If you’re in search of culture rather than a relaxing holiday by a pool or trekking in the wilds then a city break might be just the thing for you.
Cities are usually busy places and often it’s the hustle and bustle that makes them so exciting. The best way to enjoy a city is to soak up the atmosphere while at the same time keeping your wits about you. Here are some tips on how to stay safe in the city.
Check out the area and local customs
Whether you’re going for three days or three weeks there’s lots to do when preparing for a trip. The Foreign & Commonwealth (FCO) website can give you the latest travel advice on the country you’re visiting. This includes details of any particular health and safety issues there may be as well as information on entry requirements and the local laws and customs. This can be particularly important if you plan to visit religious or government buildings or simply want to blend in with the crowd and avoid inadvertently breaking the law or offending the local people.
Stay safe in your accommodation
Modern cities tend to have high standards of health and safety but accidents can still happen so it’s worth spending a little time checking out the safety features and spotting potential hazards of where you’re staying. Our guides on hotel safety and self-catering highlight where most accidents occur and offer advice on what to watch out for such as dodgy appliances, stairwells and fire exits.
Public transport is often the cheapest and most convenient way of getting around a city. If you plan to use taxis it goes without saying that you should only use licensed cabs or taxi services that your hotel recommends.
If you plan to hire a car see our guide on driving abroad for tips on what documents you’ll need and road safety. And if you’re on foot remember to take extra care when crossing roads. Pedestrian road accidents are a major cause of accidents among British holidaymakers abroad. For more on road safety for pedestrians see our guide.
Pickpockets love a crowd so if you’re anywhere busy you always need to keep a close eye on your possessions. The FCO website includes a safety and security section on all 225 countries it has travel advice on. This will tell you where crime is particularly prevalent, if certain groups of people are targeted and what sorts of things to watch out for. Our guides on female travellers and personal safety offer tips on some basic precautions you can take to stay safe without personal security becoming a major issue on your trip.
We also have a guide on keeping your money, passports and credit cards safe and what to do if they are stolen.
Terrorism has been in the news a lot lately and you may be worried about this. It’s important to remember that terrorist acts are extremely rare but if you are concerned our guide and video on terrorism explains what you should do if you get caught up in an incident.
Travel insurance & medical emergencies
No matter how long or short your stay is it’s important to have travel insurance. This should not only cover your luggage and personal possessions but also provide medical expenses cover if you have an accident. And if you’re travelling in the European Economic Area or Switzerland don’t forget to take an EHIC card which entitles you to the same state-provided healthcare as the local people.