Everything I had read said to be aware of the
pickpockets in Napes and Rome, nobody mentioned
Barcelona. They were out doing their stuff on
Sunday Aug. 27, before the Jewel sailed for Italy. My husband and I were able to foil an
attempt to take his wallet. However, I know
of at least two other people who lost money
and credit cards. They had them in their backpacks. Not a good idea.
So sorry to hear that. I recently heard of someone being robbed on the train in Switzerland. Please everyone! No matter where you travel always take precautions. Keep your wallets in front pockets, carry purses with zippers not flaps, and keep them close to you. Don't place small bags like computer bags,cameras, or back packs up in overhead bins. Don't carry more than one credit card, (wife and husband should carry different cards, not the same one incase one is stolen. Don't wear flashy jewelry. Don't carry all your cash (lock it up in a safe). Use travel's checks. Most of all take out Travel Insurance!
Yes, Las Ramblas and parts of the Gothic district are well known for their pick pocket activity. Here are some of the things to look out for.
2 guys bouncing a soccor ball. One hits you with the ball while the other grabs your stuff.
Gypsies getting too close offering flowers or touching you.
Someone spills something on you. While they are trying to fix it, your stuff gets taken.
Bump, grab and run.
It seems on almost every trip to Barcelona, someone gets robbed in my group. No matter how many times you warn folks, they get victimized.
Here is my suggestion.
Use a port wallet with only copies of your passport, drivers license and a small amount of cash. That way, if your wallet is stolen, it is no big deal. That is what I do and it simply takes away the concern of losing it. Leave your jewelry on the ship.
So even leave wedding rings on ship, or just loose dangling bracelets, necklaces and such? Also, will a backpack/camerabag be safe if it's secure on our back? I am going to do lots of photography and will have my extra lens and flash and cf cards in backpack (on husband's back). Any other precautions with big digital cameras?
It really isn't that bad as long as you pay attention to your surroundings. I love Barcelona and have wandered its streets at all hours and always feel perfectly safe. You have to pay attention in crowded tourist areas and just remember that the pick pockets are looking for an easy mark...someone that is not paying attention.
There is a Starbucks Coffee on Passig Gracia and theft got so bad in the store that they had to hire a guard. Prople would come in and set their packages down and either use the restroom or order coffee and someone would snatch it and run out the door. But they only stole from tourists, as they knew that they would be gone from Barcelona soon.
I am always watching and never set things down, so this puts my mind at ease a little more. I hate to think the worst of people, but better to be safe and have all my belongings than to be unaware and uniformed!
I would echo the comments of "cruise fanatic moderator." Gypsy pickpocket gangs work throughout western Europe and we have seen a lot of this activity in France, Italy and Spain. I could tell you stories about our personal encounters (we have foiled all comers for over 25 years) but I won't bore you with the details. The bottom line is to take precautions no matter where you go (even in the USA). Simple things like never carrying a wallet in a guy's back pocket (I sometimes carry an empty dummy wallet in that pocket), putting a rubber band around your wallet, carrying a purse cross-shoulder and pinning the zipper with a large diaper pin, using a neck pouch, etc. etc. will do a lot to protect you and your valuables.
mani8kgm, a port wallet is a term I coined for a dispensable wallet that only contains copies of one's driver license, passport and any other information they might want to carry while in port Like insurance contact info, etc.). A minimal amount fo cash and maybe one credit card (if one was going to purchase something) rounds out the contents of one's port wallet. It is actually a separate wallet from your regular wallet.
If your regular wallet was stolen with all your credit cards and cash, it could be a complete disaster and ruin a vacation. If you leave your regular wallet in the safe on the ship and use your "port wallet" it is not big deal if it is lost or stolen.
I started using one years ago and it brings me a great amount of freedom when I am in port. However, I always have a good amount of cash stashed somewhere on me just in case my wallet is stolen and I need to get back to the port in a taxi...VBG.