Safety Advice before and during travel

Whilst travelling in Europe, it is important to stay safe.

Travelling in Europe can be great fun and give you an opportunity to experience new cultures and see historic sights. Whilst you travel, it is important that you take care of yourself and your possessions. The information on following pages will help you remain safe.

Before you travel

Keep copy of your passport and visa in the UK and on you

It is important to have copies of your important documents, particularly your passport and, if you have one, your UK visa.

Make 2 photocopies of your passport and UK visa. Keep one in the UK, in your accommodation or with a friend, and keep the other with you whilst travelling. You should store the copy you are travelling with safely in your hotel.

You may wish to keep a copy electronically, emailing it to yourself or keeping it on-line for instance, in a Dropbox account which can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection or even on your smartphone!

Tell friends in the UK where you will be going and staying

Before travelling abroad you should always tell friends and family where you are going, where you will stay and when you will be back. This can help if there is an emergency and they need to contact you, or if something happens to you and they need to make enquiries with the local authorities.

Take out comprehensive travel insurance

You should take out comprehensive travel insurance as well as medical insurance so that if you should lose any possessions (or if they are stolen) you can claim money to replace them. Depending on the insurance, the money can also replace passports and pay for additional accommodation and transport if you are unable to leave the Schengen area.

Try to travel with few possessions

It is advised that you only take what you need when travelling abroad. Taking many pieces of luggage can make it difficult to move around, especially if you will need to use multiple forms of transportation.

Carrying a lot of luggage can also make you a target for thieves so it is recommended that you travel with few possessions and do not travel with anything expensive.

Carry medicine in original containers with copies of the prescriptions

If you are taking any medication, or even if you are just carrying paracetamol or aspirin, you must take it in the original packaging (bottle or packet) so that it can be clearly identified. If the medicine has been given by prescription, you must take the prescription too whilst you travel.

Put contact details inside your luggage

It is advisable for you to put your name, telephone number, the address of your hotel, your UK or home address and other contact information on labels inside your luggage. This includes any smaller hand luggage or even your purse/wallet. If you lose your luggage, the labels will help the person who finds it to return it to you.

During travel

Stay with friends

If you are travelling with friends in a group, stay together. Travelling in a group is safer than travelling alone; you are less likely to be targeted by thieves and can help each other stay safe.

If you do go off by yourself, make sure that your friends know where you are. Arrange a time and place to meet later.

Never leave your bags unattended

Keep bags and all possessions with you, do not put them down or leave them alone at any time. Leaving luggage or possessions (cameras, mobile telephones, etc) alone can make it easier for thieves to take them.

Keep your passport in a safe at the hotel

It is not advisable to carry your passport at all times. After checking-in at your hotel, leave your passport in your room. If your room has a safe, use this. If your room does not have a safe, ask at the reception if they have secure storage for your passport.

If you are carrying your passport, keep it on you at all time

If you do carry your passport, keep it on you at all times. Place it in a pocket or secure travel belt that must be fastened or locked.

Do not put your passport in a bag or other luggage as this could easily be stolen or lost.

Beware of pickpockets and their partners/assistants

Pickpockets (thieves) can often be found in tourist areas. It is important that you keep your possessions, and the possessions of your friends, safe. Many thieves work in groups, causing a distraction or speaking to you whilst other thieves take your wallet/pursue or bags.

Lost or stolen passport

Use the hotel safe

Whenever possible, keep important documents in your hotel safe (either in your room or behind reception).

If there is no safe, ensure that your documents are carried securely on you (i.e. in a special travel pouch, which can be worn around your body).

Do not leave documents in your suitcase - they can be easily lost or stolen.

Keep a copy

Keep a photocopy of your passport and visa in a safe place.

You may wish to keep a copy electronically, emailing it to yourself or keeping it on-line for instance, in a Dropbox account which can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection or even on your smartphone!

Know how to contact your Embassy

Before leaving for Europe, find out where your nearest national Embassy is and how you can contact it if needed.

Your Embassy will be able to advise you on getting a replacement passport or travel document, or how you can obtian a temporary passport or travel document (if available). It is useful to note how to apply for these replacements before you travel; make a note of the website address or download a copy of the application form in advance so that you complete it if needed.

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