I was in Rome last week, and I was amazed to remember how many ways there are to get taken advantage of in the city. Rome is the “Eternal City,” but it’s also one of the best places to get scammed if you are not careful. With so many tourists going in and out of the city, salespeople have found the perfect ways to coerce you out of your euros—and nothing is worse than finding out that you have been pickpocketed on the road. Here are a few tips and tricks I have learned while traveling there—and it’s also good to keep some of these things in mind when traveling to other locations.
Keep your money close to you.
These guys are experts, and they won’t hesitate stealing from you even though you are a woman. You’ll want to keep your wallet close to you—I have a money pouch that I keep in my jacket, or even sometimes put in my bra if I feel like I’m in a situation that requires having my money on my person.
Do not bring your passport with you unless necessary.
Your passport is your life when you are traveling as a foreigner, so losing it can be one of the worst things you can do. A lost passport can mean time at an embassy that would have normally used traveling. And it can take a lot of time and effort to have clearance to travel back home. Always see if you can lock your passport in a safe at your hotel or hostel, and make sure that you have a copy of it in your bag just in case.
Ignore people calling out to you on the street.
Thieves love to create distraction, and most have some ploy to get you thinking about something else rather than where your important documents and money are. Avoid anyone calling out to you for no reason—it’s probably a way to distract you and a way to slip a hand into your pocket when you aren’t paying attention. Rome is famous for these guys, and some will even reach out and try and grab your stuff from your if you aren’t careful.
Know when you’re in the most touristy areas.
It seems obvious that some areas of Rome would have more issues with theft than others, and none are more so than areas like the Forum or the Spanish Steps. Knowing that these areas are heavily populated by scammers can help you to know which person to ask for a photo and which will run away with it. Again, make sure your money it close to you. And don’t take anything that is handed to you—they’ll expect you to pay for it!
Have any tips for a touristy city like Rome where you can be pick-pocketed?