For many, the idea of a European getaway is the ultimate dream. There are so many historical sights to see and adventures to behold that it almost seems like another world. However, while Europe has its share of gorgeous architecture and friendly people, you still want to travel with safety in mind.
Like all places, Europe has its dangers, so a careful approach to travel is a must. Whether it is avoiding theft, keeping your identity safe, or keeping an eye on dangerous world events, there are steps you should take to ensure the safety of you and your family. Here are some tips to follow so your European vacation is one you will always remember for all the right reasons.
Keep Your Money Close
The fact is that, regardless of if you stay in your home country or travel to faraway Spain or France, there will always be bad people looking to take your money. This is why it is especially important that you are smart with your funds while you travel, particularly in a new place where you don’t know the language. Avoid wearing clothes with your home country’s flag or excessive jewellery so you don’t stick out from the rest of the crowd. To be extra safe, you may also try dressing closer to the native population of the place you are visiting. Some tips include wearing conservative clothes, comfortable shoes, and leaving the baseball hat at home.
When travelling to a new place, it is not recommended that you carry your wallet in your back pocket or your purse over your shoulder like at home because it can too easily be snatched away by an experienced thief. Instead, invest in a bag that you wear around your waist and keep it in front of you so you can always keep an eye on it. You don’t need to look far. Instead, turn to the good ol’ fanny pack, which can be worn front or back and is easily hidden under your clothes.
It is also a wise idea not to keep all of your valuables in one place. Keep some cash in a sock or shoe so if you are robbed, you still have some money for help. Another consideration is a RFID wallet which blocks criminals from using advanced scanners to steal your card information.
The last thing that you need while in a foreign place is for your passport or other important documents to be stolen, leaving you stranded. When it comes to documents, if the destination will allow it, use copies and keep the originals at home. It is also a good idea to make a couple of copies of the hotel address and directions in case your phone is lost or stolen, and you don’t know where to go. On a separate note, also bring all necessary medications in the event that you get sick.
When most of us go anywhere, we have our smartphones in tow. Not only do they help us to stay connected, but they also act as our cameras, navigation systems, and sources of entertainment during downtime. However, your phone can also be hacked by criminals who go through your device to steal your personal information including social security numbers, addresses, and more. That is why you must practice good cybersecurity while travelling abroad.
One of the more common ways that criminals access your information is through the man-in-the-middle attack, which is essentially a fake Wi-Fi network. When you are in public places, it is natural to want to use the free connections at the cafe or restaurant, but you must be careful to ask the owner about the correct Wi-Fi in which to connect. If you are not careful, you could connect to a fake account set up by a hacker, and if you do, they become the “man” in the middle as they make a direct connection with your device. After that, they can steal the data on your phone in a matter of minutes.
Before you leave for your trip, take the proper precautions to secure your phone, so even if it is lost or stolen, your information is protected. You should always have a password on your phone, and if possible, double that up with a second security requirement like a thumbprint which makes it even harder to get in. You might also consider installing an encryption app on your phone that will make the data unreadable if stolen.
Avoiding Catastrophic Dangers
These days, we are living in a very different world full of dangers that you may not have even thought about several years ago. The news is full of stories of terrorism and violence around the world, and it can be a scary thought while travelling. Some people worry about human trafficking, which is a threat all over the world including in Europe and the United States. In fact, it affects over 24 million people around the world.
The last thing you want is for a catastrophic danger to occur while you are out of town and in a place that you are unfamiliar with, but you cannot let the possibility of these threats rob you of the chance to see the gorgeous sights of Europe, so stay ahead of the issue. As a first step, register with your home embassy. When you do so, you will be informed about safety conditions and potential threats, including civil unrest and dangerous weather conditions in the area you are visiting. Before you book your trip, consult this resource and check on restrictions in the country you wish to visit. In light of COVID-19, you may not be able to visit some of these areas during this time.
In addition to not trying to stand out, you also want to avoid unsafe situations. Always stick with the crowd. Don’t go into strange alleys or try shortcuts that you have not travelled before. If you are approached by a stranger, practise caution, and do not give them any information about your travel plans or where you are staying. If this is your first trip to Europe, the best plan is to sign up with a travel group and really see what this fascinating continent has to offer.
When it comes to travelling abroad, take the right precautions now, and make your next vacation worry-free.