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Search 69,459 Camino Questions

Personal security

Wayfarer1

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
June 2023
This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
 
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Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

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if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
Yes, ALMOST every night. Its the almost that is the problem. I zip my money, cards, and passport into the pocket of my hoodie, which is also my pillow. Most people keep their "steal-ables" very close at hand at all times, including when using the shower and bathroom facilities.
 
It’s a route filled with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, villagers, tourists, and the like. And even if 99.99% are angels, that still leaves dozens of devils milling about. Theft on the Camino is rare, but it happens. Sometimes it’s a fellow pilgrim looking for a little financing, other times it’s thieves posing as fellow travelers. You won’t know until after the fact, so while you should open your heart to all those around you, certainly keep your wallet closed and safely tucked away.

BTW, although rare, entire backpacks have been known to disappear overnight while pilgrims have slept. Don’t assume that a great hiding spot IN your backpack is foolproof. Personally, I only keep a small amount of cash with me and do not bring valuables. Thieves are seeking cash, not credit cards, passports, etc. If I can’t afford to lose it, I don’t travel with it.
 
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It’s a route filled with hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, villagers, tourists, and the like. And even if 99.99% are angels, that still leaves dozens of devils milling about. Theft on the Camino is rare, but it happens. Sometimes it’s a fellow pilgrim looking for a little financing, other times it’s thieves posing as fellow travelers. You won’t know until after the fact, so while you should open your heart to all those around you, certainly keep your wallet closed and safely tucked away.

BTW, although rare, entire backpacks have been known to disappear overnight while pilgrims have slept. Don’t assume that a great hiding spot IN your backpack is foolproof. Personally, I only keep a small amount of cash with me and do not bring valuables. Thieves are seeking cash, not credit cards, passports, etc. If I can’t afford to lose it, I don’t travel with it.
I don’t wish to advertise my presence in front of an ATM (DAB) each time I need some cash and want to fill various banks with administrative fees…so little cash but then…how do you pay cafés for small items on a regular basis?
 
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I don’t wish to advertise my presence in front of an ATM (DAB) each time I need som cash and want to fill various banks with administrative fees…so little cash but then…how do you pay cafés for small items on a regular basis?
You will need some cash. We purchase clothes with hidden and zippered pockets to wear on Caminos. Divide your cash up and don't keep it all in one place.
 
Down bag (90/10 duvet) of 700 fills with 180 g (6.34 ounces) of filling. Mummy-shaped structure, ideal when you are looking for lightness with great heating performance.

€149,-
This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
In the first instance, follow the official advice from your own country, which I presume is NZ. The SafeTravel site is here.

How you deal with securing your valuables is regularly a discussion on the forum, and there are plenty of tips and techniques for dealing with that. But at its heart it is foolish to leave valuable items unattended, including when showering, cooking and sleeping. Other items might be left in your pack, but not money, your passport, credencial and perhaps some other items you feel you cannot lose.

But be careful, how you personally do this shouldn't be an item for discussion once you are on the Camino. Anyone who asks about this should immediately be treated with suspicion. Others might share the deflection lines they have used when asked. I just say that its not something I discuss with others.

It's fine to think the best of others, just don't trust them with your valuables and you won't risk disappointment.
 
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This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose.

Yes, we all do.
Mine never leaves my person.
There are many types of money belts. pouches etc available.

I also carry 'ready use' cash in a small zip lock bag in my pocket.
This saves me accessing my 'secure stash' and revealing where it is, in public.
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
I always wear a fanny pack/bum bag and keep my passport, money/cards, and phone in it. It goes with me wherever I go, usually attached to my waist. Even in the shower and to sleep. Don't ever leave valuables in your backpack. My bum bag is fairly slim so I can even pull my shirt over it and it won't bulge too much.

Otherwise - didn't worry too much about personal safety - felt pretty safe. Losing valuables is the biggest concern for me.
 
This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
Never leave your valuables in your pack unattended. Mine are with me in my sleep sack. - Trecile

I concur. One Camino - we had a stranger in the hostel with us for a few legs and things disappeared. Then he disappeared. I keep my phone, passport, 1 credit card and a bit of cash on me at all times, so I can relax about the rest. Also, I charge a power bank every night at the hostel and charge my phone as I walk from the power bank.
 
Agreeing with most of the above. I use a wallet which could attach to your belt and ordinarily sit inside one’s trousers so as to be secure; or such that that the presence of another might such stir long-ago memories that you would notice the attempted theft.

Whilst walking I attach the self-same wallet to a lanyard. The wallet goes in the top of my sack and the lanyard round my neck.
 
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@Wayfarer1 I’m really surprised that you’ve asked this question. You’ve said otherwhere that you’ve been in Spain before so you’ll obviously be aware that the boyos of Bogata are wary of Madrid. Is it maybe that you’re questing pilgrims favourite stashing places so you’ll know where to rummage? I wouldn’t try and follow that up with @henrythedog, you might lose an arm at best.

You’ve also said that you’ve been “caught” before so you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on that error and avoid repeating it.

So, keep your valuables on you, with you, at all times. In the bogs, in the showers, in town, in bed. If you do that the issue of how safe the various accommodations of the Camino are simply doesn’t arise
 
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During banking hours, go into the bank - many have an ATM in the banking hall.

Otherwise - what do you do at home? Northern Spain isn’t the 19th century wild-west.
I have done transactions at the teller counter as well. You might expect to be asked for strong identification. I used my passport for that.
 
Otherwise - didn't worry too much about personal safety - felt pretty safe. Losing valuables is the biggest concern for me.
The NZ Travel Safe site has Spain listed as Use Increased Caution with this note: Exercise increased caution in Spain due to the ongoing threat of terrorism (level 2 of 4). Australia's Smartraveller site also notes this risk.
This might not be too much of an issue outside of the major cities, but increased vigilance when passing through them would appear warranted.
 
This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
NO! Never leave anything in your pack that you cannot afford to lose!
Never leave your belongings with "nice pilgrims" who befriend you on the Way, either.
My first experience on the Camino with theft was 3 young people who met a "nice pilgrim lady" and walked with her several stages to Pamplona. There, she told them she would watch their stuff while they showered. They came back to no cash, no credit cards, no electronics and no nice lady. Their Camino was over.
Trust God.
Nobody else.
Sorry, but that's just life today.
 
Technical backpack for day trips with backpack cover and internal compartment for the hydration bladder. Ideal daypack for excursions where we need a medium capacity backpack. The back with Air Flow System creates large air channels that will keep our back as cool as possible.

€83,-
I don’t wish to advertise my presence in front of an ATM (DAB) each time I need som cash and want to fill various banks with administrative fees…so little cash but then…how do you pay cafés for small items on a regular basis?
I carry about 200 euros in a zip wallet.
When I get low, I go to an ATM.
 
I concur with posts so far.

In 2002, I was a hospitalera at albergue in Ponferrada.

One morning, a mid-twenties pilgrim went to shower leaving his fanny pack hanging from bed post.

After shower fanny pack gone. His pack had ALL his valuables: identification, money, tickets, everything.

Take care leaving your pack outside albergues until they open. In Pamplona a pilgrim left her pack outside albergue. Then she went for coffee. Upon return to albergue her pack was gone. Thankfully, her valuables were on her person. Pamplona is a large city so she could replace everything and continue camino.

She wasn’t too chuffed about theft. She said in another life she’d been a robber on the camino; karma found her in this life.
 
@Wayfarer1 I’m really surprised that you’ve asked this question. You’ve said otherwhere that you’ve been in Spain before so you’ll obviously be aware that the boyos of Bogata are wary of Madrid. Is it maybe that you’re questing pilgrims favourite stashing places so you’ll know where to rummage? I wouldn’t try and follow that up with @henrythedog, you might lose an arm at best.

You’ve also said that you’ve been “caught” before so you’ll have the opportunity to reflect on that error and avoid repeating it.

So, keep your valuables on you, with you, at all times. In the bogs, in the showers, in town, in bed. If you do that the issue of how safe the various accommodations of the Camino are simply doesn’t arise
I'm going to assume that first bit is in jest.....I planned on travelling with a secure pocket anyway, and assumed the same was true of other sensible travellers, and was merely wondering if there was a preferred style of pocket. Also, much of what one reads speaks to the honesty of fellow pilgrims, but knowing humanity, and coming from a country where we don't really do pickpockets, I'm unaware of the variety of storage options.
 
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3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
Be at least as careful in Spain as you are in your own country. If something is away from your person or sight, it may get stolen. Take a small shoulder bag or bum bag and carry it with you at all times (including when attending to personal hygiene) and stick it under your pillow or in your sleeping bag at night.

Pilgrims are exceptionally honest people, which is why thieves try to impersonate them. A favourite trick of one gang (long ago apprehended) was to stroll unconcernedly into crowded albergues then out again with anything that stuck to their fingers. Another trick was to find a way into dormitories at night with the same intent. It's not paranoia, it's common sense - look after your stuff.
 
This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
I was a older women traveling , I had a waist pack that never left my waist unless I was in the showere and then it hung next to me always in my site. It as an issue I didn’t want to deal with.
my motto trust but be smart.
In waist pack was my passport cards and cash.
 
My motto trust but be smart
I was an older women traveling with my 20 something daughter.
We both had wasitpacks which we Iwore 24 /7. When I showered it hung next to me always!!, in plain sect. I slept. With this. I did not want to deal with consequences of the what if.
as they say don’t give someone the opportunity…..
 
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I always wear a fanny pack/bum bag and keep my passport, money/cards, and phone in it.
I love my fanny pack, but I do not keep my passport or my important ID there. A couple of years ago in Lisbon we were at the Sé cathedral. As we were standing around there were two young 'tourists' who asked us a few questions. A bit later I felt a bump at my waist and the zipper of my fanny pack was half open and the girls dashed off. Seemingly friendly 18-ish year olds who wanted to know some history who were really out to pickpocket. Passport, the bulk of the cash, and ID go in a neck bag inside my shirt. The fanny pack has the stuff I would risk losing, but is too bulky to keep in pockets.

We sent our bags by Correos from one stop to the next. They are left often in quite open public places. We only had clothes in them.
 
I always take a security wallet that has a chain attached to it and has several zippered enclosures for cash, credit cards and the like. I think it is similar to that suggested by @henrythedog. It attaches to my belt at all times, even when sleeping. When I go to the shower, it comes along with me as I put on my pants.
 
This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
You will be tempted to hide or stash your valuables when showering in some albergues. Don't. Bring them with.
 
3rd Edition. More content, training & pack guides avoid common mistakes, bed bugs etc
I don’t wish to advertise my presence in front of an ATM (DAB) each time I need som cash and want to fill various banks with administrative fees…so little cash but then…how do you pay cafés for small items on a regular basis?
Don't visit the ATM often and don't spend lavishly. Both problems solved.
 
I don’t wish to advertise my presence in front of an ATM (DAB) each time I need som cash and want to fill various banks with administrative fees…so little cash but then…how do you pay cafés for small items on a regular basis?

For the CF we both had money belts for cash, passports and cards (ATM and credit and from various banks). I carried most of the cash and mostly in the money belt. We spent about $75 US a day average (some splurge days). Once getting low I'd pull out 300€ from an ATM. That's a good bit to lose but likely only the pocket money would be lost. If all of it disappeared we could still manage to continue.
 
Fellow Pilgrims are generally safe, but I never assume that I am totally safe even with Pilgrims. The biggest risk is traveling through airports, train stations on major cities. Be sure to read all these tips:


All of these are travel skills that are best learned though prior travel experience before your Camino.


-Paul
 
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I'm going to assume that first bit is in jest.....I planned on travelling with a secure pocket anyway, and assumed the same was true of other sensible travellers, and was merely wondering if there was a preferred style of pocket. Also, much of what one reads speaks to the honesty of fellow pilgrims, but knowing humanity, and coming from a country where we don't really do pickpockets, I'm unaware of the variety of storage options.
I would not be too sure that there was jest involved.
You have asked a good question, but given the duplicity in human nature, it is not easy to know who to trust. The poster in question has been around a long time.
Do not presume that a 'pilgrim' is an innocent and trustworthy person.
I was just thinking, by the time I read the entire thread, that it is such a pity we haven't got little zippered pockets in our skin...
 
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I'm going to assume that first bit is in jest.....I planned on travelling with a secure pocket anyway, and assumed the same was true of other sensible travellers, and was merely wondering if there was a preferred style of pocket. Also, much of what one reads speaks to the honesty of fellow pilgrims, but knowing humanity, and coming from a country where we don't really do pickpockets, I'm unaware of the variety of storage options.
I am prone to repeating myself (no - really!) but my longstanding advice to anyone carrying ‘valuables’ on vacation is to adopt whatever method you’re going to use for a few weeks before leaving home. You then become accustomed to your new security measure and develop an innate feeling of when something’s wrong.

Couple that with -

take only what you need
Have an alternative just in case
Backup soft copies of essential documents

My example:

I use my phone for contactless payment (fairly ubiquitous throughout Europe) but I have separate physical cards as well
I use a concealed pouch for bulk cash, but a day-wallet with a limited amount of cash and sufficient expired cards to be ‘sacrificed’ if necessary (I did relate at some length the long-ago only time pickpocketing was ever attempted; and it didn’t end well for the other party - but I’m not as young as I was)
I carry an expired photo ID as a security deposit for audio-guides and such like.
Any essential document is scanned and is on a password protected pen-drive which, together with a krugerrand is on a necklace. That’ll get me home from anywhere in Europe.

These are 90% intended to guard against my potential carelessness and 10% to guard against others. Don’t pack paranoia.,
 
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This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
You would be foolish to assume everyone in your albergue is as honest as you . “Hope for the best , but plan for the worst” (JR) I have alway put my valuables , cards , passport , phone in a bag , in my sleeping bag. When walking all on my person tight. You can ruin your whole Camino if you lose your PP or cards. I have met people who lost their valuables and had to quit.
 
All of these are travel skills that are best learned though prior travel experience before your Camino.
Where I worked some many years ago, there was a standing joke that the organisation wouldn't give you an overseas trip until you had been on one.

No doubt you will learn things on your first travel experience, but I suspect that for many here, their Camino will be their first travel to Spain or Portugal, and they will have been saving for years to afford just that. They won't have time or the resources to do a preliminary trip just for practice. So trotting this line out again and again just makes you look out of touch with that reality of many peoples' lives.

I always wear a fanny pack/bum bag and keep my passport, money/cards, and phone in it. It goes with me wherever I go,

I would avoid taking valuables in a waist bag or any other arrangement that allowed them to be behind your body. I wear cargo style pants and a travel/trekking shirt with sufficient pockets on my front to carry my passport, wallet, phone, guidebook and credential as well as the other stuff that normally gets put into a pocket. I have a light, ultrasil, pack that sits on top of my big pack that comes out when I get to where I am staying, into which all these pockets get emptied when I go for a shower. Given my 'evening wear' is essentially a replica of my day wear, everything can go back into place once I have showered, and then goes back into the back once I am preparing to sleep.

I was just thinking, by the time I read the entire thread, that it is such a pity we haven't got little zippered pockets in our skin...

@Kirkie, it's as close to having pockets in my skin as I can get. I have used a securely waistband under my clothes from time to time, but eschew the pouch hanging from the neck next to one's body. I have never been able to make that work effectively. More, I think it appears far to obvious to be a 'secret' storage place, and seems to be even easier for someone of dishonest intent to remove that when I have things in several places in pockets.
 
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I have further recalled (again as related ad nauseam) that if carrying few valuables, regularly, in the same place, one can develop one’s own ‘pre flight check’

Mine comes from a long-deceased grandfather who - when leaving the house for his regular visit to the pub (it runs in the family) - would cross himself (although not Roman Catholic) and chant aloud, one word at each point of the cross: “spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch”
 
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I would avoid taking valuables in a waist bag or any other arrangement that allowed them to be behind your body.
To add to that, the only thing that goes into my hip pocket when I am travelling overseas is a packet of wipes. Everything of value is elsewhere.

ps, I am not trying to outdo @henrythedog in sharing my delayed recollections of things that might be important here. I will try not to let it happen again. Unlike him, though, I do not have a human master to distract me from remembering those things as an excuse for this behaviour.
 
Henry, Doug, Kirkie and many more on this forum know these things but some might not:

Those two teen-age girls with a Tourist Map / Clipboard / Kitten - their job is to distract;

The man who offers to clean the bird-shit off your jacket - he'll clean out your pockets too;

That hand-written sign as you exit the Metro "Beware of Pickpockets" - you'll check your wallet and now the team knows where your wallet is;

The guy with the heavy suitcase suddenly blocking the escalator / metro train door - well you can guess;

The guy who offers to help you with the ticket machine - with luck he's in uniform and works for the company.
 
I always wear a fanny pack/bum bag and keep my passport, money/cards, and phone in it. It goes with me wherever I go, usually attached to my waist. Even in the shower and to sleep. Don't ever leave valuables in your backpack. My bum bag is fairly slim so I can even pull my shirt over it and it won't bulge too much.

Otherwise - didn't worry too much about personal safety - felt pretty safe. Losing valuables is the biggest concern for me.
Fanny packs are targets for pickpockets with razor knives. Especially in cities like Barcelona. They can disappear in an instant. I've heard horror stories! You shouldn't carry your passport in them. Wherever you carry it, it should be hidden and difficult to access...even by a nimble pickpocket.
 
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There are many different ways to keep your valuables safe, and I totally agree with @henrythedog that it’s a good idea to get the routine going a few days before you leave, if you are unfamiliar with it.

But whatever you do, do not count on being alert and aware as all that stands between you and the pickpocket. No matter how hard you try, if you have not developed this sixth sense ahead of time, you won’t develop it now.

I’ve lived in Madrid and Barcelona for a total of three years and thought I had pretty much adapted to local living. But no matter how frequently I started out on the metro being aware and alert, I inevitably fell into that inattentive attitude that comes from years and years of not worrying about being pickpocketed. I never was a victim, but came very close once! So now I just pack all my stuff under my clothes and realize I no longer have to be on the lookout.
 
As most have said, keep your valuables on/with you at all times.

Bring an S hook and a wet pack to hold your valuables while showering.

Build lasting friends, but don’t trust anyone to look after your stuff while you’re showering, going to the bathroom, etc.. Your valuables are your responsibility.

Leaving your phone to charge at a communal power point while you head off for a couple of cervezas is risky, if you aren’t going to keep an eye on it. Most of the albergues have individual power points that you can use overnight, but not all.

At night keep those critical valuables (e.g. passport, money, credit cards and phones) with you, not in your backpack. The lockers provided are to keep honest people out, they aren’t safes…

The vast majority of pilgrims are extremely honest. Have seen and experienced people who have left wallets and passports behind at albergues, realised later in the morning, returned and had everything returned. Your pilgrimage/walk is not the time to test that out.

Be cautious, but not that singularly focussed that you miss the opportunity to build lasting relationship with fellow pilgrims, interact with locals and experience the amazing Camino journey.

Buen Camino
 
I normally carry all sorts of stuff in my wallet and so before a trip I have a clean out and remove everything that I will not absolutely need from it and put those things in a place at home where I hopefully will remember. This includes my keys.

I also keep an eye out for cheap wallets at markets and second hand stores and I take one or two of these cheap wallets with me when I travel as a sacrificial wallet. I stuff one of the cheap wallets with other people's business cards and less than €15 in small change. I keep this wallet in my right hand trousers pocket and I use it and the change in it when buying coffee and other small items. If I have a throw away debit card on me then that might also be in that wallet if it has a value under €20 and I will use it when needed.

This way, if I am pickpocketed, then that is the most likely wallet to be targeted and I don't lose much if it goes.

I completely agree with the post about pickpockets using sharp knives to take items out of waist packs and similar items. I have a prior post on the forum reporting on the occasion when my heavily pregnant wife lost her valuables from her leather purse tightly clutched to her stomach. The pickpocket was so good at his job and his knife was so sharp that she didn't even notice until she sat down later for a cup of tea and found her valuables gone.
 
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The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Anti skimming money belts that we even wear when we are sleeping, my husband carries passports & credentials in a waterproof bag in his satchel and I carry coins in my bumbag as I buy the cafe con leche. Split cash and cards if possible and never let passports and credit cards out of your sight. Complacency will lead to grief eventually on any travels to any country. We chased out a woman who broke into our room while we were sleeping in Thailand and had someone try and pull a backpack of us in Africa. Where there are travellers there are people ready to relieve them of their valuables. Use your common sense and stay alert. Safe travels.
 
Henry, Doug, Kirkie and many more on this forum know these things but some might not:

Those two teen-age girls with a Tourist Map / Clipboard / Kitten - their job is to distract;

The man who offers to clean the bird-shit off your jacket - he'll clean out your pockets too;

That hand-written sign as you exit the Metro "Beware of Pickpockets" - you'll check your wallet and now the team knows where your wallet is;

The guy with the heavy suitcase suddenly blocking the escalator / metro train door - well you can guess;

The guy who offers to help you with the ticket machine - with luck he's in uniform and works for the company.
Yes the ‘bird-shit ’ one is the one that I had tried on me recently. It was not in Europe. Buenos Aires - it’s a big favourite there! Even tho the guy who immediately showed up with the tissues was the guy that looked the the last guy in the world that would ever carry tissues!!!I was for a moment disorientated and though I quickly recovered I think many would have been taken in!
 
While visiting Barcelona for the first time in 2007!
I was staying in a cheap hostel off Las Ramblas! Was given a tiny room with 6 beds!
Lying in my bottom bunk, I remember reading some graffiti that was written above me in biro on the chipboard panel of the bed above!

“Barcelona, pickpocket capital of the world, R.I.P my IPod”

Still had the picture somewhere!
 
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While visiting Barcelona for the first time in 2007!
I was staying in a cheap hostel off Las Ramblas! Was given a tiny room with 6 beds!
Lying in my bottom bunk, I remember reading some graffiti that was written above me in biro on the chipboard panel of the bed above!

“Barcelona, pickpocket capital of the world, R.I.P my IPod”

Still had the picture somewhere!
Yes Barcelona infamous for pickpocketing!! Buenos Aires runs it close!
 
Fanny packs are targets for pickpockets with razor knives. Especially in cities like Barcelona. They can disappear in an instant. I've heard horror stories! You shouldn't carry your passport in them. Wherever you carry it, it should be hidden and difficult to access...even by a nimble pickpocket.
Kind of hard to pickpocket it when the belt is under my backpack and the front is covered by my shirt and hard to access due to the backpack hipbelt. Believe me - if worn properly while hiking with a backpack, it is hard to access... But indeed - take extra care in big cities. Especially in crowds. I am rarely in a crowd on the Camino - much easier to keep valuables safe. And again - mine is very slim. Not a big old bum bag that you see some people wear. but bigger than a money belt so it can hold my phone which is also a valuable to keep on your person.

Also -there are "anti-theft" versions you can wear that are slash resistant. Edited to add - I also never wear them with the pocket in the back - the pocket is always in the front where I can mind the contents and even place my hand on them if travelling somewhere in a crowd. Same as I would with a purse if wearing/carrying one in a crowd at home.
 
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I would avoid taking valuables in a waist bag or any other arrangement that allowed them to be behind your body. I wear cargo style pants and a travel/trekking shirt with sufficient pockets on my front to carry my passport, wallet, phone, guidebook and credential as well as the other stuff that normally gets put into a pocket. I have a light, ultrasil, pack that sits on top of my big pack that comes out when I get to where I am staying, into which all these pockets get emptied when I go for a shower. Given my 'evening wear' is essentially a replica of my day wear, everything can go back into place once I have showered, and then goes back into the back once I am preparing to sleep.
I don't wear mine behind my body. I wear a fanny pack in the front. Slim, can be easily covered by my clothing so not visible. And when worn on a Camino with a backpack - the backpack is over the waist band in the rear... and the hip belt in the front helps keep it hidden along with my shirt.

As a female - most hiking clothes that women are comfortable wearing do not come with big pockets. Sure - I could wear big heavy bulky cargo pants - but not comfortable in them. Women's clothes aren't constructed like men's clothes.

I would also like to add - that there are anti-theft versions of fanny pack/bum bags. But I would never wear it in the rear of my body. I actually don't know anyone who has worn it with the contents of the pack in the rear.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I love my fanny pack, but I do not keep my passport or my important ID there. A couple of years ago in Lisbon we were at the Sé cathedral. As we were standing around there were two young 'tourists' who asked us a few questions. A bit later I felt a bump at my waist and the zipper of my fanny pack was half open and the girls dashed off. Seemingly friendly 18-ish year olds who wanted to know some history who were really out to pickpocket. Passport, the bulk of the cash, and ID go in a neck bag inside my shirt. The fanny pack has the stuff I would risk losing, but is too bulky to keep in pockets.

We sent our bags by Correos from one stop to the next. They are left often in quite open public places. We only had clothes in them.
There are anti-theft versions you can buy that prevent this. There are also many with hidden pockets that are hard to access. I would never keep my passport in the biggest, easiest to access pocket. But see my other replies above - it is all in the pack you chose, how bug it is, how you wear it, and how you protect it. Buying the right SLIM fanny pack - it can be easily hidden and well protected.
 
You know, I wanted to go on the Comino for some peace and quiet from some of the ugliness of this world. Ya'all makin me nervous. I do like the idea of planning in advance the daily cash needs so you do not need to divulge where the real loot is! That comment about the distractor girls with the maps and a kitty. You got to be kidding me. Yea, you have to be alert and making friends and using the buddy system as you are traveling is a good practice also. I have never heard the expression "Bumbag" before.

Y'all be safe.

Tom
 
Theft is thankfully rarer than it once was, but it still happens -- last year, I came across two pilgrims who had their money stolen, one on the Português, the other on the Francès, but it was once a rather common occurrence. It happened to me once on the Way to Rome, and I had a phone stolen on the Francès.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
I have never heard the expression "Bumbag" before.
I suspect its more likely to be used by speakers of British, Australian, New Zealand and other English dialects located outside of North America. In those countries, 'fanny' is generally an insensitive colloquialism for a woman's genitalia. It is one of a relatively small number of words that appear to be commonly used by some forum members who don't realise they can have quite different meanings outside of their own country.

I will let you imagine how funny it is to see someone suggesting they always wear their fanny pack at the front!
 
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I don’t wish to advertise my presence in front of an ATM (DAB) each time I need some cash and want to fill various banks with administrative fees…so little cash but then…how do you pay cafés for small items on a regular basis?
What I did was this:

1. I always had between €20 - 100 in cash at hand.
2. When I got down to about €20, I found an ATM and got another €100 out. You'll be surprised how little money you need as a pilgrim.
3. I carried my cash, credit cards, passport and credencial in a fanny pack on me at all times. I slept with it in my sleeping bag and took it into the shower with me.

If something happens to you and you've been reasonably cautious, IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT. Don't feel bad for trusting people. I've never had a problem but I know people who had and they felt foolish.

Don't stress out about bank fees, either. IMHO, it's not worth the mental hi-jinks figuring out how to save the €3 at this bank versus €5 from another bank. Get your money and then get some wine, tapas, and a good night's sleep.
 
It is not possible to be betrayed until one has trusted someone.
 
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I suspect its more likely to be used by speakers of British, Australian, New Zealand and other English dialects located outside of North America. In those countries, 'fanny' is generally an insensitive colloquialism for a woman's genitalia. It is one of a relatively small number of words that appear to be commonly used by some forum members who don't realise they can have quite different meaning outside of their own country.

I will let you imagine how funny it is to see someone suggesting they always wear their fanny pack at the front!
That's why I prefer "waist pack," which really is a better descriptor.
 
I've never seen these trousers but the webpage does have a short video showing the hidden and zippered pockets.

 
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The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
LOL! Yes, I know!! But I was just feeling contrary. "Fanny Pack" rolls more easily off the tongue - and please don't read anything into it!! :p
As stated, In the south of England ‘fanny ’ is pretty much a term used by schoolboys given that vagina is far too sensible! I remember it well from my schoolboy days in 70s/80s. As always in the UK we have a million words for everything, often linked to rhyming slang. Don’t google ‘fanny’ or ‘bum ‘ from your work computer!!
 
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As stated, In the south of England ‘fanny ’ is pretty much a term used by schoolboys given that vagina is far too sensible! I remember it well from my schoolboy days in 70s/80s. As always in the UK we have a million words for everything, often linked to rhyming slang. Don’t google ‘Danny’ or ‘bum ‘ from your work computer!!
Yes, the discussion of waist pack vs. fanny pack is always a lively one in this forum. I'm an uncouth American - what can I say? Just get your mind out of the gutter (kidding, kidding!!) LOL
My daughter did a sememster in England when she was in high school. Preparing for her first party in her new country, her question as to whether she should wear pants or not raised some eyebrows (or would a dress/skirt be appropriate). Naturally, it had to be explained to all of us in New York.
 
Yes, the discussion of waist pack vs. fanny pack is always a lively one in this forum. I'm an uncouth American - what can I say? Just get your mind out of the gutter (kidding, kidding!!) LOL
My daughter did a sememster in England when she was in high school. Preparing for her first party in her new country, her question as to whether she should wear pants or not raised some eyebrows (or would a dress/skirt be appropriate). Naturally, it had to be explained to all of us in New York.
Ha ha! Yes the word ‘pants’ is another word that always makes me smile on here. Obviously it means underwear in UK, or increasingly is a slang world for rubbish. I.e. that restaurant was ‘pants’ (rubbish). Not wearing pants is known as ‘going commando’! This is the only forum I am on that is USA dominated so words like ‘fall’, ‘sucks’ always needs me to think!

Hope she enjoyed her time in England. We don’t use the world ‘semester’ btw!!!
 
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As stated, In the south of England ‘fanny ’ is pretty much a term used by schoolboys given that vagina is far too sensible!
Indeed, and as far as I can tell it is a slang term with that general meaning through a lot of the English speaking world. It would certainly not be acceptable speech in polite company. Unlike 'sucks', which seems to be now used by my grandchildren's generation as a mild expletive with absolutely no understanding of its original meaning as a sexual act, the effluxion of time doesn't seem to have changed the status of 'fanny' for any generation.

My other favourite is 'bonking', which can have quite different meanings on either side of the Atlantic. I had always admired the stamina of members from North America when they bragged they were going to be bonking across Spain on their Camino, although it did make me wonder about their motivations as a pilgrim. More Chaucerian perhaps?

It also amuses me when someone resists using a generic term like 'waist pack' as @trecile has so sensibly suggested earlier. If they insist on being mildly offensive even after these things are pointed out to them, we will read as much or little into that as we individually wish to, even if only for the slightly risque humour it gives rise to.
 
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I also took my money belt and bum bag (holds phone etc.) with me when showering and used a S hook to hang them over the door as not all albergue/municipal showers have clothes hooks inside them.
 
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Yes, the discussion of waist pack vs. fanny pack is always a lively one in this forum. I'm an uncouth American - what can I say? Just get your mind out of the gutter (kidding, kidding!!) LOL
My daughter did a sememster in England when she was in high school. Preparing for her first party in her new country, her question as to whether she should wear pants or not raised some eyebrows (or would a dress/skirt be appropriate). Naturally, it had to be explained to all of us in New York.
I once knew a lady who liked to go to parties not wearing pants.
 
I wear something like this during the night:
Wallet
In the largest accommodations, perhaps there are risks of theft, even if I never heard about them: wearing money and important papers on my skin prevents such risks...
 
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Ha ha! Yes the word ‘pants’ is another word that always makes me smile on here. Obviously it means underwear in UK, or increasingly is a slang world for rubbish. I.e. that restaurant was ‘pants’ (rubbish). Not wearing pants is known as ‘going commando’! This is the only forum I am on that is USA dominated so words like ‘fall’, ‘sucks’ always needs me to think!

Hope she enjoyed her time in England. We don’t use the world ‘semester’ btw!!!
Ha, ha, yes, she had a very lovely time! And we all began to realize how divided we are by our common language!
 
I also took my money belt and bum bag (holds phone etc.) with me when showering and used a S hook to hang them over the door as not all albergue/municipal showers have clothes hooks inside them.
I’m almost reluctant to mention this here, as it did not happen to me, but I have heard of people reaching over cubicle doors in public restrooms and removing purses hanging from hooks, while the occupant is otherwise engaged. Some establishments are now putting hooks further down the cubicle door making it almost impossible even for a long-armed pilferer to reach.
 
Ha, ha, yes, she had a very lovely time! And we all began to realize how divided we are by our common language!
Yes, it is imaginable. The same happens with Spanish as is spoken in 21 countries. You may encounter 21 way different ways of naming the same thing.
 

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Yes, it is imaginable. The same happens with Spanish as is spoken in 21 countries. You may encounter 21 way different ways of naming the same thing.
See, for example and if not prudish, an alternate use of the word concha, (sea shell). Be careful discussing your Camino experience in Argentina.
 
Yes, it is imaginable. The same happens with Spanish as is spoken in 21 countries. You may encounter 21 way different ways of naming the same thing.
Might I suggest that there are two other Spanish speaking countries not shown on the map, the USA and the Phillipines. It might not be the 'national language' in either, but seems widespread in both.
 
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See, for example and if not prudish, an alternate use of the word concha, (sea shell). Be careful discussing your Camino experience in Argentina.
Also in Uruguay.
What you say is just an example of the many ways to employ a word in Spanish speaking countries. If a local notices your accent, may correct you and then look for the word used in that country and prevent bad moments.
Spanish is my main language, and live in an area where influence from South America is very present; so, you have to navigate in this climate.
 
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Might I suggest that there are two other Spanish speaking countries not shown on the map, the USA and the Phillipines. It might not be the 'national language' in either, but seem widespread in both.
Yes, you may.

In Phillipines is a great influence in their own language. They were a colony of Spain for long time, they were the last colony in Asia; as Cuba and Puerto Rico were the last colonies in the Americas. The three were war bounties after the Spanish-American War ending in 1898.
 
LOL. So true!!

Just when I thought I was getting the hang of having pretty good Spanish . . . BANG!

Gallego!!
Hi Kathy F:

I do sympathize with your “frustration”. Gallego could have been my grandparent’s language, as they were originals from the region, but I do not recall them speaking in it. My parent didn’t know it neither.
But, due to the similarities of both Gallego and Spanish, it could be easier to once you have a solid basic knowledge of Spanish.
I do receive some communications that is written in Gallego with translation to Spanish; I read the Gallego part first and try to understand what the article is about, then read the Spanish part to see if I it.
Just keep your Spanish studies, the rest will fall by default.
 
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@Ivan_Prada "In Phillipines is a great influence in their own language. They were a colony of Spain for long time, they were the last colony in Asia; as Cuba and Puerto Rico were the last colonies in the Americas. The three were war bounties after the Spanish-American War ending in 1898."

Just an historical FYI - Cuba became a sovereign republic following the War of 1898 albeit with constitutional intervention rights from the US. Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam sovereignty became under the control of the US . As an aside, Spain went through a cultural renassaince for the two decades following the war and was attributed to the fact that they no longer had to adventure outside of their geographic homeland.
 
This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
I always wore a money belt that held my passport and the bulk of my money. It was under my clothes. I carried daily money in a place I could easily access. I never felt unsafe in fact I am way more anxious in the US. That being said, always bring your valuables with you, into the shower and when you go to bed, I tucked my money belt into my sleeping liner by my feet. Never heard of a problem or felt one on my three caminos.
 
I always wore a money belt that held my passport and the bulk of my money. It was under my clothes. I carried daily money in a place I could easily access. I never felt unsafe in fact I am way more anxious in the US. That being said, always bring your valuables with you, into the shower and when you go to bed, I tucked my money belt into my sleeping liner by my feet. Never heard of a problem or felt one on my three caminos.
Question: do you sweat a lot like yours truly? I hesitate using the money belt due to the fear that all documents would be drenched.
 
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Question: do you sweat a lot like yours truly? I hesitate using the money belt due to the fear that all documents would be drenched.
It depends on the fabric of the clothes I wear:
- under a synthetic T-shirt I do not sweat very much (but it must be replaced by another in the evening)
- under a merinos wool T-shirt I sweat more (but it can be reused the day after)
Notice that some money belts claim to be waterproof...
 
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@Ivan_Prada "In Phillipines is a great influence in their own language. They were a colony of Spain for long time, they were the last colony in Asia; as Cuba and Puerto Rico were the last colonies in the Americas. The three were war bounties after the Spanish-American War ending in 1898."

Just an historical FYI - Cuba became a sovereign republic following the War of 1898 albeit with constitutional intervention rights from the US. Philippines, Puerto Rico and Guam sovereignty became under the control of the US . As an aside, Spain went through a cultural renassaince for the two decades following the war and was attributed to the fact that they no longer had to adventure outside of their geographic homeland.
Thank you, Stevepjq for your reply.

I do know very well the history facts as I am Cuban by birth and US citizen by choice.

As you said, Cuba became a sovereign country in 1902; the Philippines in 1946 and Puerto Rico is still a US territory with a Commonwealth with the US in 1953. Those born in Puerto Rico are citizen of US as result of the Jones Act of 1917, just before the US became involved in WW 1.

Let’s not deviate this thread from its subject, please. If you like, we can continue by PM.

Take care,

Iván
 
Question: do you sweat a lot like yours truly? I hesitate using the money belt due to the fear that all documents would be drenched.
Wherever I am carrying important documents, they are in some form of ziploc bag to protect them from becoming soaked in sweat. This includes having them in a waistbelt as well as just in a pocket.
 
I love my fanny pack, but I do not keep my passport or my important ID there. A couple of years ago in Lisbon we were at the Sé cathedral. As we were standing around there were two young 'tourists' who asked us a few questions. A bit later I felt a bump at my waist and the zipper of my fanny pack was half open and the girls dashed off. Seemingly friendly 18-ish year olds who wanted to know some history who were really out to pickpocket. Passport, the bulk of the cash, and ID go in a neck bag inside my shirt. The fanny pack has the stuff I would risk losing, but is too bulky to keep in pockets.

We sent our bags by Correos from one stop to the next. They are left often in quite open public places. We only had clothes in them.
I too keep my passport, large cash bills and spare credit/debit cards in an underclothes flat waist pack which is never exposed to people.

The purse or fannypack I wore daily had my iPhone and charger and my credential and daily cash - people could see this one. I now have a lanyard on my iphone when I travel and I connect it to a belt loop. (I put it down in Mexico and walked away, some drunk lady found it and walked away with it - threw it in her bag and walked away.)
 
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This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
One day, some pilgrim opened the "only for emergency" back door for a convenient way to stay out after closing, and during the night someone snuck in to steal things. I wasn't there at the time, but if I remember right, staff said they actually caught the thief.
 
Moneybelt strapped to leg while in the sleeping bag, rucksack I use a laptop security chain and put it through the bag and around the bunkbed frame/leg. I tend to clip things off carabiners a lot.

When you are in crowds, try to do a 360 degree turn every so often and see who is behind you, to the left and right of you, etc, especially when it's really overcrowded, like the area in front of the Cathedral in Santiago. If someone you don't know approaches you from the front and starts a conversation move to their side and turn 90 degrees so you know if someone is approaching from behind looking to pickpocket you. If a wall is available, rest against it while conversing, that will negate a lot of pickpocket vectors, creating less of a footprint for them to attack. Know your exits wherever you are, whether in an Albergue or outside the cathedral in Santiago or even on the path in a remote area.

Have the alert app on your phone and know how to use it. Beyond that use common sense and you will be fine. If you are out in the middle of nowhere and have poles, remove the rubber caps from them and maybe shorten them to minimal length to gain access to two very small spears, useful for savage looking dogs that get too close that seem to roam the isolated areas in the last 100km from Sarria (or randoms that might attempt other things).
 
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I put my items in a ziplock then into money belt. I washed my money belt frequently.

Sweating happens and inevitably all the cash notes you have will get soaked in sweat. You can take steps to avoid it, but it will eventually still happen. It's just part and parcel of walking across a hot country.

Randomly offtopic (sort of), I generally have a prepay card, separate to my main card, carried in a random place (some hats have a pocket for putting an emergency note or card in, alternatively between the inner sole and shoe (remove at night if albergue requires shoes/boots left somewhere) or somewhere else fairly secure). I load it with say 100 euros or equivalent in dollars. This is your bailout fund for when it goes very wrong. For those emergency situations, like:

- You got robbed and have no money.
- Someone stole your pack.
- A disaster happened and you lost your things, you get the idea.

But in that situation you probably still have your shoes or your hat, which means you also have 100 euros of emergency money available. The poor mans version of this is stuffing a 50 note in your sock. But it's the same thing. I do it on all trips I undertake, since you don't know what is going to happen. But if you lose everything for some reason and maybe need to get to your embassy (which is probably in Madrid), then you have a bail out package in place to get you there, get you some cheap food and water and probably a bunk for the night.
 
Sweating happens and inevitably all the cash notes you have will get soaked in sweat. You can take steps to avoid it, but it will eventually still happen. It's just part and parcel of walking across a hot country.

Randomly offtopic (sort of), I generally have a prepay card, separate to my main card, carried in a random place (some hats have a pocket for putting an emergency note or card in, alternatively between the inner sole and shoe (remove at night if albergue requires shoes/boots left somewhere) or somewhere else fairly secure). I load it with say 100 euros or equivalent in dollars. This is your bailout fund for when it goes very wrong. For those emergency situations, like:

- You got robbed and have no money.
- Someone stole your pack.
- A disaster happened and you lost your things, you get the idea.

But in that situation you probably still have your shoes or your hat, which means you also have 100 euros of emergency money available. The poor mans version of this is stuffing a 50 note in your sock. But it's the same thing. I do it on all trips I undertake, since you don't know what is going to happen. But if you lose everything for some reason and maybe need to get to your embassy (which is probably in Madrid), then you have a bail out package in place to get you there, get you some cheap food and water and probably a bunk for the night.
A lot of good info here . I have good fortune and bad luck on Caminos. My worst situation was at Pamplona( running of the bulls) too much wine with locals that had less wine. It was pre 2001 and was able to talk my way home . I doubt you could do it today
 
I have never been a fan of pack shuttle service , perhaps because of long treks I took where it was not available. Somehow I think you can learn about a pilgrim by what he Carrys, what he thinks is important. I was once settling in the private albergue in Fromista and I remember a backpack alone in the reception as I checked in . After a shower and readying in for a beer , saw this Frenchman arguing with the owner about his missing pack. He had sent it ahead and when he arrived it was not there . She said she did not know and the pack service said the dropped it off at 1:00 . They called the police but nothing was ever found. He was very fussy and claimed someone was at fault. I told them what I saw and the Frenchman wanted to see MY stuff ! He claimed all his money , cards , ID & phone we’re in the pack. Not smart. The albergue had abandoned gear that they gave him but he was not appreciative. I was glad to walk on the next day and never see him again. Moral of the story, don’t leave your valuables in anybody’s care , not ever
 
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As many forum members and many guidebooks stated: get your valuables near your body. Every minute of your walk. Or let it look over by a known real trustworthy co-walker.

I had a hip-pack with my money, cards, ID, cellphone, charger and camera that I took even into the shower, hung it high or locked it away, if available. Nothing happened to it, but I experienced some "disappearing" valuables from fellow pilgrims while I was on the CF in 2019.

Hope that I'll get a good experience on my oncoming CP.
 
Moneybelt strapped to leg while in the sleeping bag, rucksack I use a laptop security chain and put it through the bag and around the bunkbed frame/leg. I tend to clip things off carabiners a lot.

When you are in crowds, try to do a 360 degree turn every so often and see who is behind you, to the left and right of you, etc, especially when it's really overcrowded, like the area in front of the Cathedral in Santiago. If someone you don't know approaches you from the front and starts a conversation move to their side and turn 90 degrees so you know if someone is approaching from behind looking to pickpocket you. If a wall is available, rest against it while conversing, that will negate a lot of pickpocket vectors, creating less of a footprint for them to attack. Know your exits wherever you are, whether in an Albergue or outside the cathedral in Santiago or even on the path in a remote area.

Have the alert app on your phone and know how to use it. Beyond that use common sense and you will be fine. If you are out in the middle of nowhere and have poles, remove the rubber caps from them and maybe shorten them to minimal length to gain access to two very small spears, useful for savage looking dogs that get too close that seem to roam the isolated areas in the last 100km from Sarria (or randoms that might attempt other things).
Thank you for these valuable tips. (In a few months I expect to be visiting a city which is supposedly rife with pickpockets.) I am also practicing saying out loud, “Back off,” useful I think if one senses one is being approached by someone with ill intent. This happened to me once and I want to be better prepared next time. I know it sounds terribly rude, but I still want to be prepared.
 
As many forum members and many guidebooks stated: get your valuables near your body. Every minute of your walk. Or let it look over by a known real trustworthy co-walker.

I had a hip-pack with my money, cards, ID, cellphone, charger and camera that I took even into the shower, hung it high or locked it away, if available. Nothing happened to it, but I experienced some "disappearing" valuables from fellow pilgrims while I was on the CF in 2019.

Hope that I'll get a good experience on my oncoming CP.
Yes, we've preached that over and over and over and over and over. . .
 
The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
Thank you for these valuable tips. (In a few months I expect to be visiting a city which is supposedly rife with pickpockets.) I am also practicing saying out loud, “Back off,” useful I think if one senses one is being approached by someone with ill intent. This happened to me once and I want to be better prepared next time. I know it sounds terribly rude, but I still want to be prepared.

The worst i've had was being dragged down to the ground by two guys in Madrid long ago when out in Spain for my brothers stag weekend. Being the biggest and strongest I was carrying 10L of water we had just picked up from a supermarket and a load of food (in my rucksack). On the day in question a large march/demonstartion had occurred in Madrid over gay adoption or something similar and our hotel was in the middle. As we went through the crowd I got grabbed from behind and dragged to the ground and into an alley. My response to that was needless to say less polite than "Back off" and I left said alley a couple of minutes later, but was then stopped by some riot police who were guarding a nearby gov building, who saw me get grabbed on CCTV and dragged into the alley. The two that were in the alley were promptly arrested and I got to sit in the gov office and drink some sort of cold tea drink with the head of security, a guy who had lived in Newcastle for most of his childhood, while the demonstration ended and cleared.

So from that, I can say the Police are really good and proactive in Spain. If you find yourself in a situation you don't feel comfortable being in, call them. If in a town or city walk into a shop and ask them to call the police for you. Worst case, you have poles, use the big stick approach. :p
 
There are some very sensible precautions set out above; but it’s worth adding a note of balance.

The big cities of Spain are, in my long experience; rather more benign than those of my home country. Petty crime is universal nowadays and ‘be aware’ is good advice; but please stop short of being paranoid. In my case I’m more at risk from my own carelessness than the malign intent of others.

There are parts of any big city which one would be well advised to avoid; but I’ve never come across them on an actual Camino route, even with my dodgy navigation.

On a first visit to Napoli a few years ago, Mrs HtD and I made the mistake of reading an American-authored * blog on the train and so expected the exit from the train station to be on a par with the scene in Gladiator where the prisoners enter the arena to confront a menacing mass of trained killers.

It was pretty much like any busy train station anywhere, but with better food.

(* probably from a rural location, the ‘American’ is purely factual, not perjorative)
 
When I visited Paris I had read ahead of time about "games" that pickpockets try to cajole tourists into playing with them, never thinking it would happen to me. One was the "brass ring"; the other was the "string game". I made sure I gave a firm loud "NO thanks" to discourage those potential thieves. They were persistent and still tried to follow us.
 
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This is my first time doing the Camino, and as a solo traveller, I'll be traveling with money and a passport, neither of which I want to lose. How safe are the various accommodations regarding theft, or are people pretty honest with belongings.(I like to think fellow pilgrims are!) I'm not suggesting leaving things in the open, but if they're tucked securely in my pack, will it be safe overnight?
I like thinking the best of people, but I've been caught it before.
I kept all the valuables in a fanny pack and I literally never let it out of my sight. I put it in my sleep sack with me whenever I slept in a dorm and brought it into the shower stalls with me as well. Once I met people where we were sharing rooms and space day after day, we began to trust each other but again, we all kept our fanny pack/waist belts/ with us unless we could lock a door with only our things behind it.
The odds of theft are very low I'm sure, but you never know who has access to spaces and really, it would be a catastrophic thing to have your passport and money taken.
Side note, many showers had no where to put things down inside - clothes, towel etc. On my second camino, I brought an S shaped hook in my toiletries bag and it kept my stuff way dryer!
 

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