New to these forums and looking for a bit of advice. Im off travelling around Eastern Europe for a few weeks in June and speaking to people who have been there before, they all say that they were victims of or saw pic pocketing and mugging in that general area.
I'm a little concerned as I dont want to be worrying about my money and passports etc all the time. I am planning on getting one of those neck wallets or under clothes bum bag things, but they look so uncomfortable and bulky. Has anyone got any tips or suggestions. I usually carry my wallet in my back pocket in the UK, but obviously this is just asking for trouble - even if I have a wallet chain attached.
Just keep your valuables hidden, and eye on them all the time. I'd say that biggest risk is letting attention to wander off from your things while in public place. Neck wallet should be ok, also other good option is carrying your wallet in inside pocket of jacket. Under clothes bum bags (can't recall correct name), are not a good idea. I keep my wallet in front pocket of pants, and have hand on it all the time. Just in case .
My advice is good mainly for Estonia, but probably this applies everywhere.
I've been in Eastern Europe a few times and I've never felt vulnerable. However, I don't and would never carry my wallet in my back pocket. I always carry all my money in my front pocket. If I'm in a crowd I'll put my hand in that pocket to sort of protect the money (that's sort of second nature for me). If a have a bag with a shoulder strap I'll hold the bag in front of me when in a crowd. If I get bumped I always check my valuables quickly. I also try to not look bewildered and lost.
I've traveled A LOT and never been a theft victim. I think you'll be fine.
You can get luggage locks for your backpack- get them from a dept. store, not a luggage store, as those can be quite flimsy. Also, I have seen people in european hostels tie dental floss into their zipper to keep it closed. You wouldn't even want to bother trying to open it if you were going to petty theft it. You don't need to cram up your whole zipper, I imagine, however, but just tie it around in a few loops to keep it closed at the ends! That, or saftey pins, though those are easy to take off.
Other tips include, if you place your bag on the ground (try to avoid this) for a moment, then you should keep a part of your body touching it. Don't let it out of your sight! On a train, practically, literally sleep on it. Always be awake, or have one of your mates watch the bags, and you could lock or chain it to something. In your own sleeping cabin, you may even want to be paranoid about gassing. Watch it especially in train stations, airports, restaurants, pubs and places without a check counter about snatching. They might slash your backpack in Paris, but in other places, (typically north america, Olympic cities) they snatch stuff. I had a scare in Barcelona. We were waiting for some people in the only restaurant, McDonald's, of all places, and someone just grabbed my purse and someone's daypack. It was good that my reflexes were quick enough that day!!
Have a good trip!