Backpacking around Europe is a dream trip for many people – you get to immerse yourself in local culture and sights, and many people feel that they ‘find themselves’ in the process. However, there are risks, especially for the lone traveller, so you’ll need to ensure you take all necessary precautions. Here are some top tips to help keep you safe.
First of all, you need to do your research before you travel! There are many different countries in Europe, and each has their own culture. Knowing local etiquette will help you avoid unnecessary confrontation or mishaps.
You should also research what to expect from the weather, terrain and even the plant and animal life, so you can prepare and pack accordingly.
When travelling from place to place, or within an area, make sure you use official transport such as registered taxis. Do not accept lifts from members of the public, as there is no guarantee that they are trustworthy, and you could end up in all sorts of trouble.
Stay in Groups
It is well known that there is safety in numbers. Even if travelling alone, you can improve your safety by making connections. Talk to other travellers and look out for each other, but remember to keep a healthy distrust of anyone you don’t know well. If you are planning to get drunk or have a night out, you are safer doing this as part of a group than alone.
You should always let someone know where you are going, and check in whenever you can, including with people back home.
Make sure you are well prepared before your trip. Think about what you will need and how to keep your belongings safe. Taking spares of any essentials, and locks to keep them safe is a good idea. Many backpackers also take a doorstop on trips, as an extra layer of protection whilst in their rooms.
When on the move, only carry what is necessary and leave other things in your hostel, locked away or in a safe if possible. If you need to take cash or valuables with you, make sure they are inaccessible – tuck them deep inside your bag and do not place them in outer pockets. It is also a good idea to put a padlock on your bag to deter pickpockets.
Hopefully, you will remain healthy on your trip but just in case, you should keep some first aid essentials in your bag, such as basic dressings and medications. You should also invest in travel insurance so you don’t end up out of pocket in case of emergency. Insurance from Staysure covers not only medical emergencies, but also other aspects such as cancellation, so they’re a good option for travel in Europe.
Unfortunately, travellers often fall victim to scams, so be aware of your belongings and people around you. If things seem too good to be true, they probably are. Keep an eye on your belongings, and do not make a show of how much cash you have or where you keep it. If you can, don’t keep cash all in one place, but spread it around different parts of your body or bag.
Don’t let this guide put you off your travels – it just aims to make you aware of potential problems and how to avoid them to ensure you enjoy your trip as much as possible. Don’t forget to take everything in – this is the experience of a lifetime and should be relished!