While Europe has little violent crime, petty theft, pickpocketing and phone snatching are all too common in tourist hotspots. By taking some basic precautions and staying aware of your surroundings, you can avoid becoming a target and enjoy your travels safely.
Protect Your Valuables
Before you go, take steps to minimize potential loss by making copies of key documents, considering theft insurance for expensive electronics, and leaving flashy jewelry at home. Luxurious luggage might attract thieves, so opt for something modest.
Safeguard Your Phone and Data
Install a “find my phone” app, back up your data, and enable password protection. While traveling, use your hotel’s Wi-Fi to back up your phone and photos each night. If you’re unfamiliar with syncing your data to the cloud, learn how before you leave.
Wear a Money Belt
Store essentials such as cash, cards, and passports in a money belt tucked under your clothes. This will keep your valuables out of sight and secure.
Secure Your Belongings in Your Room
Leaving valuables like laptops in your hotel room is safer than carrying them around. Although some rooms have safes, you can simply hide your belongings in an inconspicuous location. Theft from hotel rooms is relatively rare.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Stay Vigilant in Crowds
Crowds provide thieves with plenty of targets and opportunities for escape. Be on alert in busy areas, particularly on public transit and at flea markets. If there’s a commotion, it could be a smokescreen for theft.
Be Cautious in Train Stations
When arriving at a train station, you may be burdened with luggage and disoriented by your new surroundings. Maintain physical contact with your bags and belongings and be on high alert on crowded buses and subways.
Establish a “Don’t Lose It” Discipline
Travelers are more likely to lose their belongings than have them stolen. Stick to an unpacking routine and run through a mental checklist every time you pack up again. Before leaving a hotel room for good, conduct a quick overall search of the premises.
Leave Clues for Honest Finders
Tape a tiny note with your email address or travel partner’s phone number to any item you really don’t want to lose. This simple tactic can greatly increase your chances of recovering lost items.
Keep Material Losses in Perspective
If you do fall victim to theft, try to maintain a positive attitude. You’re fortunate enough to be able to travel, and the loss of an item shouldn’t ruin your entire trip. And remember, nearly all crimes suffered by tourists are nonviolent and avoidable. Limit your vulnerability rather than your travels and enjoy your adventure!