How to Stay Safe backpacking Europe
When you and your girl are walking the streets of Europe, just walk confidently and be aware of whats going around you. Try not to look like a tourist [leave your backpacks in a hostel whenever possible] and try and be discreet when using a map.
If it makes you feel more comfortable, keep a small weapon in your pocket, like brass knuckles or even a switch blade... the odds of you having to take it out are slim, but will put you at ease.
Thank being said, watch out for pickpockets and make use of left luggage facilities. Don't bring anything you will miss if it gets lost, so laptops, expensive jewelry, watches, expensive video cameras should be left at home. You will more likely be gougued of any and all cash where ever you go in the high season.
Try not to look so much like all the other tourists with camera straps hanging off your neck and backpacks filled to the gill with whatever. Also, *KNOW THE LINGO*!!! Quit asking-oh if-oh anyone-oh speak-oh da english-oh unless you have absolutely no other course of action.
I've heard that overnight trains in certain countries are the places where you really have to watch it. Maybe try to book a sleeper that isn't shared? You'll pay dearly for this safety but if you're a bit paranoid it may be worth it. The same goes for flop-house vs. hostels. If you don't like the idea of sharing a room with 5 - 12 other people and can cough up the extra dough for your own room, do it so you can sleep in peace.
Amsterdam is pretty darn safe. Just don't be a dumbaiish and buy cocaine from the drug dealers on the street. Hmmmm, ya think??
Your girlfriend should be safe from harm apart from whistles/catcalls etc... you just watch *yourself* if you've got an I Luv UmAirIckAh red white and blue tee shirt on!!!
Honestly, I can't think of a safer place for a traveller to be than in EuroTrash land. People have been going to the exact same places that you and your girl will be going for hundreds of years. Maybe even the same route! They want your dollars and they can't get at them if you are harmed. Just don't be stupid and *LOOK* both ways before you cross a street!!! Europeans are required to be a bit more alive than us Americans when walking. Don't even think about "right-of-way" as it doesn't apply.
Above all: Have FUN!!!
Trip with Bones--------------> http://blogs.bootsnall.com/b0neman/
Just being sensible will likely see you through unscathed. Just dont hang your valuables around your neck or have them hanging out your back pocket. Use a money belt (or similar) ankeep your valuable in there and only enough money for the day in your wallet. Stick a couple of notes in other places as well so you have money separate.
Seriously, just use your loaf and learn where the bad neighbourhoods are (there arent all that many) and you'll be just fine. Have a read of some blogs to see what other people did on their trips - I found it one of teh most useful things you can do whilst preparing for a trip!
I left my mom and sister (and usually emailed myself):
--> a copy of my passport and emailed myself one
--> my credit card info
--> Copy of plane tix and other reservation #s
This made me feel like if somethng did happen I could fix it more easily and get back to my trip
The added bonus is that it made the people back home feel better too.
As you set out for Ithaka
hope the voyage is a long one,
full of adventure, full of discovery.
Joes portly antipodean pal
He just wants my port and cherry ripes
Take the regular precautions you would when traveling to a new area in your own country and you should be fine.
I recommend carrying a very LARGE weapon, this will make you feel extremely 'powerful and menacing' to all the would-be rapists and murders you will no doubt encounter - probably as soon as you get off the plane.
A Double Handed Sword (think Highlander) or a medieval Battle Axe will ward off all but the most violent and murderously bloodthirsty villans.
The safest approach, therefore the better one is to leave your pain-in-the-butt helpless girlfriend at home, its not as if you're married or anything and its super easy to get laid in europe without a chick hanging off your arm.
and it will only add to any prconceptions that americans are trigger happy.
definitely apply common sense as you would if walking around NYC, but I shouldn't worry too much. Don't flash expensive electronic equipment around, and always have you wallet in an inside pocket and your cash spread in several places. Pickpockets are going to be the worst thing that you are likely to encounter and totally avoidable.
if your girlfriend feels vulnerable, consider getting one of those really loud rape alarms for her. Some people find that that gives them more confidence. Also remind her that you can always turn around if you end up in an area or bar in which she doesn't feel comfortable. She could also have a look at http://www.bootsnall.com/tk/women/. Thats always confidence boosting!
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