Staying safe in France
October 21, 2019
So, you’re planning a trip to France? Good news – you’re in safe hands. Known as the tourist capital of the world and ripe with wealth and culture, France is seen to be one of the safest possible vacation destinations.
But don’t let this lead you into a false sense of security. A place that’s buzzing with tourists can have the potential for pickpocketing and scams, and it’s important to know the risks. There’s nothing worse than a vacation ruined by something that could have been prevented, so check out the following tips to ensure you have the safest possible trip.
Protect your valuables
It’s not surprising that bustling French cities like Paris are packed with nifty pickpockets. If you’ve been to Paris, you’ll know that areas such as the Louvre and the Notre Dame are full of tourists and attract large crowds. Stay safe by keeping your valuables in a zipped-up bag, wear your backpack on the front of your body, and don’t carry around large amounts of cash. Money belts are good for protecting valuables too, but be aware that they can unclip at the back.
Where there are pickpockets, there are also scammers. Certain popular scams in Paris include the gold ring scam, where someone will hand you a ring that they’ve dropped and ask for a payment, and the friendship bracelet scam, where they will weave a bracelet on your wrist and ask you to pay for it. Others include petitions for vague causes, taking your photo and games involving hustlers in the crowd. Stay safe by being aware of these potential scams, avoiding eye contact and moving away quickly. It’s not worth getting angry about.
Don’t carry important documents
Although you’ll certainly have important documents like your passport and tickets with you on your trip, don’t carry them when you’re out and about. Most hotels and hostels provide secure safes in your room, so you can keep your passport out of harm’s way.
Take a taxi
If you’re worried about traveling by the metro or walking late at night, take a taxi. You can ensure that you get into a legitimate taxi by checking that it has a light-up sign and a meter, or you can ask at the hotel or hostel you’re staying in for a reliable taxi firm number. While most cities in France are generally safe at night, it’s always sensible to avoid walking around in the dark in a city you aren’t familiar with.
Even if you’re taking a short getaway, having travel insurance is a fool-proof way of ensuring that you get the health support that you need if you get into an accident or become sick. Likewise, insuring valuables like your cell phone or laptop reassures you that if they get stolen you won’t have the unpleasant and expensive task of replacing them when you get back, allowing you to focus on enjoying your trip and soaking up what France has to offer.
This information is current as of 02/07/2019. This advice is provided for informational purposes only. This information is subject to change and you should always verify the most current information.