Travel Safety for Women in Western Europe, For travelers from the United States, Western Europe is a popular destination. From the cafes of Paris, to the cliffs of Ireland, to all of the countries in between-Western Europe is a great choice for anyone looking to travel overseas. With great scenery, long histories, strong public transportation systems, and countries that are quite accommodating to travelers-European travel is relatively easy.
Along with all of its general benefits, a trip to Western Europe is also a great option for women looking to travel internationally. For the most part, Western Europe is safe for women to travel alone and specific safety precautions are typically no more involved than what is required for women traveling in large cities in the United States. There are a few safety tips for women that should be heeded, but generally, common sense and trusting your intuition are generally one of the most important aspects of traveling safely in Western Europe.
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Women traveling in Western Europe generally do not need to worry about any specific dress requirements to adhere to local customs. In most cases, women need not worry about their dress not fitting in with local standards-especially in the cities. That said, women would do well to remember to dress in a somewhat conservative manner. Tight fitting clothes, short skirts, and tops that show cleavage or midriffs are acceptable in most Western European countries-but they can increase the likelihood of being harassed. In general, women should stick to more conservative and comfortable outfits to make them standout less. This can also be important if you are planning to visit rural areas, which tend to be more conservative than their urban counterparts are. Jewelry also should be minimized to dissuade thieves.
When it comes to harassment, women will unfortunately experience more of it in Western Europe than men will. This harassment can come in many forms from cat calls to unwanted advances. Women should take some time to anticipate how they will respond to harassment. Some common strategies are to ignore it, to firmly reject men’s comments, or to contact the police. For more serious forms of harassment-such as touching-it is immensely helpful for women to memorize the phone numbers for local police. It can also be a good idea to take a self-defense course before traveling abroad alone, as it will help teach women strategies for being more aware of their surroundings. Self-defense classes are one of the most important safety tips for women-both those traveling abroad and domestically. On a related safety note, women should exercise great caution when drinking-as it can impair judgment-and should never accept drinks from strangers.
When it comes to choosing lodging, it is generally a good idea for women to find lodging near a public transportation stop to avoid needing to walk for long distances alone at night. This is generally easy to do if one is staying in a major city. When staying alone at hostels, women should only rent rooms with individual locks.
When traveling, women should try to familiarize themselves with the route to their destination before they head out and the general area in which they are traveling. If women appear to know where they are going-even if they are lost-they will be less appealing targets for potential attackers or thieves.
Women-like all travelers in Western Europe-should not carry large amounts of cash. While it is a good idea to carry money for fares and to use a payphone, it is best to carry travelers’ checks or use a credit card when making purchases.
Women should also pay close attention when using public transportation. It is generally best to avoid using it alone late at night. Instead, a taxi can be used but one should make sure that it is a registered taxi.
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Beyond these tips, women would do well to familiarize themselves with travel tips from the U.S. State Department. The State Department’s tips include a number of basic travel safety ideas-from writing your name on your luggage to tips for driving-that can provide additional ideas for staying safe in Europe.
European travel is generally quite safe, but it always pays to be vigilant and be aware of any dangers that you might face.