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Old 06-27-2006, 12:29 PM   #1
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Yo

One of my main concerns before setting off for a month or so around Europe (spending most of my time in Spain, Portual, and Rome), is the wole pick pocket/mugging thing.

I have done plenty of reading of others stories and everyone says "be careful" etc.
I have done a bit of traveling but this upcomming trip is def. the most hard core one yet, and the first one in which i will be spending my time in hostels (never been in a hostel before.)

I know some hostels have lockers, but how do they work? I do not want to bring everything with me wherever i go, i am just going to walk around the city. Like my passport, debit card, etc. Just mebbe my ISIC card (so if i die people will know who i am) and some money.

If the hostels do not have lockers, is it safe to have stuff lying around or should i get a few pad locks and keep them on the bag if they are lying about the room?

Also, if the hostels do not have lockers, i hear that most train stations have storage lockers. Any experiences with those?


oh, hi, im new here too

any help would rock!
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Old 06-27-2006, 01:28 PM   #2
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Many hostels have full backpack size lockers.. some have smaller ones big enough for your valuables. Oftentimes you'll have to bring your own lock. Sometimes they rent them. Sometimes they give them to you with your key deposit. If you do bring your own (which I recommend) make sure it's a combination lock so you're not screwed when you lose your key one drunken night!

Other hostels have no lockers at all, but will generally have a safe behind the desk for passports, etc.

Yes, you'll hear "be careful" all the time. It's not that theft is all that prevalent - it only happens to a small fraction of us. But it's better to beware that it can happen and to be mindful at all times than to be lackadaisical and make yourself a victim.
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Old 06-28-2006, 12:02 AM   #3
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Definitely take along your own locks, just for the peace of mind. As far as carrying money/getting pick pocketed, it's pretty basic, really - don't put your wallet in your back pocket, if you have a money belt, use it, but keep a little small change in your pocket for bus fares, snacks or whatever, so you don't have to fumble around in your clothing to get into your money belt, every time you want a bottle of water.

Usually when we travel, my husband wears a money belt and I carry a little backpack style purse with my own wallet, the camera, kleenex, diapers, wipes and the assorted ephemera that comes with traveling with kids. I take my tip from the locals, watching how the women (and sometimes men) carry their bags - usually over the shoulder away from the street, and with their hand on the straps. It wouldn't stop a determined thief, but it leaves you less of a target of a drive-by snatching.

Also, be aware, especially on crowded buses, of people closing in on you. If you have a jacket/shirt with an inside pocket, put your wallet in there and button up, at least for the duration of the ride. A friend of ours riding on an Italian bus noticed someone fishing around in his pocket, but had his wallet stowed in an inside pocket.

Another friend had her wallet stolen when she and her hubby were looking at a map - this "friendly guy" came over to help them sort out where they were going, and under cover of the map lifted her wallet. In Spain, another guy had put some money (about $20) in his front shirt pocket (outer) and discovered that the ladies he'd been haggling with over some tablecloths had lifted the money out while waving the cloth under his nose.

That said, we've been traveling together and alone for the past 16 years, and none of us has ever had anything stolen. Common sense is a good thing.

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Old 06-29-2006, 07:37 PM   #4
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thx for the help!

to further continute my n00bage...

is checking into a hostel like checking into a hotel/motel?
any diff standard procedures?

i'd just like to know what to expect before i take off


be prepared and all that



<3
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Old 06-30-2006, 12:00 AM   #5
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Yeah, pretty much. You walk in, there's usually a little desk somewhere near the door, with a person there, you tell them who you are, they give you a key, you're golden.

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Old 06-30-2006, 10:59 AM   #6
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Oftentimes at hostels they hand you sheets and a pillowcase. Never been to a hotel where they did that at check-in
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Old 06-30-2006, 01:43 PM   #7
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Oh yeah, good point.

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Old 07-03-2006, 07:43 AM   #8
 
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Your best bet is to buy some sort of money and passport belt. I have one that I put around my stomach and wear it under my shirt that works pretty good. I usually tuck it into my pants so it doesnt look like im hiding anything under my t-shirts. Eagle Creek makes em. They also are good for organizing things, so you can put your passport, money, and everything else in one spot. IF you bring a day pack, which you should, thats always a good place to put stuff... just make sure you keep an eye on it when eating or put your leg through a strap.

As for hostels... Id put all your valuable stuff in your day pack and when you leave your hostel you can probably just leave your clothing pack on your bed and you should be fine. If you want to be super safe or youre in a sketch hostel buy a bike chain lock and just wrap and lock your bag to your bed. A pad lock kind of works.. the problem is most backpacks are just made from fabric, and can easily be cut. Ive been in Europe for 2 weeks now and that seems to be what everyone does... lets be honest - no one wants to steal a bag full off stinky, worn clothing.

Most hostels do have lockers so if you really dont want to carry all your junk on you, thats your best bet. Again, I recommend a money belt and backpack.

Best of luck!
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Old 07-03-2006, 03:46 PM   #9
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thanks for all the help!


one more question tho :P

showers in hostels....do they have stalls, induvidual Bathrooms (one for say 10 eds or so, not one for every person), or is it very spartan and just a row of shower heads sticking out of the wall?
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Old 07-03-2006, 05:13 PM   #10
 
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Lucky me I'm not a big hostel person but I always carry a few safety tools, like my bubble green locks (it actually looks mad sweet with my poo poo green element backpack) Also those things for climbing ahhhhh I forgot the name the come very in handy (no not the ropes!) yeah I do cards and I tend to have my papers with me unless I know I'll be getting over the hill drunk and I simply store them in some safe place.
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