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Top 11 Tourist Mistakes in Venice, Italy
(and how to avoid them)

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Tiny dog in Venice

ABOVE: Puppy lover or dog snatcher? You be the judge.

Mistake #9: Being careless with valuables.

Man with unprotected backpackViolent crime is practically unknown in Venice, but--like many popular tourist destinations--the city is a magnet for pickpockets, purse thieves, and other crooks who prey on careless or inattentive visitors.

We've never had anything stolen (maybe because thieves have been intimidated by our scary-looking canine bodyguard), but friends, acquaintances, and relatives haven't always been so lucky:

  • Our niece lost her purse in the railroad station, and we know a travel writer whose video camera disappeared when she set down her tote to buy a gelato.

  • At a language school that one of us attended last winter, three women in a class of a dozen students reported having their wallets lifted in Venice.

Most thefts occur because people make careless (and easily avoided) mistakes such as:

  • Carrying wallets in hip pockets, where they're easy for a pickpocket to reach.

  • Wearing purses over and behind the shoulder.

  • Storing valuables in hip pouches or "fanny packs."

  • Stuffing mobile phones, passports, and other valuables in backpacks.

  • Lowe Pro camera backpackCarrying heavy camera bags (or, worse yet, obvious camera backpacks) that might as well be labeled "Steal me."

  • Resting handbags on top of luggage while concentrating on a map or guidebook.

  • Hanging purses from chair backs in cafés and restaurants.

  • Wearing "neck wallets" outside clothing, in full view of thieves, instead of hidden inside a shirt or blouse.

Our advice:

  • Use common sense, be aware of your possessions and surroundings, and read our "Crime in Europe" article before you leave home.

  • Keep a small amount of cash, a credit card, and an ATM card in a thin wallet that you're carrying in a safe place (such as a zippered shirt security pocket). Store your passport and other valuables in a separate, hidden neck wallet.

  • Carry photocopies of your passport, driver's license, and credit or debit cards in a separate location (e.g., with your companion) so you'll be able to report your losses and get replacements if the originals are lost or stolen.

Next page: Mistake #10: Annoying the locals.

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