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By: Ralph Goodman

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December 6th, 2017

How To Safely Navigate Any New European City

Traveling to Europe | European Travel | Travel Hacks

Traveling and taking in the sights and wonders of European cities is an experience of a lifetime. However, in this day and age, traveling safely has become rather hazardous, especially if you are attempting to navigate European cities. Traveling safely in Europe can be challenging if you are not adequately prepared for it, which is why this article will aim to show you how you can safely navigate any new European city.

Plan Ahead

Planning is a crucial aspect of being able to safely explore new cities, especially when you are in Europe. Being able to plan your trip accurately will make it a hassle-free experience. Planning encompasses everything from your travel plans, to your exploration routes, to your accommodation.

Before you embark on your trip, take the time to outline which specific European cities you will be visiting. Proper planning gives you an opportunity to learn about the general safety levels of each area, about how locals treat tourists, and about any special safety considerations you might have to make for the cities you visit.

Additionally, planning will inform your travel budget, accommodation, and method of travel within any European city you visit. Each of these elements impacts your overall safety significantly, but they cannot be properly executed if you do not plan your trip well.


Know How You Will Get Around

Once you’ve taken the time to plan certain aspects of your trip, you should consider how you plan on getting around each of the new cities you wish to explore. Travelers can choose to drive, use buses and trains, or to fly between several European cities.

Personally, I think the most efficient way to get around is to utilize all of these options. That way, if a flight gets canceled, or if plans change, you can switch to an alternative method of travel. Talking to locals is one of the best ways to learn about the best type of transportation to use in a city. They will be full of knowledge that you can utilize to travel safely and to probably save money.

For some cities, it might be a lot faster to take the bus, whereas, for others, the train might be a more suitable transportation solution. Knowing how to get around helps keep you safe because it reduces the chances of you getting lost or stranded in a place that you don’t know. Travelers can utilize travel maps or location apps to find their way around new cities and terrain.


flight cancelled or delayed


Pack Accordingly

If you plan your trip beforehand, as you should, then you will have ample to time to pack accordingly and to pack with security in mind. Always try to pack light. This helps you blend into any city you will be visiting, and it's a great way to embrace the cultural experience.

When navigating new cities, you should leave most of your luggage and valuable items at the hotel or hostel where you will be staying. If you are worried about the security of your hotel or hostel, It helps to carry a portable door lock on your trip. Not all of these accommodations will be equipped with the best front door locks, so it might be easy for thieves to break-in and steal your stuff. The presence of a portable travel door lock will help enhance your security, while you’re away exploring the city.

Traveling light makes it easy for you to board trains and buses, and to get around in busy cities that are already teeming with people (it also makes you less of a target for criminals). Try to keep your valuables well hidden and stored away so that you can avoid pickpockets and thieves. Ideally, you should only carry the essentials, and these should be kept in a secure and compact travel bag or anti-slash backpack.


Learn How To Contact Local Authorities

Safely getting around new cities can be tricky if you are unfamiliar with the way some things work. That is perfectly ok! After all, this is a new learning experience for you. However, you should always make it a point to understand how you can contact local authorities in whatever city you are in. Every European city is different, so what might apply in London will not necessarily translate Marseille or Bordeaux.

Make it a point to learn about the way local authorities operate in each of the cities you visit. This way, if you are ever in trouble, or require their assistance, you will know how to reach out to them. In situations where your safety and security are at risk of being jeopardized, time is of the essence. Learning how to reach local authorities might be the difference in a life and death scenario. Also, always make it a point to know the best way to reach (physical location), and call your embassy.


Pick Up Some New Phrases

One of the best travel tips anyone can give you is to learn some new phrases so that you can passably communicate with locals in the city you are exploring. Utilizing translation apps, like Google Translate or SayHi, are some of the best ways to bridge the communication barrier you may experience. Communication is a key factor that affects your safety, and you do not want it to hinder your chances of successfully navigating a new city. It will help you read street signs, emergency notifications, and important information you might otherwise misunderstand while you’re exploring the wonders of a new city.

Learning a few new phrases might not sound like a lot, but it could help you ask for help if you are lost, or if you feel like you are put in a situation that jeopardizes your security. Not only does it make locals feel as if you are trying to learn and share their cultural experience, but it motivates them to lend a helping hand if they can understand you. I am not saying you need to be fluent in the local language of every city you go to, merely know a sentence or two that you can fall back on in emergencies.


Practice Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is probably the most important thing you will need to practice to safely make your way around any new city in Europe. Although many European cities are still tourist hot spots, and some of the best places to visit, there has been a lot of unrest spreading through the continent over the past few years.

You should always be aware of your surrounding at all times. Pay attention to the way locals interact with each other in the city you are visiting, keep an eye out for any unusual activity, and always keep a watch out for exit points in all the places you visit. I do not mean to sound paranoid, but you never know when anything can happen, so it is better to be constantly aware so that you can react appropriately. You should keep this in mind as you move between different parts of a city.


About Ralph Goodman

Ralph Goodman is a security expert and lead writer for the Lock Blog, the #1 locksmith blog on the Internet. The Lock Blog is a great resource to learn about locks, safety, and security. They offer tips, advice and how-to’s for consumers, homeowners, locksmiths, and security professionals. Ralph has been featured widely throughout the web on sites such as Business Insider, Zillow, Bluetooth, Apartments.com, CIO, and Safewise.