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Athens and Spain-As bad as they say?

My sister and I have an amazing opportunity to travel throughout Europe for the summer and I am a little concerned with our safety as anyone would be since we have never done this before. We are staying in Athens for a few days and I have heard horrible things about Athens at night. My friend was robbed by 4 men at night in Athens. We will also be traveling to Spain throughout the summer and have heard the same stories such as pick pocketing etc. Can anyone give me advice so I am not stressing out the entire time?

Posted by
2876 posts

You're a New Yorker. Try to imagine the safety advice you'd give to Europeans your age coming to New York for the first time. Then apply that same advice to yourself going over there. You'll find that the same common-sense precautions work in both places.

Posted by
44 posts

Been to both and out at night with no problems. Just stay to decent areas and you will be fine. Was your friend male? Many times they get targeted more often due to wandering into areas that are not for visitors.

Also, use common sense regarding pickpockets. Keep valuable docs/money in an area that is not accessible (I use a Rick's money belt). I also use one of Rick's day packs but never keep a wallet in it - yes, its been rifled through on a ferry in Venice and probably other areas where I didn't notice, but the only thing they will get is a pad of paper, pencil, a water bottle or my guidebook.

I remember having the same feelings you are on my first trip about 10 years ago but once you get there, you will realize that for the most part people are not out get you. Just use common sense.

I just attended a talk last Saturday at the Travel Store and Renee (guide giving the lecture) said the main thing they are stressing to travelers right now is to be aware of your change when you purchase goods -especially in markets. With the economic downturn, they are getting increased reports of incorrect change (sometimes by a lot!) all over Europe.

Have fun!

Posted by
3 posts

Thanks for the feedback. My friend was actually a female with a clutch purse (I know she was setting herself up) but just the thought was scary. I will look out for the money exchanging as well! Thanks for the information.

Posted by
4524 posts

I find it ironic that Americans fret so much over safety while traveling in Europe. Of course people get their wallets stolen or pockets picked. There is occasional terrorism. But Europe is exponetially safer than cities in the US. Violence is exceptionally rare.

Act responsibly for your own safety and you have nothing to worry about.

Posted by
486 posts

We took our exchange student and her friend to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. The friend was pick-pocketed in the middle of the day. Jostled in a crowd crossing the street. We've had a few attempts in Italy but none in Spain. I don't bring my good jewelry, be conscious of your surroundings especially in crowds and transport, and stay in hotels in good locations. I also scan my credit cards(front and back), health insurance and passport and send it to my email account.