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URL:  http://boards.fool.com/pickpockets-rome-is-notorious-for-29568459.aspx

Subject:  Re: Studying abroad - what do they need? Date:  9/27/2011  7:25 PM
Author:  YewGuise Number:  2094 of 2194

...pickpockets...

Rome is notorious for pickpockets. Not sure how the rest of Italy compares, might not be fair to extrapolate to Florence. Also not sure how reputation translates to reality; Beijing has a reputation for pickpockets, but DS never had problems there in 2 years (semester abroad plus 18 months later), nor did DH & I when we were there for 2 weeks as obvious tourists.

Anyway, DH (an experienced traveler internationally) was pickpocketted in Rome. A bunch of young men surrounded him, and seconds later they were gone, as were the maps he had had in his inside jacket pocket. Wallet was still in his pants pocket. So I think the lesson is that decoy materials are useful. As a lady, I'd carry a decoy purse and keep my wallet in a front pants pocket, or better yet in one of those passport-carriers that you wear under your shirt. Although, it's kind of a nuisance reaching under one's shirt every time you want to pay for something, so when in Beijing we ended up just keeping wallets in front pockets.

http://www.travelsmith.com/ , click on "accessories," then "security."

As a student in Florence, your DD could probably use some of the info geared towards tourists, so a Fodor's, Lonely Planet, or other guidebook for Italy would be useful. Warning: if you read it yourself first, it'll whet your appetite to go join her! Parents are generally discouraged from visiting study-abroad students during the semester, but when the kids' official program is over, that's different. Some students stay a week or two longer so parents and sibs can visit for a memorable family vacation. (I said "warning" because 2 weeks for the family can easily cost as much as the whole semester for the student.) If your DD will be doing this, check with the organizers how they want to handle it, because typically they arrange group discounts for students' round-trip airfare, and there might not be a refund for the return flight. (On the other hand, sometimes one-way flights are more expensive than RT, so I've sometimes booked RT and just skipped the 2nd leg; I don't recall if that's what DS did for his semester abroad.)
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