As an avid female solo traveler in Europe, I am always surprised when I come home to the United States and people ask me “don’t you feel unsafe in Europe, isn’t it really dangerous?”
Short answer, no I do not feel unsafe. And here is why:
VIOLENT CRIME IN EUROPE IS SMALL
Being from Houston, Texas a place on the top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in America ranked by Neighborhood Scout, I could see why a lot of my friends have this concern. Walking in streets late at night or even during the daytime is a little dangerous where I am from. However, most, if not all, major cities in Europe embrace a walking culture. Both tourists and locals are walking around the streets at all times of the day. As a solo traveler, this puts me at ease knowing I will be surrounded by people constantly. In fact, official police reported crime statistics within the European Union reported that crimes such as robberies and thefts went down over the years. Take simple safety precautions like anywhere else.
EUROPE IS VERY TRAVEL FRIENDLY
Although I am mostly speaking to female travelers, there is a country and a place for everyone in Europe. If you want to lay out in Santorini you can do that. Or if you want to visit Dublin, Ireland and get an authentic Irish pub experience nothing is stopping you. No matter what type of traveling you enjoy, there is a touristic destination for it. You will hardly find yourself in a situation where it is difficult to navigate alone- public transportation and tourist guides are everywhere.
Several PLACES ACCOMMODATE FEMALE TRAVELERS
I am a strong advocate of staying in hostels, especially if you are solo female traveler. In Europe, there are many hostels that have female only dorm rooms. I have even heard of entire hostels that are female only. I find that hostel workers keep a good eye out on their travelers- especially female solo travelers. Personally, I have been given a lot of tailored advice by hostel workers on areas I should stay away from if I am alone and areas that I could possibly meet other solo female travelers. Hostels are very safe and social— it’s a win win for a solo female traveler. If hostels aren’t your thing, you can find welcoming airbnbs.I have even stayed at an airbnb that was only for female solo travelers. Click here to get $40 off of your first AirBnb experience.
SECURITY IN EUROPE IS GOOD
Security in Europe is good and everywhere- especially around central stations. Whether you have a question on which subway to take, or if you feel like you are in a threatened position, finding police or security is not difficult. And they are trained to help tourists- they are super approachable and ready to help!
THE MEDICAL SYSTEM IN EUROPE IS ADVANCED
Life does not stop happening just because you are traveling. If you find yourself in a bad health situation whether it is food poisoning or a broken arm, finding a hospital with advanced technology is not difficult. Fortunately, I have never been in this situation, but I have a lot of friends that trust in European healthcare. Europe and America have very similar medical technology, so you won’t feel out of your comfort zone if something does happen.
DANGER IS A UNIVERSAL ISSUE
When I got back from Europe, a lot of my American friends and family bring up terrorism in Europe. And I understand why, it can seem alarming with the way media focuses on this issue. Everyday we are bombarded with horrific images of terrorism within Europe, yet we never really take into account the everyday dangers of our current circumstance. The truth is, we are much more likely to die in a car crash in America than a terrorist attack. I am not trying to take away the significance of this issue, rather I am simply trying to ease this excessive worry about being in a terrorist attack. In 2017, more than 37,000 Americans were killed in a car accident. Danger is everywhere, and unavoidable.
PICKPOCKETING IS AN AVOIDABLE ISSUE
It is undeniable that pickpocketing is an issue in touristic destinations- not just Europe. However, I have found that these issues can be easily avoided. I have personally witnessed tourists getting pickpocketed and I have managed to see a commonality- people do not have their things securely next to them. In today’s world, there are many products you can buy such as bra-stashes (my personal favorite), pick pocket proof bags, and even secure wallets you can use to avoid this issue. If I am out in a highly crowded spot, I just flip my backpack around in front of me, and I have never had an issue.
ENGLISH IS WIDELY SPOKEN IN EUROPE
Obviously, in Ireland and the U.K., English is pretty much the only spoken language. But, even in countries such as Italy or Spain, English is widely spoken and understood. This makes me feel secure, because if there is a strange or unsettling situation happening I can easily ask someone next to me what is going on. Or if I ever get lost (which LOL being me, it has happened quite a few times), I can easily ask police where the public transportation is to get home.
UNFORTUNATELY, RAPE IS EVERYWHERE
Wonderslist came out with a list on the “Top 10 Countries with Maximum Rape Crimes” and unfortunately, the USA came in third. One in three women in the USA will be raped. Although European countries have a similar issue, this horrific problem is universal. Ladies, stay safe and watch over yourself, wherever you are. Unfortunately, this is just the world we live in. It is always important as a woman to be watchful of your surroundings. Although I must say, that I have never felt like I was in a harmful situation while traveling Europe alone.
A FEW HELPFUL TIPS:
If you are an American, enroll in the STEP program so if anything happens to you, the government knows where to find you.
If you are traveling within the European Union, "112" is the European emergency number that you can call 24/7.
Let your family and friends know in advance which country you are traveling to— that way if anything happens they know where they can track you.
If it doesn’t feel right, just move away from the situation. Your intuition is your best friend.
LASTLY, don’t sweat about it too much. Take simple precautions. Many people live in Europe and have never been harmed.