Although Spain is known as one of the safest European countries, there is no country in the world that’s entirely safe. Before travelling to Spain, it’s important to know what kind of dangers you may run into so you can prepare accordingly. Believing that you’re always safe because you’re in a tourist district or you have a guide with you is foolish. Here are some of the things you should remember.
No-one wants to think about having an emergency while on vacation, but it’s best to plan ahead just in case. For instance, Spanish walkways are often cobbled and can sometimes lead to misplaced footing which results in accidents. Similarly, Spanish drivers are very unforgiving, so many tourists have been injured while crossing roads. If you find yourself in an emergency, you can call the Spanish emergency services on 112 at any time.
One of the most common crimes in Spain is pickpocketing. There are many instances where pickpocketing could occur. Look out for women selling flowers at main attractions. They’re often Romany gypsies and they’re highly skilled at pickpocketing. You should also avoid people with clipboards asking for signatures. This is often to distract you so a partner can pickpocket your phone or wallet. Keep your pockets tightly zipped or carry your bags towards the front of your body instead of the back where you can’t see it.
It’s often safer to use ATMs inside a bank instead of on the street. You could find that a group of youngsters rush you while using a street ATM in order to steal your cash from the machine. Street ATMs are also easier to tamper with so thieves can transmit card numbers and transfer cash balances. Using an ATM inside a bank will often mean you’re covered by security guards or CCTV cameras.
Learn the Lingo
If you’re out exploring and you find you’re in need of a pharmacy, you may need to approach a local and ask for directions. You may be wondering how to learn Spanish in a short amount of time, but often all you need to learn are a few key phrases. For example, the Spanish for pharmacy is ‘farmacia’. It’s also useful to learn words like, toilet, metro, bus and other common words you may need to make use of. When all else fails, use your smartphone to help you translate your question.
Train stations are one of the busiest places in major Spanish cities. It’s an ideal opportunity for thieves to target tourists. Thieves will often carry knives or scissors with them to try and slash the handles on bags and make a quick getaway. When using train stations, keep your wallet, passport and phone on your person instead of in a bag. There is often a police presence in train stations but tourists have described them as less than helpful.
Just like any other country, staying safe in Spain is about using common sense and taking precautions to avoid becoming a victim.