The thought of travelling throughout Europe will seem exciting and adventurous. But with every adventure there is a chance of danger. There are many opportunities for crime, violence and unsafe behavior while travelling. Below we outline some tips on how to stay safe when travelling to Europe and popular scams to be aware of.
Before leaving, take a few steps to minimize your loss is theft occurs. Make copies of all your important documentation (passport, itinerary, prescriptions, hotel/transportation information).
Aside from major violence such as global terrorism, there is minor crimes that happen daily throughout Europe. The most common is pick pocketing.
Tourist then to carry around expensive electronics and is quite easy to spot for the advanced pickpocketer. Therefore, some helpful tips to keep you safe:
Be alert in Crowds: busy tourist attractions, busy streets, subways, buses, train stations are popular spots to loose your wallet, passport and bags. Because of the close proximity of others, people brushing up against you when passing or people just bumping into you when moving through the crowds. All of those are examples where someone can easily lift your wallet or other valuables. Be alert in those situations, and know where your belongings/valuables are at all times.
Your Backpack and Purse: avoid putting down any bags in a crowded area and zip up your bags. We’ve seen time and time again people walking around with their backpacks, purses and luggage wide open that anyone can easily snatch items out. Two big suggestions is to avoid backpacks/purses that snap together. The gaps can something cause things to fall out, or people to easily put their hands in. Stick to luggage that can easily be zipped up. Lastly, put a lock on your backpacks and suitcases. Thieves want an easy target, so if you make it harder for them to steal or get into your bags, they will just move on to someone else less secure.
Moneybelt: lots of travellers swear by it – its a small zippered pouch that fastens under your pants. You can now purchase RFIP Blocking Money Belts (The Eagle Creek RFID Blocker Money Belt), where if you have chipped cards, they have the ability to block readable scanners/RFID signals.
In your hotel, leave your backpacks with most valuables with a lock. There are many horror stories of travellers leaving their passport, monies under the bed, in a drawer. Keep all your items together, but lock it. Try not to spread all your clothing throughout the room keep a “unpacked” routine, where everything typically stays in your bags. That not only keeps most items safe, but also avoid you forgetting something when its time to leave.
Card/ATM Skimming – It is extremely easy to clone a credit card. Use your card at reputable businesses. Never use your credit card in a payphone or to pay for a call, that is the biggest scam.
ATM skimming is the process of using a super-thin card reading device that fits around or near the ATM’s actual card reader. Then once the card is swiped, it copies all the information onto the other decide. Newer cards with enhanced RFID chips have similar information in their chips making those types of cards vulnerable as well.
Mugging – muggings can occur at anytime, it doesn’t only happen at night. Most often occurs in public squares where the chance for the mugger to escape through a side street/side alley is possible.
Taxi Scams – use a reputable company and always go by the meter. Some drivers might claim the meter is broken or they can’t turn it on – in that case get out of the taxi, otherwise you are likely to be ripped off. Carry small bills, and don’t leave your bags in the trunk.
Research your destinations prior to travelling, to educate yourself on the common ways of staying safe and the common scams in each country. Exercise common sense and avoid risky situations that could put you in harm. Your travel does not have to be dangerous and challenging. Travel smart. And travel carefully!