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From what I have read so far on this sight, I get the impression that it is quite unsafe to travel in Europe. Is this actually the case? I understand that as travellers we will all want to keep our money and travel documents safe, but is it really that dangerous to carry a small backpack even with locks on it? Is pickpocketing etc really that bad?
I'm just curious as to how much trouble I should go to for keeping my things safe.
- 21 responses so far
I just finished a 24 day european contiki and as far as I know, no one on the trip had anything stolen. (I did lose a shoe but i think I left it in a hotel :P)
I think they just tend to warn you a lot so that you are really aware. Its mostly only in the busy touristy areas like Rome, Barcelona & Paris – from what we got told anyway. As long as you are aware of your surroundings and keep your belongings close then its not really a big issue. Sometimes they say to wear a backpack on your front instead is better for just these places, Other places like vienna, berlin, amsterdam & the other cities in france we visited felt perfectly safe to just walk around like any bigish city in australia.
Thanks so much! I feel much better about everything now :)
No, it’s not unsafe, but as Jace said you need to be aware of your surroundings.
I haven’t had anyone be the victim of any crime on any of my tours. But pickpockets are around in several of the popular cities and they look for easy victims. But they also have good tricks and scams going on and even a seasoned travelers who forgets their surroundings can become a victim.
The trick is to lower your risk and keep your wits about you, as well as watch out for other people in your group.
As for backpacks, some say to wear them in front of you. But backpacks also make you look like a tourist. I personally perfer to travel with a medium sized or small purse. The more stuff you have on you the more you have to lose and the more you have to drag around with you.
i have one bit of advice, never ever trust complete strangers in Europe (particularly locals in places like Italy and Greece). They’ll come across as nice and charming but they are probably just trying to scam you. Other than that, I felt very safe in Europe. It is heaps safer than Sydney in my opinion.
I’ve been to Europe a few times and have never had an issue. I did, one time, in Paris have a trip mate get the money literally ripped out of his hands under the Eiffel Tower, but that was mostly is fault for flashing all he had. I’ve always had a money belt for the added piece of mind, but as long as your are smart and use common sense, I think incidents are mostly exceptions rather than the rule.
Thanks everyone for your help. I’ve decided to take a backpack on the bus but just carry around a shoulder bag with a little lock on it during the day. Probably don’t need the lock, but it’s just an extra thing so I can have the bag behind me a bit without worrying too much. Plus I’ll still be hands free for shopping and eating and all that good stuff :)
Should i wear a money bag??
I think there were only 2 or 3 people on my tour who wore a money belt, but I’d say it’s something that’s totally up to you! If you feel better about wearing one then do it.
I would consider wearing the money belt in the big cities like Rome, Barcelona, Paris.
is it same to put your belongings on the bus(not where the luggage storage is) while you go do stuff? will the bus be locked? not sure if I should bring my ipad along for watching movies on the bus. If I do i don’t really want to lug it around when we go see stuff.
Yes, the bus is locked. Typically the TM or bus driver will tell you if the bus is being locked (safe to leave stuff). BUT, even a locked bus can be broken into. Is it likely? No. You end up having to decide if you want to run around with it or take the small risk regarding the bus being broken into.
hmm. i reckon if the driver is there around the bus, it will be less chance it will get broken into, then again, it’s hard to tell when people are daring and desperate. They might gang up on the poor driver.
has it happen before where a Contiki bus got broke into?
I’ve heard of one to two cases of busses being broken into. But the bus driver is not always with the bus, they may go into town or the city to take care of stuff while you’re touring. I’ve heard (not from a contiki bus driver) they’ll pay for protection in Italy, they’ll work out coverage with other bus drivers sometimes. But in the end, if the bus gets broken into Contiki doesn’t cover that. Check your travel insurance, they may cover it.
Like I said, it’s unlikely, but not impossible. I always left stuff on the bus if I couldn’t leave it in the hotel room.
yes it’s a tough decision to make. the hotel rooms are not safe too, i’ve read about many cases where rooms are broken into and it’s not force entry but the hotels refused to be responsible as well. i’m surprise if the contiki bus is broken into, Contiki will not cover any loss. I must have miss this T&C somewhere.
There is nothing specific about it but the below paragraph indicates to me that unless their was negligence they would not cover it.
1.4 Contiki is not a carrier or hotelier nor does it own aircraft, hotels or
coaches. All bookings with carriers, hoteliers and other service providers are
subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by those
carriers, hoteliers, and other service providers. Please note that some of these
limit or exclude liability in respect of death, personal injury, delay and loss or
damage to baggage. While we cannot accept any responsibility for any loss as
a result of such actions or as a result of any act or omission of any such thirdparties,
we will give every reasonable assistance in helping to resolve any
reasonable dispute. Please also note that Contiki cannot be held responsible
for the failure of any of these parties to provide facilities or services for
handicapped clients (see also 5.3 under Vacation Details & Conditions).
No1. Bus is safe! take ur ipad. everyone on my bus had them pretty much, bus driver is generally always with the bus i think maybe once or twice he was with us.
No2. Rooms are safe, there are safe’s in all the rooms as well so dont worry.
No3. its more when your out in towns that are known for pick pocketing just to be cautious but thats it, everything was so fine and safe on our tour.
I think what happens is that bad news travels a lot faster than good so you always hear about people who get stuff stolen but people don’t really include in their travel stories “oh btw nothing of mine got stolen at all!”
Both TMs that I had warned that the buses are easy to break into so didn’t recommend leaving anything valuable in the bus! Money belts are up to you (I only used one in Barcelona and Rome because they seemed most likely places to have stuff stolen) and I never brought my passport or debit/credit card out if I was getting drunk that night (just kept it locked in my suitcase in my hotel room) but otherwise kept everything valuable in my handbag!! :D
I’ve done 5 different tours with Contiki and never had anything stolen from the bus or a hotel room nor do I know anyone who did on any of those tours. But it does happen occasionally. I would give thought to what valuables you bring and why and are they worth the additional risk, and then how you will keep them safe. You’ll never eliminate the risk, but then again, your house could get broken into when you’re away too.
I wear a decent watch everyday, I would be pissed if I broke it or lost it. But I wear it everyday at home and I’m not at that much more of a risk on vacation of losing it or breaking it so I take it. At home I take my Ipad with me almost everywhere and would want it for the train/bus on a tour. I would lock it inside my suitcase and leave it in the hotel room (hotels safes are easily broken into), and depending on the circumstances I would either take it with me or leave it on the bus. I would NOT bring my primary laptop though – it wasn’t a cheap laptop but more inportant I have way too much information on it that I wouldn’t want someone else getting their hands on.
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