It is safe for us to say, after traveling the world for over seven years with this blog and a bunch of years before, that we learned quite a lot about staying safe. Here are our best travel safety tips for your Eurotrip to go smooth and memorable.
And speaking about street credit, we start this travel safety tips post by stating that.
Nothing ruins your day quicker than getting scammed or robbed.
One time in Rio de Janeiro, we were with some friends from the U.S., and we noticed that the beer price was 5x times higher for them. All it took was a different language, and the price went from 3 to 15 bucks per beer. Another time in Barcelona, a pickpocket once grabbed a friend’s iPhone from her purse. They managed to open her purse, get the phone, close the purse without any of them noticing until it was too late. On the same subject, Marcela got robbed in her favorite bar here in Berlin. One guy got her whole purse with documents, keys, credit cards, and more without nobody on the table noticing.
The moral of the story here is that you don’t need to travel internationally to have bad stuff happening.
Deceitful taxi drivers, untruthful offers of help, sketchy tour guides, scammers are everywhere. Keep your eyes open, and don’t act like a tourist. We even think that all the travel safety tips here are just other ways to say it.
In our experience, the world is a hell of a safe place for travelers. We are doing this article to tell you it is wise to be always prepared and alert. And having this in mind, here are our top travel safety tips to minimize the chances of your Eurotrip getting ruined.
Before hopping on a plane, research the most common Travel Scams.
It doesn’t matter where in Europe or the world you’re going. You will be able to reasonably easy find articles or blog posts about the most common scams. It is stupid to think that in Europe because it is so rich people are so lovely, you’re in less danger than when traveling to South East Asia, for example. You’ll always find people ready to trick you out of your hard-earned cash. Some more obvious than others, sure. But they are still there.
And why those people are successful in what they do? Because everyone thinks they’re too clever to be scammed — but it happens.
You’re just a google search away to be extra prepared not to fall into those traps.
Always have your emergency info with you
Another example of simple things you can do to prevent the worst. Did you know that even know 911 can (in theory) work worldwide as an emergency number, each country has its own number for emergencies? In Brazil, the police number is 190, in Germany 110 and in England it is 999.
If shit hits the fan, you might not have the time or resources to search on the spot for those numbers. Don’t put yourself into those situations. Write down all the numbers on your phone and also try to memorize them just in case.
And I’m not even talking about a stolen phone, I’m talking about silly bike accident around Amsterdam that can leave you with a broken arm. Or getting hit by a scooter in London because you forgot that they drive on the other side. Have you ever thought about having travel insurance?
We have friends that came to Europe for their honeymoon, and the girl lost control of her bike in a rural area near Berlin. On the 3rd day of their trip! Her accident was so severe that she needed to be rushed to the hospital by helicopter. And their credit card insurance didn’t cover bike accidents! Goes without saying that their whole trip had to be canceled without refunds and medical bills on top.
And travel insurance can be as low as 40 bucks for one month.
Maybe write down the information about your insurance and the emergency numbers you will need for your Eurotrip, get it laminated, and safely stored in your wallet.
Get a health Travel Insurance
You never think you need it until you do. Like we said before, you can’t foresee situations like a bike accident or even an emergency surgery for appendicitis. Having proper travel insurance will save you from a lot of future ad unnecessary headaches. They are cheap, you can do online, and they are a must.
If you’re new to travel insurance, we recommend you do your search. If you have no time or will to do it, just take our word for it and get one following this link. It is an affiliate link, of course, but we would never post here something we know is not good.
Read what is covered, choose the duration of your trip and the destinations you’re going and see how much it will be. I’m sure it will be cheaper than not having one.
You can’t predict the future, but you can be prepared. Besides, as we said before, you will need travel insurance when entering the E.U. anyways.
Maybe go further and get insurance for your gear
This one is for travelers like us that are always with expensive photography gear, laptops, and more.
If you’re anxious about how safe your gear will be while you travel, you can almost completely relax when you get the right insurance for it. People over Instagram ask all the time if we are worried about going everywhere with DSRL, lenses, laptops, flash, and more. We were when I didn’t have insurance for them. Now that we do, not so much. If stuff gets stolen, it will get replaced.
This time we can’t recommend one for you because property insurance is better-done searching based on where you live rather than where you’re traveling. Of course, you can find options online, but they rarely will cover that 3000 euros camera set you have.
Always Lock Up Your Valuables
It goes without saying that traveling around with expensive stuff is a bad idea. But as you know, sometimes we can’t avoid it. Even following the previous travel safety tips, somethings you can’t afford to have stolen. Our job here is to give you travel safety tips to minimize the chances of unfortunate events from happening. And yours is to reduce the opportunities for theft.
First, we start from the start. What is up with your luggage? Keep in mind that the worst idea a travel photographer can have is to travel around with travel backpacks. They are simply not secure at all.
Anyone can easily open, they are always on your back and away from your eyesight. And, regardless of how pricy your super padlock was, it is useless with a backpack. Even a slash-proof backpack is still easier to open than standard hard case luggage.
Our setup always consists of one hard case luggage and a small bag or backpack. But never those huge backpacks alone.
Secondly, where are you staying? Hotel or hostel? Couch surfing? Airbnb? Check if your accommodation choice offers a safe place for you to store your valuables when you’re out exploring. For that, the pricy padlock is a must!
There are far too many stories of people getting robbed inside their Airbnb, hostels, or hotel. Always hide and lock your belongings!
Are your family and friends aware of your travel plans?
Once you’ve decided when and where you’re going, make sure someone else knows too.
It can be your parents or your best friend. The important message here is, in case something happens, someone else must know where in the world you are! The best and simpler way is to email the full itinerary to a few friends or family members. Make sure that they got the email, too, ok?
We run this blog since 2012, and there was not a single trip where at least one person in Berlin knew where we were going. That way, if by any chance we disappear from the internet, the proper authorities can be notified about it.
they don’t hear from me for a few days after I’m supposed to return; they can help notify the proper local authorities, the embassy, etc.
When in doubt, ask a local for advice
And this travel safety tip is to save you from tourist trap and misinformation regarding the city you are.
Want to know which neighborhoods are unsafe? Where is a great place for a bite? Ask a local resident of the area!
We trust people from small businesses more than the receptionist of a hotel. Especially when it is about food and bars since hotels and hostels usually have deals with pubs and restaurants. And more often than not, they will point you to a very pricy and touristic place rather than the place they hang out in their spare time.
Besides, most locals are mega honest and friendly and will warn you about dangerous areas or even small safety tips to enjoy your trip to the fullest!
But be smart! If a stranger offers up advice, try to get a second and a third opinion somewhere else. Because there are some cases where they don’t really know what they’re talking about, you know? And more opinions means a smaller chance of getting scammed.
Mind what you’re wearing
When we talk about travel, the wrong outfit can scream “TOURIST” and turn you into the perfect target for scammers, thieves, or worse.
The less “Hey, I’m not from here” look you have, the less attention you’ll draw to you.
In Berlin, you can easily spot some U.S. folks because they tell you about their clothes from where they are from. USA base caps, whatever university jumpers are some of the most common examples.
Try to dress normal, avoid t-shirts with big brands that only exist in your country, flag-themed jumpers, and so on.
This item in the list of travel safety tips may sound useless for some of you but pay attention to your own city. I’m sure you can spot the tourist without any effort.
Also, we would like to point out that your outfit can only help you so far if you insist on not behaving in certain places.
Did you know that in Barcelona, it is illegal to walk around the city without a shirt? And it is valid for both genders, boys!
Travel safety tips are also about Protecting Your Money
Picture this, there you go on your incredible and well planned Eurotrip. You’ve taken all the precautions, memorized emergency numbers, and common scams. You are also insured from your camera to your health. Everything you did is perfect, but you have a problem with your credit card, and all your ways of getting money are now blocked.
Why? Because you never told your bank you’re going abroad and the credit card activities from the past hour were too suspicious. Now your bank account is frozen and you can’t have any access to your money.
And of course, this will only be solved on the next business day and to call your bank will cost you a small fortune.
The solution to this is quite simple. You either make sure your bank is aware of your plans in a timely matter and (or!) you rely on an online bank. In case you can open an account, check N26. We use it since this bank was in the Beta phase, never had problems. Worked perfectly everywhere from Brazil, Nepal, Finland, Russia, and more.
Of course, don’t forget always to carry emergency cash.
Trust Your Instincts!
This travel safety tip is maybe the most overlooked from all of the above. But for sure, it is incredibly important. You are built to survive. Your body hears and sees more things than you could ever process “consciously.”
With the lack of a better name, let’s say everyone has a “spider-sense.” It may not be so clear to everybody, but for sure, it is there. Your body might sense danger precious seconds or minutes before your brain is fully aware. And that, my friend, is something to treasure.
If you’re not cool in a place and you don’t know why? Leave. If you’re feeling uneasy somewhere for some whatever reason? Leave. Trust your gut feeling. Analyze the place, the people around, the situation and try to figure out why you are feeling the way you are. Try not to see it as only irrational fear.
If you can leave in safety, please do. And if you can do that in a group instead of alone, better. Especially if you’re a woman.
Travel Safety For Women and Men
All we said so far in this list of travel safety tips are equally valid for both genders. Everyone, regardless of their gender, has equal chances of getting into an accident or getting their credit cards frozen. But unfortunately, women are easier targets for some kinds of violence than men. And this is true here in Europe too. The list of things that women have to worry about is a hundred times longer than the list of things men need to worry about.
While men worry about getting ripped off by taxi, women need to worry about not getting raped.
Women worried about being assaulted or harassed might prefer to visit a local street fair or nightclub in a group rather than alone. Especially if it’s a common problem for the area.
Travel safety is really about staying street smart. It is about being prepared for the unexpected at all times. And you can only do that if this is part of your daily life. Minimizing your exposure to risky situations in a new and unfamiliar country is harder if you are not ready from home, you know?
But every help is a help, so girls, try to walk home in groups. Men, if you are the only one walking on an empty street and you see a girl alone, cross the road to the opposite side. Make her feel safe. It also goes without saying that you, man, will help a lot by not being part of the problem. Behave like a decent human and avoid catcalling or similar shitty actions.
Girls, be safe out there, but never let your fear take control of you!
If you want to travel, you cannot avoid risk. Risk is part of life, and you face it whether you’re abroad or not. There is no way to be completely safe. Remember our article about traveling n the era of terrorism? Risks are an integral part of the adventure too.
Isn’t saying that bad things don’t happen. It’s saying they’re usually a misleading representation of what happens typically. And also don’t believe the over-hype. Risk exists but shouldn’t freeze you. Generally speaking, it’s never been a safer time to travel! So get out there, be aware of your surroundings, and go travel as much as you can!