Getting screwed in a Granada Taxi

The worst 5 Euros I’ve ever spent

Street in Granada

Exit the bus from Sevilla, enter a Granada city bus. I know I’m supposed to get off at the Cathedral so I peer out the windows and hop off at a big stone structure.

Oops, turns out that was a high school. Rookie American mistake.

Carrying my backpack, orange messenger bag and purse, I walk up and down Gran Vía de Colón alternating my gaze from the screenshot directions on my phone to the street signs in Spanish – Calle Cárcel Baja is nowhere to be found.

I interrupt a man eating alone outside a Telepizza and use what Spanish I have to ask for directions. He points and explains. I watch his hands but (more…)

How to get robbed in Spain: Part 2

Mmmhmm. You wear that fanny pack and American flag t-shirt. Throw on some Crocs while you’re at it. What really looks good is when you have a big fat map in front of your face and aren’t paying attention to your surroundings. Thieves love that stuff.

Traveling Ash’s Tip: There are lots of little ways you can make yourself stand out less. Thieves are always on the lookout for people who look like easy targets. Unfortunately, the preoccupied traveller often gets pegged as a thief’s paradise. (more…)

How to get robbed in Spain: Part 1

Don’t zip your bag. You know, don’t even watch it. Just leave it willy-nilly all over the place because no one ever wants easy money. If you can’t tell this is sarcasm, please reevaluate your travel plans.

Traveling Ash’s Tip: Be very strategic with the purse you bring and the way you carry it.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • A crossover is your best bet so no one can easily rip it off your shoulder.
  • Keep you bag slightly in front of you opposed to hanging loosely near your side or back.
  • Be conscientious of where your zippers are and how they can be accessed. You want to have the zipper pulley thingy (anyone know the real name?) towards you when it’s zipped closed. This way, assuming you’re holding your bag like I told you to) someone could only unzip it if his or her hand is in front of you.
  • If there are any zipper-pockets on the front of your bag, wear it so that side is up against your body to make it more difficult to access.
  • Never put anything of importance in a pocket that only clasps closed or doesn’t have any kind of covering. I don’t care if you want to have your phone/GPS/iPod/camera/passport handy for constant use. Don’t do it. It’s going to be taken.
  • Even when you are sitting (at the metro, at a restaurant, etc.), keep your bag on like you would wear it when you are walking and set it on your lap. Not on the ground. Never on the back of your chair.
  • Don’t keep your keys in the same place as the address of where you’re staying. This is especially important if you’re living with a family. If you haven’t memorized where you live yet, keep the address in your jeans pocket/backpack/etc. and your keys in your purse. If your bag does get stolen, you don’t want the thieves to be able to loot the rest of your belonging at your place while you’re out.
  • If you have to go the backpack route, be extra conscientious without looking like a nervous wreck. Hold it in front of you while in crowds and on public transportation. If you have it on your back, take a quick, discrete peek while walking past reflective surfaces to make sure it’s still zipped up.