For many travelers, Europe is a dream destination that’s associated with luxury and better quality of life. But visitors in a continent as affluent as Europe are not exempt from thieves and robbers. So if you’re planning your next trip there, keep the following things in mind if you want to know how to stay safe when traveling in Europe and you’ll enjoy your stay.
Know Your Host Well
If you’re using Couchsurfing or Airbnb, it’s important to know if your prospective host is credible, trustworthy, and reliable. Some travelers experience making a reservation only to be stood up by their hosts once they’re already in their country of destination.
For your own safety, look up your potential hosts and verify their details using a people search site like Whitepages, Facebook search or everify.com that compiles all the necessary background information about a person, such as his job history, arrest records, and contact details.
Sign Up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
Signing up for this government program can be very helpful. Once enrolled, you’ll receive email alerts regarding the safety conditions in your country of destination, which in turn can help you plan your travel itinerary more wisely.
Should any emergency happen, having your personal and travel details registered in STEP will make it easy for your family and friends to contact you.
Just make sure to avoid saving your personal details in the autofill function of the browser when you enroll. This will keep online identity thieves from accessing your personal information and compromising your safety.
Be Mindful of Your Belongings
In Europe, pickpockets loiter inside subways, train stations, and even inside the trains. In one of the metro lines in Paris and even in Rome, you’ll often hear announcements that remind passengers to keep an eye on their belongings. This often means that a thief has been spotted, so better heed the warning.
Investing in an anti-theft backpack, sling bag, or wallet is also a great way to secure your valuables as you roam around the cities of Europe.
Subscribe to International Roaming or Get a Local SIM Card
It can be tempting to go without a mobile phone for a few days when traveling. You’re on vacation after all. This is all right when you’re touring with your family. But when you’re traveling alone, it’s best that you keep your phone lines open so that your loved ones can be informed in case something bad happens to you.
Having a working phone line also allows you to make calls and send messages to local hotlines, police stations, pharmacies, and hospitals, during an emergency. So activate your phone’s international roaming feature while you still can, or buy a local SIM card and pop it into your phone upon arriving.
Know the Local Hotlines
It pays to know what numbers to call when you’re in trouble. So before you head to your country of destination, spare a few minutes to research the numbers you can call if you encounter theft or any crime along the road or in the place you’re going to stay in. You never know when you’ll need help from local authorities.
Get the Contact Details of Your Country’s Embassy
In Europe, not everyone speaks English. So when reporting to local authorities is not an option due to the language barrier, the best people to run to for help are those who come from your homeland.To find out the contact details of your home country’s embassy, just go to the government’s travel website, and type its name. The first pull-down menu will show you all the information you need.
Nothing ruins a lovely visit in Europe (how about this two week Europe itinerary?) better than petty thefts and scams. Make your European vacation safe and enjoyable by taking precautionary measures before and during your trip.