Travelling and Safety Tips for Your First Trip to Europe

Europe is generally a safe place to visit. For the most part, the continent (especially the western part) is politically stable and crime in the streets is minimal. It’s actually safer here than in the US, and you’re less likely to be a victim of a violent crime here. But just to be on the safe side, here are some tips to keep you even safer.

Walk away from bar fights: Europe has a lot of fine bars, but these places can be the greatest danger. To keep safe, simply walk away when there’s even a hint of a violent confrontation. Some places are more dangerous than others, so you may want to frequent the bars where the prices are higher and the people are dressed nicely.

Use “below the belt” wallets: Most crimes against tourists involve pickpockets, so it’s best to be aware of them. Wallets and simple purses are easy to grab, and there are reports that even under the shirt pouches are being taken with the use of razors. Some may ride bikes and may grab your bag. There are many pickpocket scams so be careful

Don’t draw attention to yourself: Wear the same clothes as the locals wear, and leave the expensive jewellery at home. You really don’t want to stand out in the eyes of pickpockets looking for the big score. And don’t keep on patting where you placed your wallet—you’re just telling pickpockets where to target you.

Don’t put all your valuables and money in the same place in your hotel room: At least if someone steals something from you, not everything is taken. Better yet, when you go out you can keep your valuables in the hotel safe. Just make sure you see that the hotel clerk actually puts them in the hotel safe.

Be careful when you use the ATM: Be especially wary if someone offers to help you use the ATM. Never let anyone near when you enter your PIN.

If you are approached by a stranger, ask to see some ID: This can be very helpful if this stranger claims to be a police officer, or if they’re wearing a uniform. A common scam if for people to dress in uniform and tell tourists they must hand their cash over to be counted. European police officers do not do this so don’t fall for any tricks!

While statistically the crime rates are low, incidents still happen so make sure you take all steps to protect yourself. You can never be too cautious and a reliable travel insurance policy will help to pick up the pieces if the worst should happen.