Tips from Tiff: (Almost) Pickpocketed in Rome

On a 3-week trip to Europe in 2007 we accidentally left our camera in a cab and didn’t have a camera for the rest of the trip.

Back in November while traveling in Japan, I accidentally left our camera and my phone on the Bullet Train in Kyoto. Luckily this was Japan, and after talking to the front desk clerk and her making some phone calls, our camera and phone were located at the lost and found at the next train station.

Both of these were a little different than our experience in Rome in 2012.

First, against our better judgment, we’re traveling with more bags than we would have liked (our kids were 8 and 3 at the time). We had just gotten off of a bus from the airport to the central train station and our plan was to take the metro and then a bus to our hotel.

We had met up with a friend so there are five of us and a lot of luggage. Totally obvious we’re tourists.

As we’re about to get on the metro (during rush hour) my husband reminds us to “watch out for pickpocketsâ€.

No sooner are those words out of his mouth then he feels a hand in his front pocket (where his wallet is).

He immediately puts his hand on his wallet and asks the woman “what do you think you are you doing�

pickpocket theif

Then she starts backing off like she wasn’t trying to do anything and my husband starts shouting and pointing at her “pickpocket, pickpocketâ€.

So now the entire car is staring at them and she’s backing off with her hands in the air. We assume she didn’t understand English, but she also didn’t want to draw attention to herself. As soon as the train stopped she left our car.

Obviously the best thing to do to avoid pickpockets is to keep your valuables in a place that’s not easily accessible. Since we were carrying all our stuff this was a little difficult for us. The second thing is to pay attention to your surroundings. Many pickpockets use distraction, a commotion, newspapers, whatever it takes to draw your focus somewhere else. We found that the best thing to do is to draw attention to them because that’s the last thing they want.

Thankfully my husband’s situational awareness kept him from getting pickpocketed.

Have you ever caught someone trying to pickpocket you? What did you do?

Also, here’s a great guide for avoiding pickpockets in the first place.

About Tiff

Tiff's first big vacation was a Caribbean cruise when she was six. She first started getting interested in deals when her husband showed her the tricks to getting bought off your flights back in the late 90s. She started flying nonrev when they got married; the first unusual nonrev she did was in '05 when her family flew through San Juan to get to Dallas from Philly. They have two boys, ages 10 and 6, who she usually drags along on their travels and hopes they will grow up to love traveling as much as she does.

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One comment

  1. Hi, keep up the good work! Just wanted to share there had been a Franciscan order church in the Ropongi district in Tokyo that always had a Saturday evening Mass in English. I very much enjoyed worshipping there when I was in Tokyo for weekends while working. I no longer travel to Japan but I think you ought to be able to identify the small Franciscan church’s name and address.

    Good luck!

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