Safety Concerns


#1

So of course I have been telling everyone about my Euro trip. and although everyone is excited for me, numerous individuals have expressed safety concerns.[br][br]One female told me that being a blond female, I will most definitely stick out and males will come up and hound me. She told me to wear a hat, wear no make-up and downplay my clothing! Is that extreme or smart?[br][br]Someone else told me that pickpockets will slash your purses or bags to tear it open. I was considers wearing an over the shoulder type bag rather than a underclothing money belt. Again, is that smart?[br][br]Lastly, bed bugs. I can’t tell you how many people expressed concerns over this. I know someone else brought it up and I want to know if it is a real issue to look out for. I don’t even know what to look for! Plus, are they only at lower class hotels or can they get in anywhere?[br][br]Any help to any and all questions would be greatly appreciated. As much as I was looking forward to and was excited about the trip, I am now getting really nervous!


#2

If it was this bad, women wouldn’t travel to Europe. Generally, you want to avoid ‘gypsies’. Based on my limited European travels, Italy would have more of the problems you describe.


#3

Hey kbugsy,[br][br]I’m in a similar situation - I’m a young blonde female, travelling alone for the first time, and everyone around me seems to think I’m way too naive and trusting, so I’ve been getting a lot of safety tips![br][br]On the hair/makeup/clothes topic, I’m not going downplay it to the extent you were told to, but I am going to avoid wearing things that look like I’m specifically trying to get male attention! I don’t think the attention you will get will be scary, just kind of funny/flattering depending on how you look at it.[br][br]My dad gave me a money belt for Christmas, and at the time I thought I wouldn’t use it, but I think I might now, just for my passport, credit cards and hotel key, if I’m having to carry these around in crowded/scary areas. Merv’s right that apparently Italy is worst for this, I’ve been warned about public transport around Rome, so I’m definitely keeping everything close to me there.[br][br]In terms of bed bugs, I’ve been told that the best thing to do is have a silk sleep sheet with you, and sleep inside this rather than having your skin touch the sheets provided. Apparently the silk is too slippery for bed bugs to hold on to or get through.[br][br]Hope this helps! I went through a stage of being really stressed by all the warnings everyone was giving me, but I think it’s all worst-case scenario stuff. Remember that there are heaps of us girls going alone and most people don’t have any problems as long as they use common sense. Have fun!! :)[br][br]Niki


#4

Hey Nixi keep an eye on your stuff whilst using public transport in rome, i went last summer and although it didnt happen to me someone who was staying on my camp site got pick pocketed on the bus. It happened on a packed bus which can happen alot and a group of men pushed against him and stole his wallet.[br][br]Also in rome there are alot of beggers who try and touch you or send children to try and make you give them money, I was advised to ignore these people.[br][br]I travelled on my own around Rome and didnt experience any difficulties so don’t be terrified just keep your wits about you and you should be fine.


#5

Hey Nixi keep an eye on your stuff whilst using public transport in rome, i went last summer and although it didnt happen to me someone who was staying on my camp site got pick pocketed on the bus. It happened on a packed bus which can happen alot and a group of men pushed against him and stole his wallet.[br][br]Also in rome there are alot of beggers who try and touch you or send children to try and make you give them money, I was advised to ignore these people.[br][br]I travelled on my own around Rome and didnt experience any difficulties so don’t be terrified just keep your wits about you and you should be fine.


#6

Thanks kari_lou, yeah I’m trying to keep a balance between being sensible and aware of the risks without getting too freaked out! [br][br]People say Rome is amazing so I don’t want to scare myself off it, but it’s definitely worth making yourself a more difficult target for pickpockets.


#7

Hey I just went back to the site where I read that bed bugs can’t get through silk - www.silksleepingbag.co.uk. Here’s what it says:[br][br]“Silk fact no. 3 [br]Silk provides you with extra layer of natural protection from mosquitoes, as they find it difficult to bite through silk. [br]Other bed bugs and similar creepy crawlies also just slide off the material.”[br][br]Other people (who aren’t trying to sell any products!) have also told me the same thing. I hope it’s true, as I don’t think mine has been Permethrin-treated!


#8

it’s not as bad as some people make it out to be, but yeh the Italian boys like to be a bit vocal. A good idea is to take some dark sunnies with you. They’re great for avoiding eye contact and makes it easier to ignore. [br]I wouldn’t go to the extreme of not wearing any makeup and things like that, but I guess the more cleavage you flash, the more attention you’ll get. It’s mostly harmless.[br][br]Italy’s also the worst for pickpockets, though they operate in every european city. Just keep your hands on your pockets if u have anything in them, when in a crowded area and put your bag in front of you when on transport. [br]A good tip is to use key ring rings on any zips that connect with another. You don’t have to worry about losing a key to a lock, and it takes pickpocketers a bit longer to undo things, if they want the hassle, and give you more time to feel if anything is going on behind your back.


#9

Thanks everyone for your reassuring tips. I am feeling a bit better about the whole thing. I am definitely going to look in to silk sleep sheets and do the dark sunglasses.[br][br]Along the lines of the key ring for backpack zippers, I have heard that paper clips have the same effect.


#10

My coworker who went to Europe last year told me to get a money belt, and locks on packs, because he got pickpocketed in Paris when he was going to the Louvre by himself, even though his wallet was in his front pocket. Pickpockets are normally eastern euro gypsies, rather than local residents.

For dress, I’ve decided to go with conservative clothing and shoes with minimal number of colours, and euro club football shirts (Go Chelsea!). These, I think, will help to blend in with euros rather than stand out like foreigners.


#11

Hey all

Gypsies are indeed a threat and a money belt is recommended.

One of the joys of Topdeck is that you are travelling with a group so you will always have a buddy or 2 to make sure you are okay. You will also have 1 x amazing trip leader who will advise you on dangerous areas and how to keep safe!

Safe travels!!


#12

Hi girls!

I just got back from a European Getaway trip! Like you I am young and blonde and was feeling a bit nervous before my trip. Let me just say though, that travelling in a big group makes you feel much safer and as long as you are sensible you will be just fine :slight_smile: I wore my nice clothes, make-up and all the rest and was not treated any differently to anyone else. Just choose a sensible bag that you can keep close to you and has very few zips so that people can’t get into it without you knowing! Don’t talk to any gypsies because while they are chatting to you it’s likely one of their friends is robbing you! Be careful especially at the Eiffel tower and in Rome. You will have a ball though, have fun :slight_smile:


#13

Hey guys

I did a European Pioneer and i carried around a side bag which is good because you can have it in front of you if you’re worried and i never had any issues but i would recommend holding onto it when on public transport and don’t ever put your bag down on the ground. As for standing out you are generally in tourist areas so you don’t really stand out anyways so i wouldn’t worry too much and like someone else mentioned you are likely to be with others which is good because gypsies will most likely target people on their own, Our tour leader warned us about any security risks before we got to a certain city/country so hopefully your tour leader will do the same. As for the bed bugs i was in hostel for most of my trip and had no problems but if your are really worried have a look into the sleep sheet. Best thing to remember is to be cautious but not paranoid becuase you won’t enjoy your trip otherwise. Hope you have a great time!