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Traveling in Europe, especially for girls is relatively safe when compared to the rest of the world. 

With that said, it doesn’t hurt to plan well and keep a few tips in mind. 

You might also want to check out my other Europe travel guides:

You’re all packed, prepared and ready to go. What are some things you should keep in mind to stay safe, uninjured and not lose your valuables on the trip?

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GENERAL SAFETY TIPS

1. Be aware of local events.

festival local

If there is a big festival or a gathering in one of your planned cities, be aware and alert for any potential mishaps. If there is a recent terrorist attack or alert, keep that in mind while travelling to the same region.

A great way to do this is to watch the local news and read about what’s going on in the country or region before you visit.

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2. Keep an active working phone with you at all times.

phone

I cannot state the importance of this one little thing. Something as simple as getting trapped in a fire escape of a building whose language signs you do not understand can happen to you.

This happened to me and had I not brought my phone along I would have been trapped for days on the roof. Take your phone, even to the toilet if you have to and especially if you travel alone.

Check out my complete list of travel resources for Europe here.

3. Keep valuables where you can see them.

This sounds like common sense but you’d be surprised by how many people just leave their bag or a small book on their chair in the train, only to come back and find their valuables stolen. Don’t be that person. Even if you are travelling to the safest country in Europe, keep everything within your reach.

If you like to wear a money belt make sure to wear it across as a sling so it’s difficult to be pulled away. A more fashionable alternative can be something like a belt bag:

 

4. Beware of pickpockets.

pickpockets

When travelling to popular cities like Paris, Rome, Barcelona, etc., do not keep your wallet in your back pocket. Ideally, keep if in your front pocket or wear it as a belt under your shirt or jacket. For women, carry a sturdy sling bag and add a smaller purse inside. This makes it difficult for a pickpocket to just grab your wallet and run.

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5. Do not keep all your money and cards in one place.

Even if you are travelling solo, you can often book or find a locker at your hostel or hotel. Leave some cash and cards behind, so worst case you are not entirely broke if you lose your wallet.

It’s also a good idea to have an extra credit card with you, just in case your main cards get stolen. This is also why I HIGHLY recommend getting travel insurance before every international trip.

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6. Keep an eye out for children with placards.

children with placards

I noticed this scam first in Paris but it has caught up in Europe. Children will often be carrying a small placard or cardboard with some message related to a donation. They will start to talk to you, distract you and meanwhile slip their hand inside your jacket or have a partner steal your bag at the same time. Do not let them get to you and hold on tight to your valuables if you are surrounded by lots of tourists in a crowded place.

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7. Learn how to say “Help” in the local language.

If there is only one word you learn in the language of the region you travel to, it should be “HELP” in the local language. This single word might just save your life.

Here’s a quick link to help you figure that out.

SAFETY TIPS FOR WOMEN

8. Carry a mini pepper spray.

 

As a woman, you are quite safe most of the time in Europe. But you can never be safe enough. I highly recommend carrying a small mini pepper spray that is easy to reach for, in case you were attacked. Please also understand how it is used and be careful not to hurt yourself while trying to use it.

9. Be confident and blend in.

If you are a solo traveler you want to blend into the crowd. Do not draw unnecessary attention to yourself especially in a quiet alley at night. Needless to say, dress modestly in places where locals dress up modestly too. Better yet, carry an extra pair of leggings or a scarf if you’re in dresses all day so you can easily cover up.

10. Do not smile at men you don’t want to be approached by.

In Europe, especially in southern countries, a smile is considered a friendly invitation. Even if people are staring at you or trying to pass an off-hand comment, smiling at them may only encourage them to come and talk to you. Unless you want this to happen, do not smile at strangers.

11. Stay alert and stay in touch with friends or family.

stay in touch with family

It’s a good idea to blend in but if you walk around the streets with headphones in, you may miss out some important cues. Even if you picked up some friends at the hostel you are staying at, be alert. It is also a good idea to leave an itinerary with detailed addresses and phone numbers for your friends and family to find your whereabouts. This is especially helpful if you are traveling solo.

12. It’s okay to lie and be impolite if you say “no”.

As women, we are often raised to accommodate people and their requests. If someone asks you for something, be firm and say “NO”. If you get asked for a drink and you are not interested in going out, saying that you have a partner waiting for you at your hotel, even if a lie is acceptable. Do what you need to do to be safe.

13. Watch your drink.

drinks

Although relatively rare, spiking your drink can still happen. Keep your drink with you at all times and if some one buys you a drink, make sure you are standing right next when you get it. This is safety 101, but a reminder doesn’t hurt.

14. Trust your instincts.

If you feel like you are being followed or harassed, even if it is only instinct, start running, shouting or screaming. It doesn’t matter if you make a fool of yourself, but you would have alerted enough people, in case of a potential disaster.

15. Meet guys at a public place.

public place meetings

If you plan to meet a guy for a date, do not go straight to his house. Arrange to meet at a public place like a pub or a restaurant first and get a better sense of whether or not you can trust him. You can use whatever dating apps you may want to, but exercise caution when meeting people in a new country, all alone for the first time.

Even though Europe is a beautiful place to travel, with these tips you can make sure you can have a safe and wonderful time! Being alert, careful and having a backup plan is always a good idea on the road, especially as a female traveler!

Here’s a few more posts you might want to check out:

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