Is Traveling Europe Really Safe
It was my first time backpacking in a foreign country by myself. In fact, it was the first time I pretty much traveled anywhere by myself, and the first time I have left North America. I could not sleep the entire night before I left. I had read a ton of articles that mentioned the many various types of street crime in Europe. In particular, I remember reading about pickpockets and how prevalent they were on the tube (London’s subway system). I was paranoid, very paranoid. In fact, I was probably too paranoid. I kept looking over my shoulder every second. It was to the point where I probably stood out. Needless to say, nothing happened.
Am I going to get robbed?
If you have already researched traveling abroad to Europe, you have probably read many articles (you can read my article about common scams here) regarding the high level of crime in Europe. These articles may have scared you. The TRUTH is that the chances of being involved in a violent crime are actually much lower in Europe than if you would walk through most major cities in the United States. While there is a higher percentage of petty crimes, if you are aware of your surroundings (and follow my advice) chances are you will not encounter any problems. Over twelve million people from the United States alone travel to Europe every year. Most of them return home without a problem (and everything that they came with). Thieves look for easy targets. If you have locks on your bag and are aware of the common threats, you will probably be fine and the crooks will move on to someone who is more of an easy target.
Risk Vs Reward
Needless to say, there is always some risk when traveling (along with doing anything in life). Nothing is ever certain. To say that crime cannot happen to you is also the wrong way to look at things. Only you can decide if the slight increase in the risk of theft is worth the rewards of traveling. Personally, I refuse to let my worries or negative articles ruin my trip or prevent me from going altogether.
In anything in life, you have to take a little bit of risk to gain the benefits of the reward. Traveling is no different. When I first traveled I was afraid. Mostly I was afraid of the unknown, of being lost or alone in a different world than I was accustomed to. Even though I did my research, it was not until I traveled a bit more that I became more comfortable with the concept. Even today, I still often feel uneasy before a big trip. In the end, my adventures have always been worth it.
A big part of backpacking and traveling somewhere new is learning how to manage when you are out of your element. This can be uncomfortable, but the more you do it the easier it will become, and the more you will learn about yourself and be able to adapt to different situations.