Safe Travel in Europe for Students and Women
It’s unfortunate but true, women and young students traveling in Europe are targeted more often by criminals. They also experience the most trouble with government officials as well as locals of the country. Students also experience higher health risks while traveling in Europe, simply because of the activities that students often engage in.
Travel safety is important for these and other reasons, women and students should be more aware of themselves and potential problems that could occur when traveling in the European countries. The following few travel safety tips are specific to students and women.
First, if you are a student traveling for the first time, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind for safe travel. First, not every adult can be trusted, even if they appear to be friendly and helpful. In many cases the people who you least would consider as someone who might harm you or take advantage of you, is that nice handsome, clean cut gentleman.
If you have grown up in a small town or an area where everyone knows everyone else, this can be difficult to believe and even more difficult to remember. After all, in our normal lives in nice areas of the U.S. you may not be thinking about trusting people you see or meet in the places you go.
However, remembering that you cannot trust everyone is the first step in remaining safe in Europe. It may not be a high priority with you but travel safety is important.
Second, you should know at least some basic bits and pieces of the language common to the country you are visiting. If you do become lost or need some type of assistance, you will be more likely to get it if you can communicate your need to others. It is best that you at least know how to ask for directions.
Aslo know how to ask for the US Embassy, request police or government assistance with a crime, or yell for help in the case that a crime is in progress. Although its not hi-tech yelling or screaming could be a good deterrent and could easily scare off the casual thief or person who means you harm.
Some tips about sexual assault
- Don’t trust a clean cut, honest looking stranger.
- Be alert in parking lots.
- If suspicious about “phony” police, don’t open the window, instead, hold your license against the glass.
- Don’t pull over if a man drives alongside of you pointing at your car.
- Lock your car doors when driving.
- Don’t open your front door if you have not positively identified who is there.
To avoid problems with local government officials, familiarize yourself with the laws of the country and area that you will be visiting. Don’t get drunk or out of control if partying and stay under the legal limits for alcoholic drinks. However to stay within limits you need to know beforehand what the legal limits for alcohol are.
Avoid illegal drugs, and refrain from drinking whenever possible. Even if drinking is legal for your age group in that country, it is best to avoid it. Drinking alcohol clouds your judgment and can lead to embarrassing or legally troubling situations. It also limits your perception and makes you a more vulnerable target for criminals.
Women especially should avoid walking at night, especially in dark and deserted streets. If you find that you have stayed out too late, take a taxi home. You’ll be much safer. When you are walking, taking the bus, or on the train at any time of day or night, be aware of your surroundings. Make sure that you have a way to escape any advance from a potential criminal or rapist, and be aware of everyone around you and what they are doing.
You should make sure that your personal items and valuables are well hidden and against your frame so that they cannot be easily grabbed. Sewing pockets into your underwear or bra can be a great way to stash money in case of robbery or mugging. Try to avoid wearing any jewelry other than a simple wedding ring. If you have a flashy large diamond ring its best you leave it at home or keep it hidden if it has to be with you.
If you don’t appear to have anything, you will be a less likely target. If someone does try to rob you, hand over your items willingly then run for the most public and well lit area possible. This will protect you from untoward advances from the thief as well as put you in a position to find help.
Try to keep these things in mind the next time you travel to Europe. Sometimes the best defense is to be aware of your surroundings, and especially those close to you. A good example of this was a clip I saw on TV about a month ago. It showed a tourist in Europe, I believe it was in France or Italy, walking down the street alone.
A person, it looked like a teenager, followed her and walked fast and reached into her large purse that was hanging on her shoulder. They were unable to get anything the first try, but then tried again successfully ripping off the lady of a wallet or something from her bag. The lady totally unaware of anyone following her, kept walking, unfortunately oblivious to the fact that anything had been stolen from her. Don’t let this happen to you. Be aware of your surroundings.
Copyright © Charles Harmon