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Cash, cards and wallets, oh no!

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One hard lesson we learnt on a trip to Italy a few years ago was how to store our money safely. Although we are seasoned travellers, I guess we took our safety for granted and let our guards down in a crowded train station in Rome a few years ago. Rome is notorious for pick-pocketers and we were targets.

Both my husband and I had our wallets stolen during a cuffuffle on a train which was started by a band of thieves. These thieves were wearing "STAFF" t-shirts and directing tourists (including us) on and off trains. During the confusion our wallets were stolen. We didn't realize until my name was called over the train loudspeaker after the train had left the station. I went to the conductor and they returned my wallet with all my cash missing. The silver lining was that my credit cards and Interac were still in the wallet.

My husband was not as "lucky". His wallet was found in the Rome train station which meant that we had to return to Rome and try to communicate with the police (who spoke no English) that his wallet had been stolen. After several hours, and a theatrical rendition of what happened, they finally understood and returned his wallet - with the cash missing.

These pick-pocketers are professionals. Beware. They usually work in groups, try to distract you and usually work in crowded areas.

Our lesson? Always divide your money and credit cards. Don't keep everything in one place. I now carry a wallet and a couple of pouches. I divide my cash and credit cards into each and keep the wallet in my purse and my pouch in my knapsack or suitcase. At the hotel, I leave my pouch in the safe. My husband does the same.

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