Tag Archives: travel tips

How to Survive a Pickpocket While Traveling

I’d like to thank Lola’s Travels for sharing this article with their readers. It is an excellent source for anyone looking to explore the world and go on new adventures. I particularly enjoyed her most recent article on her favorite finds in Porto, Portugal!

Being pickpocketed can potentially ruin a vacation. You lose any money you’re carrying on you, some forms of identification, and a number of important cards. If you were home, you could probably deal with it, but away from your main base of operations, you don’t have the resources you need to land back on your feet after a day or two. Getting more money in a foreign country isn’t so easy, and you need to deal with the ramifications of someone running around with a lot of identifying information.

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Here are some of the things you should do after you’ve been pickpocketed:

Act Quickly

After you’ve been pickpocketed you have a very small window of opportunity to respond before others will use your cards and identification for their own ends. Perhaps the pickpocket uses your cards to buy themselves dinner after a clean getaway. They might also sell the contents of your wallet (minus the cash, of course) to someone else to throw law enforcement off their scent. You might have an hour or two at best.

Do not use this time to panic. You will have plenty of time to panic later and to be perfectly honest it doesn’t seem to do anyone much good. Take the following steps instead:

  • Call your credit card providers. Try to have a list of these beforehand so you can quickly go down the list.
  • Call your banks. If anything you have can be traced to an account, call the bank and tell them to be on high alert.
  • Call any other related services and business who you might have some sort of card or identification with. It is unlikely a pickpocket will do anything, but you can have a new card ready for when you get home, and you can rest assured knowing that the old card was deactivated.
  • Call your place of employment if it applies to the situation.

Have an Emergency Contact

Whenever you travel you should have someone to call in case of an emergency. Ideally this person should have the means and inclination to get you home out of an emergency (you can always pay them back later) or guide you to someone who can help. You should have this person’s phone number written down (ideally memorized) and someplace safe (in your hotel room is probably okay). After you contact your financial service providers, call this contact and see what the two of you can do.

If you can work out an emergency plan beforehand, that will make things all the easier for you. There are several services that allow one to send money to someone in a foreign country, and the fewer logistical hoops you and your contact have to jump through the more easily the situation will resolve itself. Give your contact a copy of your itinerary and your important information in a sealed envelope they can open if needed. This is all extremely important if you are travelling alone.

Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in One Basket

Don’t carry everything you have in one pocket or wallet. Try to have a backup plan available just in case something happens to you. Surviving a pickpocket is so much easier if you have some extra cash or a backup card stashed away, letting you know where your next meal is coming from. It will allow you to continue to enjoy your travel once you have the details sorted out.

Also try to keep your passport in a safer place than your pocket, as not having one on you makes getting home that much harder. You need to have some identification on you, and your passport will be it if your main wallet gets pickpocketed. Make a habit of keeping it with some spare cash so that you can survive in any situation.

Use the Internet

The internet is your very best tool when recovering from having your wallet stolen. There are websites that can direct you to the right phone numbers to call, where you can have money sent and where you can eat for cheap while having little more than the change in your pocket. You can usually either use your smartphone’s data plan or find some network you can access. Even if you have to pay for internet access it is worth having those tools to get you through the ordeal.

Just make sure that you are using a Virtual Private Network while you travel so that you don’t have to deal with cybercrime and identity theft after you’ve already been pickpocketed (or before you even check in to your hotel). It’ll allow you to use public networks without any fear and access your Netflix account in lieu of more expensive entertainment. They are generally a good investment for any traveler and allow you to have another form of protection.

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Pickpockets often use different methods to snatch your wallet and often have different end goals in mind, but they are all a menace that you can protect yourself against. If you find yourself a victim, remember the above tips and you will make it through just fine. Do you have any stories to tell about pickpockets while you were travelling? Do you have any tips to add to those listed above? Please leave a reply below and join the conversation with your fellow travelers.

Guest Post by Jess, a self-confessed travel addict who has her own blog http://www.tripelio.com where she also writes about her adventures and experiences.

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Marooned in Miami

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YES Miami IS my favorite place, true… but what happened that time when I got stuck there accidentally and ended up with NO clothes except what I had on?!

Bite me, Hercules!

Bite me, Hercules!

It MAY surprise you, this is the story of how Lola was a flexible traveler that rolled with the punches. You see, in the earliest days of January I went down to Miami to see my lovely dear friend, Mrs. O Around the World, who happened to be stateside for the New Year. She figured she could convince me to go to Miami since it IS my go-to place. She was right. However, like any typical New England January, I had a massive snow storm to contend with. Worry not, I was determined to get down to South Beach and the warmer climes even if it meant 12 hours behind schedule.

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While it wasn’t the usual sunny Miami I know and love, I still managed to have a super time AND the sun peeked out for just a bit on Sunday before my flight home. Off to the airport I went and once there, learned that my flight to Boston was massively delayed due to icing on the planes. Long story short, I was forced to flit between gates, restaurants and bars while waiting for my plane to leave. Not departing until 8pm (supposedly) I made my way back to my gate at 7:40 to learn they had given up my seat. You see, I may have beaten ‘Hercules’ the snowstorm and made it to Miami on Friday but lots of people never made it OUT of Miami starting that Friday. So, 30+ people, 3 days of trying to fly stand-by, well a lucky person scored my seat. BIG BUMMER right? I really didn’t know just how bad it was until I went to the airline club to get rebooked. The SOONEST that I was going to be able to fly out of Miami was Wednesday. CRAZY right?! But it was a real problem all over the country practically. So, what can you do? Deal with it. I was actually due to return to Miami on the upcoming Friday morning, so after a bit of mulling it over, it seemed silly to leave only to return less than 2 days later. I called back to the airlines (who returned my call 4 hours later – that’s how backed up they were) to say, let’s cancel my return and departure back. After half an hour on the phone, I had my points and dollars back BUT…I still needed to sort out a few important things. Like where was I going to stay AND more importantly wear, since my bag DID go to Boston on my original flight out.


I decided to head over to Fort Lauderdale as I could get a deal there for a few days and then go back to South Beach on Thursday before my friends arrived Friday. That part was easy. The hard part was, wait for it…SHOPPING! Where could I go and what would I buy that could get me through the next few days. A mall made sense but I’ll tell you a little secret about me. I actually don’t enjoy shopping all that much. Especially mandatory shopping. Buying underwear & flip flops exactly like the ones you sent home isn’t very fun. I like my stuff. I didn’t wanna have to replace it. I tried to be practical with my white jeans and one cardigan I had and I actually think I did really well in 2.5 hours. Then I had to virtual shop my closet with my best friend at home, so that she could Fed Ex me stuff for the weekend. Also an interesting exercise. Finally, I had NO BAG to tote my stuff around (newly purchased and what was being shipped). So onto to Amazon I went and bought a backpack that I knew I’d need anyhow for my summer travels. It was actually a very funny thing, planes were not getting in or out of lots of the East Coast but Fed Ex and UPS made it to the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel the next day with my stuff, no problem. The irony!


Now, I’m sure you’re thinking, “oh, you poor thing, getting stuck in Miami” said super sarcastically. Well, I’ll just let you know that week was total crap for weather. Rainy and cold, there was no sunshiny bonus for moi. AND the other irony is that I didn’t travel with my computer so I really couldn’t get much work done. So, what did I learn and what’s the moral of this story?!

1) If you must get home during bad winter weather do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave your departure gate. Airlines stink and you never know when they’ll suddenly board and give your seat away despite your already having checked into the flight! Airline employees try to throw around their authority and take advantage of people’s desperation in situations like these. I refuse to be caught up in their nonsense so I readjusted and made my own rules.

2) Shopping makes for fun travel souvenirs AND forced vacay isn’t the absolute worst.

3) Always keep your make up and toiletries in your carry on ladies. While this little detour in plans set me back a bit due to the shopping spree, let’s face it, make up, etc. would have cost a fortune more and that I didn’t have extra of at home to be shipped to me.

4) Travel with your computer, LOLA, you never know what is going to happen and you’ve proven Murphy’s Law TRUE.

5) Isn’t it better to just roll with it than to stress and spend hours at the airport for days on end or on the phone?! YES I say! I am far more flexible than you might ever imagine and that’s one of the BEST things travel has taught me.

Has something like this happened to you before? What would you do in this situation?

PS: The staff at W Fort Lauderdale were amazing and I really loved the hotel!


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5 Best Ways to get a Hotel Room Upgrade

As a frequent traveler, I’m sure it’s not hard to believe that I’ve become a ‘hotel junkie’ and know a thing or two about hotels. Believe it, or not, the trick to going from a $150 per night room to a $300 suite in a matter of moments isn’t being famous, having the right connections, or even tricking the concierge into believing it’s your anniversary – sometimes, it’s just a matter of being smart about timing, being honest, and above all, not being a diva! (Yes, I just said that!)

Lola lounging in the lobby of her fave hotel - DELANO in Miami

Lola lounging in the lobby of her fave hotel – DELANO in Miami

With that in mind, consider trying out these 5 tips the next time you’re headed for a hotel stay and see what happens. With ease and practice, you can easily end up on the VIP list for each and every stay, at each and every hotel! Visit Accor Hotels today to try out some of these tips.

#1 – Purposefully Have Superb Timing

First things first – don’t ever try to get from a low priced room to a high priced room; you’ll have minimal success, at best. It’s always a good idea to meet the hotel half way and make your initial booking for that of a mid-priced room for the hotel. Upgrades are handed over far more easily when they’re not taking as much of a loss, by doing so.

Now, once you have the room booked – wait to check-in until later in the day. The hotel’s clerk has no idea how many cancellations and no-shows there will be earlier in the day and therefore won’t want to risk passing out upgrades until they do. Checking in between 4-6pm, is usually ideal as you don’t want to wait too long and get shuffled into the no-show list yourself.

Keep in mind, however, that if this hotel is at max occupancy – say during a peak travel season – the likelihood of this method working is slim. They simply don’t have any upgrades to hand out.

#2 – Mom Always Said… Be Honest & Mind Your Manners

Every hotel clerk on the planet that has been working the job for even a month has heard the same old white lies again and again and again. The “it’s my honeymoon!” or the “it’s our anniversary” lines are overused and unless you booked way in advance – or are wearing a wedding gown – the hotel clerk is going to smell the lie the second you walk into the lobby.

Believe it, or not, one of the best approaches to obtaining a room upgrade is just to ask for one. Adhere to the first tip on this list, and have great timing, but just ask. Be sweet, be honest, and you might be surprised – insulting the intelligence of the person who has the power, though, is a surefire way to get blacklisted.

Another way, is to make up complaints about your room – don’t do that. On the other hand, if there’s genuinely something wrong with your room, don’t shout and scream – be understanding, be patient, and you will be rewarded.

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Some of Lola’s fave swanky luxe spots – Beverly Wilshire, Four Seasons Milan, Villa Gallici in Provence & Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento

#3 – Let the Internet Be Your Agent

Not all of us have those real-world connections – like being the General Manager’s accountant – but that doesn’t stop any of us from working the digital connections available to anyone with the internet.

Prior to booking, check out a website called the Kiwi Collection. This is a luxury hotel website that provides loads of free perks and hotel upgrades to their members, especially if you’re with them long enough to achieve VIP status. Once you reach this level, Kiwi agents will actually take on the role of your agent, reach out to the vast array of hotels they have relationships with, and obtain upgrades for you in an instant.

Did I mention this is a completely free service? All they require is your loyalty!

Speaking of loyalty, you can also obtain upgrades just by being a VISA Signature cardholder at over 800 hotel properties sponsored by VISA.

#4 – A Little Loyalty Goes a Long Way

Since we’re already on the subject of loyalty, I’ll go right into how it can help you even more than already mentioned. Hotels want return guests — they want loyalty – they want to know that they’re your favorite hotel. Furthermore, they want to know that you’re recommending them to all of your friends, family, and co-workers.

How can they find out about this? It’s simple – when you refer the hotel, make sure to tell your referral to drop your name at check-in. Believe me, the hotel clerk will make note of it and will thank you with a hotel room upgrade the next time you check-in. Guests don’t just disappear from a hotel’s radar – especially if it’s a nice hotel – they keep a record of everything and everyone; especially their loyal customers.

Keep in mind that this isn’t just a “keep our customers happy and loyal” trick, it’s a “we want to save money on marketing” trick – it costs less to bring back a guest than it does to acquire a new one entirely. That’s business 101.

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Some of Lola’s fave hipster hotels – Mondrian SoHo, W Barcelona, James Hotel in Miami & Cosmopolitan in Vegas

#5 – If it’s a Real Occasion, Speak up!

As mentioned before, hotel clerks can sniff out a lie really easily. However, if you’re booking with a hotel for a special occasion several weeks out, definitely let them know what the occasion is. If you combine this with tip #1 and check-in later in the day, the hotel will probably try to “wow” their new guests with a surprise upgrade for their special day. They’re in the business of hospitality and they love to extend it.

Furthermore, if you happen to be a loyal return customer – absolutely speak up!! You’ll receive an upgrade, no questions asked!

XO – Lola


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stay classy las vegas

Team GoldieRox...boom boom pow!

the primary purpose of my Vegas trip was to complete the Rock ‘n’ Roll 1/2 Marathon. (well…maybe it was the “excuse” to go to Vegas and the secondary purpose if i’m really being honest) as previously posted – this goal was met!!! here are my other goals – all mostly achieved!

STAY in a swanky hotel: HELLO COSMOPOLITAN! nowhere is more swanky!!!

view from the Cosmopolitan...outstanding!

EAT at some awesome places that wouldn’t make me broke: LOVE YOU The Barrymore, Comme Ca & Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill

view of the strip from Comme Ca...fabulous!

DRINK some delicious cocktails that wouldn’t make me broke: lola loves HAND CRAFTED COCKTAILS with perfect chunky ice cubes! (i’ll admit i AM a little broke from this…see my NYC cocktail tour for insight) 🙂

dark & stormy with homemade ginger beer a la Comme Ca...yummy!

PLAY at some fun bars and clubs without waiting in line: TOTALLY DIG that promoters read tweets & reach out to get you on the list!

VIP entry + free drinks at Tryst...cuz that's how i roll! (thanks Dave)

SHOP to get some great must-have item(s): no SERIOUS damage here but still some fun finds

adorable Cosmopolitan t-shirt (check)

fun gold scarf to add some sparkle to any outfit (check)

seriously heavy metal that can't be bought but only earned = BEST BLING OF ALL!!

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Bright Lights, Big City: perceptions & misconceptions

like i said before –  NYC – you were once home to me.  still, one has perceptions about you – some of which are true, some that were once true and some that were never true at all. here’s my list as an ex-New Yorker now visiting NYC.


PEOPLE ARE GRUFF: when i lived in NY people were not as friendly as they now seem to be. have you gone soft NY? maybe it was me and the daily grind? POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

TAXIS ARE DEATH TRAPS: cabbies still drive like total MANIACS and you have reason to fear for your life. TRUTH

IT’S A CROWDED ISLAND: it still feels very crowded on the streets and i now know i do not care for this. it was the first thing i noticed when i left NY – i had room to spread out my arms when walking the sidewalks. it was the first thing that made me feel claustrophobic when i was visiting. TRUTH

NYC IS VERY EXPENSIVE: you can eat at some top-notch places and not break the bank. i always thought of NY as expensive in every way but really the restaurants are priced the same as other major cities. POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

THERE’S A LACK OF CUSTOMER SERVICE: i appreciated the attentiveness of the restaurant managers where we ate out Friday and Saturday nights. at some point of the meal at each restaurant the manager came by to make sure we were happy and enjoying ourselves. this stood out to me because it’s not typical at most places but perhaps it now is in NYC. nicely done! (you hear me Boston?) POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE BUT I’M GONNA GO WITH NEVER TRUE AT ALL

NYC IS VERY EXPENSIVE: drinks on the other hand seem to be exceedingly expensive EVERYWHERE or was it that i just went to fancy spots with fancy drinks?  hmmm… TRUTH

IT’S A MELTING POT: always has been always will be one of the best places on earth to people watch. TRUTH

THE SUBWAY IS GROSS & SCARY: the subway is still the fastest, most efficient bargin to getting around. NO, it’s not flithy & people DO smile and look at each other in the eye. that said, probably not somewhere you’d want to hang out all day long or stay overnight! POSSIBLY ONCE TRUE

NEW YORKERS ARE RUSHED & RUDE: if you ask for something, there’s a better than good chance you shall receive it. everytime i asked for something during my visit – i got it. that’s 100 for 100! not too shabby for a tough little city like the  BIG APPLE. *wink wink* PROBABLY NEVER TRUE AT ALL

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