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I used to be mugged on holiday. Don’t make the errors I made | Patrick Collinson | Travel

It occurred inside an hour of arriving at Barcelona airport – and only a day after I had hadfiled a bit on holiday cash for these pages. What I hadn’t reckoned on was the organised gangs which might be out to focus on vacationers, significantly, it has to be mentioned, in Spain. And how, with only a few easy steps, I might have protected myself (and my cash).

This is what you’re speculated to do earlier than you go overseas:

Take your pockets and empty it out. Remove all of the belongings you actually don’t needfor every week or two in Spain, that in the event that they had been lost or stolen would simply be a ache. Your work /employees move. Your Tesco Clubcard or Boots Advantage or Waitrose card. Your library or cinema membership card. Your driving licence (for those who’re not hiring a automobile). Credit playing cards you realize you aren’t going to make use of. All these different little loyalty playing cards, recepits and basic garbage you retain in your pockets. Why take them overseas? Just depart them within the sock drawer till you’re again home.

The subsequent stage is to separate issues up. Why have the whole lot in a single pockets? By all means take two bank cards, one as a back-up. SSecrete bank cards in pockets or toiletry baggage. The identical together with your bodily money – depart a few of your euros/sterling in your pockets to make use of whereas travelling, and conceal the remaining elsewhere amongst your baggage and belongings.

It’s what I at all times used to do. But after all, for some purpose I didn’t this time. Maybe it was the exceptionally early flight from Stansted (by no means once more). Maybe it was the lackadaisical means I now deal with flying. So there I used to be, with my companion, standing on a darkish and humid platform at Barcelona’s El Prat de Llobregat station, ready for a connection to Sitges. Absolutely eEverything in a single pockets, bulging out of my entrance pocket. Stuffed within the different pocket my telephone and mypassport. One hand dragging a wheelie bag, the opposite a smallholdall.

I hope I’m portray a cliched image of a sufferer, for that’s what I used to be. There had been a bewildering few seconds earlier than we even realised we had been being mugged. As the practice pulled inand we walked as much as the sliding doorways, there was a commotion as some individuals pushed and shoved to get off. Others, behind us, had been aggressively pushing on. But it was completely faux – devised by a gang to separate us, then rob us.

I seemed down, to see my pockets within the hand of one of many males. Weirdly, as I wrestled it again, there was a pained expression on the thief’s face, as if I had been falsely accusing him. Meanwhile, my companion’s bag was being slashed. Fortunately, we’re bothbig sufficient (or silly sufficient?) to battle again, and after a brief tussle they scarpered.

These incidents have to be rife in Barcelona, judging by the one mildly sympathetic shrugs we received from fellow passengers on the practice. The Renfe safety employees at our vacation spot had been equally disinterested. At our lodge, the Spanish receptionist mentioned an English vacationer had arrived the week earlier than, and was robbed of the whole lot on the identical station. Never use El Prat de Llobregat, she informed us.

Fortunately, we lost little: two €20 notes nicked from the highest of my pocket that weren’t within the pockets that I had been in a position to seize again. My telephone and passport had been additionally secure. But it was a deeply upsetting technique to begin a holiday.

I don’t blame myself – I’ll save that for the nasty, vicious toerags who attacked us. But to anybody heading off this summer time, take precautionary steps first. I want I hadpractised what I preach.

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