To backpack through Europe risk-free is to not abandon common sense and store away safety tips. While preparing for your trip and embarking on your adventure, keep in mind the following precautions:
Attempt to have a destination goal every day and plan for overnight accommodations four days in advance at least. Carry a map and download apps such as Free City Maps and Walks. If you ask locals questions, ask with confidence and do your best to speak in the native language. Wearing an expression that you are a lost and clueless tourist makes you look vulnerable to people who want to take advantage of a target.
While staying in a hotel or motel, lock your backpack or other valuables in the establishment’s safe when you don’t want to take it with you while sightseeing. Never trust just keeping your belongings in your room.
If you spend nights from one hostel to another, keep your pack close to you and locked. Never leave it unattended. Being overly protective is the best policy.
Easily search for nearby hostels at backpackersguide.co.uk. Students can register for youth hostel membership at isiccard.com.
Do not carry large sums of cash and be discreet while handling it. Bring travelers checks as an alternative form of payment. Use ATM machines or a local bank to replenish your cash supply instead of carrying a lot of cash. Wearing a money belt is a secure solution for keeping your cash, ID, passport and credit cards close to you.
You’ll likely travel through crowds. Thieves can gain access to your personal information using cell phones, cameras, video recording and binoculars. Thieves lurk within crowded city areas, nightclubs, trains and buses in an attempt to get as close as possible to a victim to record conversations or take pictures of credit cards. This technique is called “shoulder surfing.” Prevent shoulder surfing and identity theft by being observant and protective of your personal space.
Copies of Documents
Before leaving on your trip, make copies of your passport, ID card, student ID, credit cards and itinerary to leave with friends or family. Keep copies in a separate location from the originals. You can also scan copies of important papers and credit cards prior to leaving and email them to yourself so you’ll have access wherever there’s an Internet or WiFi connection. Store important documents on secure online storage websites, as well.
Don’t drink to the point you lose control of how you interact with your surroundings. Impairment leads to dangerous situations and the consequences are usually not worth it.
Understand the laws in the countries you’re traveling in and don’t become involved in anything illegal. Always follow the rules and policies of the country you’re traveling in.
Have essential phone numbers on hand in case you encounter any problems with banking, stolen cards or passport issues. Do your homework and plan ahead to ensure a memorable, safe trek.