Travel Tips for Staying Safe in Europe

For keen travelers with a thirst for adventure and cultural enrichment, there is arguably no better continent to visit than Europe.

European cities and towns alike offer some truly mesmerizing and fulfilling experiences like no other, which are sure to satisfy solo or group travelers seeking all types of getaways. 

From the picturesque architecture of Paris and the sweeping hills of Lisbon to the masquerading waters of Venice and the gabled facades of Amsterdam, we cannot speak enough of the European cities and their beauty

It would be remiss of us to overlook a fairly common issue that arises when those unfamiliar with new areas; how to stay safe.

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Top Cities in Europe for Safety 

Europe in general is a very safe place to travel. The European cities outlined below boast among the lowest crime rates, excellent tourist infrastructure, and positive safety rankings. 

  1. Copenhagen: Very high marks for personal and infrastructure security. Low reported petty and violent crime incidents, including against tourists. This affluent and vibrant city offers plenty of safe experiences that tourists can enjoy with confidence.
  2. Zurich: Tops many safety lists thanks to strong, vigilant policing, cyber security, health resources and stability indicators. It’s a bustling city where travellers can feel at ease sightseeing even at night alone, with its exceptionally low crime rate.
  3. Warsaw: The modern and dynamic Polish capital is one of Europe’s safest and most pleasant cities. It offers experiences both traditional and modern, where tourists can feel at peace perusing the cobblestone streets alone.
  4. Vienna: Considered Austria’s safest and most orderly city with plenty of experiences on offer, travellers regularly flock to Vienna and don’t recall anything but positives and remark on its stability and infrastructure.
  5. Edinburgh: A historic city with modern tourism protection, breathtaking scenery, and a very low crime rate. Rules against public disorder help mitigate risks in the urban environment.

Plan Ahead and Avoid Mistakes

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Jack Baumann

President of Guidester

It may be reassuring to know that Europe is, according to recent research and statistics an incredibly safe place to travel. European cities regularly occupy lists of the safest cities to travel worldwide, and for millions of Stateside visitors each year, hardly any problems or issues arise. 

However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautions when planning a trip to one of Europe’s most stunning cities. 

It’s worth taking note of some recommendations to stay safe when travelling in Europe and what you can do to avoid or at least minimize the chances of an incident that impacts your trip. Follow these key safety tips to make the most of your European vacation in 2024.

Stay Vigilant 

While Europe often feels very safe, travelers should be prudent when interacting with new people, whether fellow tourists or locals. 

  • Drink spiking can happen, unfortunately, usually when you leave your glass unattended. Travel in groups for better security and only buy from places you trust. 
  • Be wary of overly ‘friendly’ locals who try to isolate you or rush intimacy and trust. Scammers sometimes pose as friendly tourists to exploit good-faith travelers. Verify people are who they claim to be first before sharing your plans or contact info.

Be an Assertive Traveler

Beyond the above tips, acting assertively is key for maximizing safety as you travel Europe.

Remember that your trip is primarily about enjoying yourself – as it should be – but sometimes others prey on the naive and timid. Ways to tap into your assertiveness and deter bad actors include the following:

  • Trust your intuition if a person, venue or neighborhood feels “off” or dodgy. Don’t second-guess yourself and exit the situation immediately.
  • Stand or sit with purpose while observing your surroundings; avoid looking lost or uncertain in public spaces new to you.
  • Walk with certainty even if you don’t have a firm destination in mind yet. Hesitance can draw the wrong attention.
  • Embody an “I belong here” mindset – scammers cue in on self-doubt or nervous energy to hone in.

Following the above pointers ‌will help travelers steer clear of most risks threatening their safety in Europe’s iconic cities. Stay smart so you can fully embrace the history, culture and allure that makes urban Europe such a prime and rewarding destination to explore in depth.

Ready to plan your trip? Or need a bit of help with accommodation, itinerary, or activities, then get in touch with Guidester today. We’d be more than happy to help you.

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Properly Prepare

  • Before you arrive at your accommodation, it’s worth doing a bit of research to identify whether any nearby areas or neighborhoods are considered safe to wander through alone or at night. Chances are that they are, but you can’t be too careful when wandering in uncertain or unfamiliar areas, especially to some locals you could invariably stick out as a tourist.
  • Make sure you take out suitable travel insurance. Most policies will cover you in case something unexpected or unfortunate happens, such as an impromptu medical emergency, lost luggage, theft, or travel disruption. You will likely not have to claim, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Secure Your Valuables 

Most people rely on phones for everything these days and when setting foot in Europe, that’s unlikely to change.

However, it’s important to be that little bit extra vigilant when using it as brazenly as you would in your home or a familiar environment, in the same way as you would when handling cash, digital cameras, or other expensive equipment.

  • As a starting point, keep your phone out of sight, particularly in busy areas. Avoid placing your phone, wallet, or any electronics on tables, benches, or public transport seats. Keep them on your person at all times.
  • If possible, leave your valuables in your room. Most hotels or hostels will have secure safes to store passports, surplus cash, and devices when you aren’t using them. If possible, avoid taking expensive jewelry altogether.
  • Back up all your important photos and documents online before you leave in case your phone or camera gets lost or stolen. This way, you won’t risk losing them forever.
  • Invest in a secure cross-body bag with a zipper or buckle to keep valuables more protected when you’re out and about. While it’s rare, pickpockets do take their chances and sometimes you may not realize that they’ve managed to seize your phone from your pocket until it’s too late. 
  • Avoid using public or free WiFi if possible. While most hotels will have stable setups, Internet cafes may have less secure infrastructure, which means that others could be spying on your activity without you realizing it. Using secured WiFi networks is a much safer way to keep information encrypted and to prevent cyber security incidents from occurring.
  • Install tracking apps on your important devices in case they do get lost or stolen, which can allow you to trace their location. Make sure passcodes and locks are set up, and backed up by multi-factor authentication (MFA) to prevent unauthorized access.

The Ultimate Pre-Travel Checklist

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