worry! What a marvelous school trip you make!

Florence, Italy
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4. Re: Students travelling within Europe

As in all cities, let common sense prevail! Florence is generally a very safe city. Just make sure that you and your girls keep your wits about you when you're in particularly crowded places. Like Artviva said, the gypsies aren't what you need to worry about. If anything, it's the real pros to look out for, and I don't know of a city on Earth that doesn't have them. But relax - whoever told you about all the crimes was being a bit alarmist. You'll have a wonderful time here!

5. Re: Students travelling within Europe

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6. Re: Students travelling within Europe

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Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Students travelling within Europe

@5. That is disgusting, both your racist language and your actions.

Arlington, Texas
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8. Re: Students travelling within Europe

Folks, I'm pretty sure @5 is pulling your leg. Quite a storyteller, I'm sure. (Besides, it is not "Gypsies" that will put their hand in your purse. Those are plain old pickpockets.)

Suzie, teenagers are not especially good at remembering those rules. So, do encourage them to practice... no valuables in their backpacks. If you are walking on the street and carrying anything with shoulder strap, do carry it on the "inside" (toward the shops and not the streets).

I've been to Florence 3 times (about to embark on my 4th) and I am a middle-aged woman. I've never been a victim of pickpocketing, thievery, etc.

One other note- Do not give money to beggars. If anyone gets pushy, just yell loudly "NO" or "BASTA!" (Enough). Also, don't let your kids buy "knockoffs" that are sold from a blanket on the street. (The "sellers" use blankets so that when they see the police coming, they can pull up the blanket by the corners and run.) There is a STIFF fine for buying fake designer merchandise when you know (or should know) it is fake.

You will have a wonderful time. Florence is a grand city with so much history, it gives me goosebumps every time I am there. :) (Make sure your little group ends up in Piazzale Michelangelo for a sunset one evening. The view is spectacular!)

Buon viaggio!

9. Re: Students travelling within Europe

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10. Re: Students travelling within Europe

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