Staying Safe in Europe
So many Americans are super excited to explore Europe, and rightly so. It's filled with world-famous landmarks, amazing art, and unforgettable food. We so enjoy helping people plan trips to Europe, but one thing we also like to do is include safety tips.
Nothing's going to ruin a trip faster than getting pickpocketed or having fraud charges come up on your credit / debit cards.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you're heading to Europe...
Especially in train stations, city centers, and other crowded areas, be very mindful about the location of your purse or wallet. Unfortunately, many people who appear to be beggars may actually be pickpockets. Especially if there's a commotion in a crowded area, hold on to your purse or wallet extra tight because it may just be a distraction so people can get to your valuables. Professional pickpockets will hang out in crowded areas waiting for a vulnerable tourist they can take advantage of...and we don't want that person to be you.
A great way to lessen the possibility of being pickpocketed is by carrying a travel wallet or a travel neck pouch. (You can find the ones we recommend by clicking here.) These items allow you to carry your valuables discreetly and make them difficult for others to reach.
Call Your Bank and Credit Card Company Before Your Trip
It's best to let your bank and credit card company know you're planning a trip overseas and the dates you'll be where. If you don't tell them in advance, your cards may be declined when you try to buy things. Also, if you let them know you're going to Paris and a fraudulent charge pops up on your card in Rome, then they'll know to decline the purchase.
To lessen the chances of your cards or your card information getting stolen, only bring the cards you plan to use and leave all the other cards at home.
Make Photocopies of Key Travel Documents
When traveling, it's always best to have copies of your most important documents. In this case, your passport and travel itinerary would be the main things you'll want to make copies of. If your passport gets stolen, having a copy of it will make things a lot easier when you attempt to get another one. Also keep in mind that some countries won't let you in if you can't prove you have a return flight. If your phone gets stolen, it will be helpful to have paper copies of your itinerary with you.
Another great idea is to send copies of your passport and itinerary to a trusted friend or loved one who isn't traveling with you. In case something does happen, they can help you prove you are who you say you are and you're going where you say you're going.
Watch Out for Scam Artists
Unfortunately in Europe you should never trust a "helpful" stranger. Most often they're just pretending to be helpful so they can scam you out of your hard-earned money or pickpocket you. There are countless ways people will try to scam you. It can include everything from padding your cab fare to putting a "free" friendship bracelet on your wrist then requiring you to pay for it in order to keep it or to get it taken off. One very common thing you may experience is a phony charity petition. When it comes to charity petitions, people will ask you to sign a petition for a good cause, then once you sign it they will demand money. Even if someone says something is free, there's a 99% chance they'll try to get some money out of you for it.
We don't mean to scare you, but we want you to be prepared and have the best Eurotrip possible. Regardless of the risk, you should definitely still explore Europe and all that it has to offer. The good news is that most crimes against Americans in Europe are both nonviolent and avoidable. If you have any concerns about your upcoming trip to Europe, please reach out to us, we'd be more than happy to offer our thoughts and suggestions.
If you're looking to plan a trip to Europe, or anywhere else in the world, give us a call, shoot us an email, or stop by. We'd love to help you plan an amazing trip and give you the peace of mind to help you be as safe as possible.