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Venice > Planning > Top 11 tourist mistakes > #9

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.

Top 11 Tourist Mistakes in Venice, Italy:
1. Hit-and-run visits
2. Staying in the wrong location
3. Commuting from the mainland
4. Following the crowd
5. Paying too much for transportation
6. Taking unnecessary tours
7. Overpacking
8. Buying useless souvenirs
9. Being careless with valuables
10. Annoying the locals
11. Not coming back