If you follow the guidelines below you will substantially reduce your chances of being injured or robbed whilst on your travels:
Carry your valuables in a money belt or concealed in a pouch under your shirt. Rail stations, bus stations and busy places, such as tourist spots, are especially dangerous for pickpockets. Don't leave any bags unattended.
Try to look confident. (Don't go around with big maps looking lost)
When on trams or public transport, try to get a seat as it is easier to pickpocket someone who is standing up.
MP3 players such as iPods are convenient to carry when travelling but they can be expensive items to lose. The distinctive white headphones of an iPod may also make you a target for mugging.
Don’t carry your phone in your hand.
Always use your hotel safe for your passport and most of your money and valuables.
Carry a wallet that has only small amounts of cash and old cards in case of mugging.
Beware of distractions and commotions as it could be pickpockets operating.
Also beware of kids posing as beggars while they are picking your pockets.
Be aware of your belongings when you sit down in a cafe as this is when many bag snatchers can strike.
Carry your handbag on the inside away from the street in case of bag snatchers on bikes.
Consider carrying a personal alarm or even some pepper spray. A can of fly killer spray can also work in an attack.
Don't get drunk in a strange place and DO NOT try to walk home on your own.
Don’t give out unnecessary info to people you don’t know, i.e. that you’re travelling alone, how much money you have, where you’re staying etc.
Below are some scams that tourists fall victim to:
Be sure to use the metre (although realistically these could be rigged). Or agree a price beforehand and stick to it.
Keep your bag with you, not in the trunk so you can walk away quickly.
Have a map with you if possible so you have an idea of the route you should be taking. Alternatively try and find out how long the ride should take and let the taxi driver know that you know.
Some scams involve con artists posing as a police officer and asking for your wallet as there has been counterfeit money circulating and they want to check your currency. Obviously they walk away with your cash.
Be aware of being invited for a drink by someone you just met. Your new friend could be working alongside a dodgy barman where you are presented with a large bill.
Never let anyone help you out at an ATM.
Beware of shop assistants taking a picture of your credit card while pretending to be on the phone.
Ignore demands to see your passport unless from a uniformed police officer. Passports are highly prized by some gangs.
Keeping your bag safe
Bus – sit on same side as your bag in the cargo hold so you can watch out that no one takes it.
Tie your bag to your hand when sleeping at the airport/train stations.
Bicycle lock – attach your bag to bars when on trains etc.
When sleeping in dormitories or train carriages, put valuables in the sleeping bag with you. Also, lock doors.
If sleeping outside or in stations use your backpack as a pillow. You should also have a lock for your backpack.
Apply for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you are a citizen of an E.U. member state. The European Health Insurance Card is valid here for citizens of E.U. member states. This will cover you in the case of an emergency but remember that you should still have health insurance as the EHIC will not cover everything.
The emergency number in the EU is 112.
Always have health insurance. Don’t be selfish. If something happens to you the burden will be on your family. Also check small print to see what you are actually covered for.
Many countries require that you have identification with you. Carry a photocopy of your passport with you for this rather than your actual passport. This should suffice.
Make note of all your devices serial numbers. Dial *#06# on your smartphone and your imei number will appear.
If you are streetwise and smart you will be fine, no matter where you go.