I’m currently touring around Europe which has reminded me of a couple of the hazards walking around another country.
Bicycles are a much more common form of transport in Europe than most places.
Many places have differentiated areas where the bikes have priority such as this paved area in Hamburg . . . so make sure you don’t wander onto it.
The problem is that the cyclists don’t always stick to their area, especially when they are passing another cyclist.
In Amsterdam where the streets are narrow and the footpaths tiny it can make you very nervous.
Not just in streets but on the footpath.
If you have a spinner suitcase cobbles can be a real issue.
Particularly a pavement with bands of cobbles like this.
As well as the extra wear, and the noise, the case is constantly twisting in your hands.
With my normal carry on I will often walk up to a km from the station to my hotel.
If I’m travelling with a spinner case I will be getting a taxi for anything over a couple of hundred metres.
I have never been robbed yet . . . . . is it because I’m lucky? . . . . . . perhaps I am more aware? . . . . . perhaps I am more careful?
I don’t really know. . . . . but that doesn’t stop me taking some precautions.
Something I’m Prepared To Lose
When I am overseas I generally have more cash than I have at home.
Cancelling credit cards can be slower and more difficult.
For that reason the wallet I use overseas is one I am prepared to lose.
It contains enough to make it look convincing as my only source of funds:
- Cash – Only enough to cover my expected spend for the day; say $100 – $150 dollars.
- Credit Cards – Cancelled or expired ones only.
- Hotel Key Card – A souvenir from a hotel stay years ago.
- Frequent Flyer Card – Not valuable
I still take the normal precautions against pickpockets with the wallet in the front pocket of my trousers.
However if my pocket was picked, or even if I was threatened for for my wallet I would be a little disappointed, but it would be an acceptable loss.
Much better than being injured, or killed trying to protect it.
In addition to the ‘Wallet’ I do have a ‘Stash’ of another $100-$150 dollars, my genuine credit card, and the real hotel key card.
I keep this in a small zip lock bag which fits in a tiny inconspicuous pocket inside the waistband of my trousers.
A secondary advantage of keeping only a small amount of cash in your wallet is when you are bargaining.
You can use the line “I’m almost spent up as you can see!”
People worry about the risk of a plane crashing but probably the riskiest part of their travels is driving from the Airport.
Generally the only time I drive from an airport is in places I know well. and when I don’t have to drive more than an hour.
Just got off a long haul flight? . . . . . . Before you rush of to the car rental kiosk think about whether any, or even all of the following will apply to you.
- Don’t know the roads.
- Not sure where you are going.
- Don’t know the road rules.
- Might be driving on the opposite side of the road.
Sounds like a recipe for disaster for me.
You might be better checking in a hotel and hiring a car the next morning.
Well you may be familiar with the driving but the problem of tiredness isn’t to be underestimated.
Particularly if you live 3 or 4 hours from the airport.
With two of us driving we make sure that we swap drivers more often than we otherwise would.
By myself I stop at least every hour and ‘Power Nap’ at the first sign of drowsiness.
Probably the most dangerous part of the drive is when you are on the most familiar roads.
I have heard a few people say “I was almost home and started to relax, the next thing I remember was waking up as the car ran off the road!”