It can happen, just when everything seems absolutely perfect something happens that blindsides you on your trip. It helps to be prepared before unsuspected problems crop up. Here are a few instances that have happened to a few travelers I know personally that were reported back to me. These stories can help you to be aware of your surroundings and travel safely in Europe.
Examples to help think about how to travel safely in Europe
A woman traveling on a train in Europe that was very crowded inside. She was wearing a fanny pack with a big zipper. Placing the pack in front she thought to herself if someone tried to get to it she would be aware and see it. Not so! Especially when few people could distract her. She watched them only a few seconds, but when they left, she looked down and her pack was wide open. They got everything! She didn’t even feel or hear the pack open.
Another client was in Warsaw walking down a small street by herself. She noticed four very large guys were walking towards her. They would not let her pass by them, instead they intimidated her and pushed her down and took her purse. She too, lost everything.
If it could happen to us it could happen to you
Not too long ago, my husband and I were walking near some fountains in Rome. I wear a small day pack just to hold small things like maps, some makeup, or other things that have no value. As were were walking I didn’t feel it but I heard it, my zipper was opened! I turned around immediately to see a young girl around 11-12 years old right behind me. She looked horrified that she was caught, then made the cross or hail Mary over her chest put her head down and ran away. If it wasn’t for hearing the zipper she could have had access to cash, credit cards, camera or passport. Thank goodness she didn’t get access quick enough. In fact I like to put meaningless little items in my pack that would make them feel stupid for trying. Such items as tampons, used kleenex, half eaten candy or anything considered obnoxious. I have actually contemplated getting a mousetrap that when they reach in would snap their fingers. Although its only a thought in my imagination and I wouldn’t actually do this it gives me a little satisfaction!
A few safety tips
- The best way to avoid problems is to keep all valuables in your safe at the hotel. If they do not have a safe, then I suggest a well made money belt. If you just have to bring a purse, make sure the zippers are hard to open and you have a wire strap that cannot be cut. Wear the purse crosswise over your chest.
- Never walk in a bad area alone.
- Don’t walk down a sidewalk near the street where a moped rider can steal your purse or pack.
- Keep your luggage where you can see it at all times on trains. (watch out for people who will slice your luggage open when you are not looking and go through your items)Especially this is done in the luggage holds at you get on the train.
- Find out from your hotel staff what areas to avoid, or if you must go that way find out the safest times of day to go.
- If you are planning on purchasing an item and you notice questionable people around, try to find a place where no one can see where you hide your cash and credit cards.
- If you are traveling with an expensive camera, hopefully you are not traveling alone. Make sure you watch each others backs. If you are traveling alone, keep your camera with the strap around your neck and snugly under your arm. Again, purchase a strap with a wire that cannot be cut. If you happen to have a tripod or monopod have it ready to whack someone with it who might try to steal your camera.
- There are shirts, jackets, pants, shoes and socks you can purchase that have hidden pockets that cannot be broken into. Take a look at Travelsmith.com.
These are just a few precautions I have learned over the years working in the travel industry. Hope this helps you plan for a safe trip!